Triathlon Part 2…

So I got in the pool when instructed and did a couple of warm up laps then got into my heat order, I was wearing a blue hat and going last in my lane.
Our heats were staggered by five seconds to give each swimmer the chance to get going before the next person was set off.
My swim was going well I got into a decent rhythm but the woman in front of me was kicking like crazy and stirring up lots of bubbles which made my breathing underwater a bit difficult. She was also going a lot slower than I wanted to go, I felt I had more in the tank. I tapped her on the ankle several times which is the indication to the person in front that you want to swap over but she didn’t seem to want to! Lesson for next time, over-estimate my swim time, I’d much rather be a half a lap behind my other heat swimmers than stuck behind someone getting ‘dirty’ water and kicked in the face! My swim time was 18 minutes and I’d been consistently doing 16:30 in the pool so that lost me a bit of time.
Swim Time: 18 minutes
After having a bit of a bother getting out of the pool, the ends of the pool at Stirling are incredibly high especially for someone as teeny as me and I found it very hard to pull myself out. I got out, eventually, and made my way to the doorway removing my swim hat and leaving it in the assigned bucket and onto the bike transition. The only thing I will say that was a little bit annoying was that the doorway I had to leave by was at the far end of the pool meaning I had to walk all the way round the side of the pool, the men’s heats took place on the other end of the pool, it was a 50m pool split into two 25m pools for the triathlon, which meant they had a much shorter transition. I know I’ll never be competing for a place and they are split by gender but I didn’t think it was very fair that we had further to go to get to the bike section. This was also a gravel path with a narrow strip of grass beside it – being barefoot I didn’t want to walk on the gravel and being in one of the later heats the grass was quite slippery from all the previous competitors that had gone before me. Although it wasn’t far it did slow me down a bit having to watch my step.
I headed through to the bike racks and found my bike, I put the all important helmet on, dried my feet and put my shoes on followed by my cycle jersey and sunglasses. After that I popped a boiled sweet in my mouth to see me through the cycle and my number belt, with the number on my back before unracking my bike and heading out onto the bike course.
The outward leg was brilliant, I felt like I was flying (for me anyway). The weather was a bit windy but sunny too so it made for very pleasant cycling, the roads that the bike course were on weren’t closed to traffic but for the most part they were wide and smooth with plenty of room for cars to pass without being too close, the signs for the course were very well-marked and there were marshalls at every roundabout and major point in the course making sure we went the right way and cheering us on. For the most part the outward leg was flat and fast then we went down a bit of a twisty decent and into a village / town and that’s where the bike got a bit more ‘interesting’ for me anyway. The return leg of the bike loop I was cycling into a headwind on quite an exposed part of land meaning I felt most of the gusts of wind, no wonder I felt like I was flying on the outward part! I must have had a tailwind! The return leg also included about three hills, for an experienced cyclist I’m sure these didn’t even register but I’m new to cycling and I really felt the hills on my quads. Another note to myself, learn to use my gears more efficiently.
I managed to make it back onto the Stirling University campus and was directed around some roads back towards the bike area and preparing myself for my worst nemesis, the run. However another very unusual event was due to happen just as I thought my bike experience was over, as I was coming up to a zebra crossing on campus a mother swan and her goslings were crossing the road! They were even courteous enough to be using the actual crossing! There were a couple of marshalls stopping traffic to allow the birds to get across and I and another rider had to stop to let them pass! The guy stopped with me turned to me and said, well that was interesting wasn’t it?! Crazy huh?!
Laughing I made my way to transition two, got off my bike before the dismount line and ran my bike to my rack spot trying to get used to my wobbly ‘run-off-the-bike’ legs.
Because I’m still new to cycling and don’t use cleats all I pretty much had to do was rack my bike, take my helmet off and turn my number round to my front and I was off.
Bike Time: ??
I headed out onto the running track of Stirling University and under a banner with people handing out water and along the course, through a gap in a hedge and a left hand turn to be faced with a short but very steep hill! Jeez oh! My legs still wobbly from the bike I tried to run up the hill but knew I was going to blow myself up simply trying to get up the hill with still the best part of 5k to go so I decided to walk. I was disappointed that I’d stopped to walk so early in the run, not being a runner I knew I was going to have to walk at some point and it was part of my plan but I wasn’t counting on walking until the second half of the run. Anyway, like I said I didn’t want to blow up just for the sake of making it up the hill so I walked my way up it and then started to run once I was on the flat again. The run took us around the technology park next to Stirling University and back onto the running track again. I got bit confused as to what was going on because I’d forgotten that I’d changed my GPS watch to kilometres from miles and when I looked at my watch and it read 2.63 I got all excited that I was nearly finished and thought the run had gone far better than I expected, but no, the run course was actually TWO laps meaning I had to do that bloody hill again! I walked up it again and went onto the technology park knowing that my run and my race was nearly over. I made it round the technology park and back down the hill onto the running track. I was nearly there! I rounded the corner onto the finishers chute and over the line – I was a triathlete at last!!
Run time: ??
Total time: 1 hour 53 minutes 47 seconds

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