Sunday morning at about 10:38 I crossed the finish line of Stirling Sprint Triathlon making me officially a triathlete! I was so so nervous, S was laughing at me because of the look on my face as I waited for my swim heat to be called. However, once I got into the pool and started swimming the nerves seemed to melt away – I kept remembering that I’m doing this for myself and just being able to compete is a huge deal for me, plus once I started swimming I forgot about everyone around me and just swam, for the first time that morning I didn’t care where I finished as long as I finished – after all, I’ve been through a lot and it’s my first triathlon too!
Race day started very early at 3:30am, I have to take a tablet in the morning 30 minutes before eating so I left some water and my tablet by my bed, my alarm went off I took my tablet and tried to get back to sleep but it was futile, I’m usually a ‘when I’m awake, I’m awake person’ anyway and this morning I had the added nerves of the race going through my head.
Transition would be open from 5:45 to 6:45 and the event was an hours drive away so the aim was to get up at about 4am, make sure I had everything I needed packed, eat something with a fairly good amount of carbs and protein to help fuel me through the race and be on our way by 5.
Everything at home went to plan and we set off on time – I was on my way to my first race.
We arrived at Stirling University where the race was to take place and found a place to park in no time, I picked up my transition bag and bike and headed to registration.
There was only a short line to pick up my race packet containing my race number, timing chip and stickers for my bike (used when you’re packing up at the end of the race to make sure you don’t ‘accidentally’ leave with a more expensive bike than you arrived with!
Then it was over to the t-shirt stand, every competitor got a t-shirt as part of the race ‘swag’ so I collected my size and joked to S that I’d already gotten my t-shirt, I could very well just go home now! Strangely enough after dealing with my nerves, the early start and kindly driving me to the event he wasn’t up for that idea!
Next I went over to number marking where someone draws your race number on the top of your left arm and the bottom of your right leg with a big permanent marker, note to self, for the next race arrive at registration wearing more than just your bra underneath your hoodie! That way you don’t have to stand in a big hall surrounded by lots of strangers exposing more of yourself than you’d really like to while a clearly slightly embarrassed teenager tries to write on you with his pen!
With that all sorted and covered up once again I took my bike and kit into the transition area to find my bike rack spot and set up my bike and run gear making sure to place my helmet on the handlebars of my bike. This is due to the fear inducing statement that if you touch your bike without having first put on and secured your helmet you will be instantly disqualified from the race! Now not being able to finish the race due to fatigue or even falling / crashing and picking up an injury is one thing but being disqualified due to a technicality is something I wasn’t prepared to experience!
In front of my bike I put a small towel to dry my feet, my trainers, I’m still using ‘baby’ pedals not the clip in ones most racers use so I only needed one pair of shoes, with a sock in each one, my cycle jersey, sunglasses and a small bag of sweets. I suffer from low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, resulting in me having dizzy, fainting spells when my sugars drop suddenly. That was another thing I didn’t want to ruin my day so before I got on the bike I popped a boiled sweet in my mouth and slowly sucked on it for most of the bike ride in an attempt to stave off a low sugar attack.
Once that was all set up and I’d triple checked I had everything I went back out of transition to meet up with S again and try to calm my nerves for what would be a 2 hour wait until my swim heat took place.