Two weeks ago, I found out that I was lucky enough to have won a free place at the Blenheim Triathlon through their drinks sponsor Posi+iv. I was able to chose the distance and whether I would participate as an individual or as part of a team. After some deliberation, I decided to just go for it and do the female only sprint distance as an individual.
It sent me into a bit of a panic, as the race was 4 weeks to the day- I didn’t own a bike or a wetsuit, I hadn’t done any open-water swimming or much cycling practice. I have another triathlon booked, but it is at the end of August so I suddenly went from having a few months to train, to having a triathlon approaching imminently!
Since then, I’ve made a lot of progress with my training, I’ve not done any great distances or fast times, but I’ve overcome some of my fears surrounding triathlon.
As soon as I got my place in the triathlon, I bought a road bike second-hand from my swimming instructor. She used this bike for her first few triathlons, and has upgraded to a newer model. I was really grateful to be able to get a decent bike second-hand, as I’ve been saving to buy a new one, but expected it would take a few more months before I could afford it.
|My new ride|
I practiced my cycling over a local park to get used to the feel of riding in what feels like an awkward position to me. After a few adjustments to the bike and a few laps of the park I started to feel more confident.
This week, I took the bike to Redbridge Cycling Centre for more practice. The facility was built as a training venue for the Olympics and consists of road circuits and mountain bike tracks for racing, training and casual use. The centre is usually hired out by cycling clubs, but they are open to the public for a few sessions per week so I decided to go and make use of their traffic-free roads.
As soon as I unloaded the bike from the car and started pedalling towards the reception, I could tell there was something wrong- I had a flat front tire! I panicked a bit as I had no replacement and no idea how to fix it! Thankfully the staff at Redbridge were really helpful and quickly fitted my wheel with new inner tube. I must learn how to do this, and buy a spare for future!
I rode around a 1.15km section of the track which is at the flatter end of the circuit-the cycling centre has some huge hills which I wasn’t ready to tackle yet! There were not many other cyclist using this portion of the track, so I had plenty of space to practice on the smooth roads. I cycled just over 11 laps bringing me to 12.8km (8 miles), my triathlon distance is 19.8km, so I am more than half-way there!
The cycling centre has some fantastic views being on a hill- I could see all the way to Canary Wharf from the top.
This evening I am just back from my first open-water swim!
I ordered a wetsuit earlier this week and thanks to a speedy delivery service I received it the next day. I tried it on as soon as I got home and it was a pretty good fit- like a sexy Sea Lion! Taking it off again was another story though…!
|Sexy Sea Lion selfie|
I drove out to a fantastic facility called Trifarm which offers a swimming lake, a 1k running track and 10k bike loop, plus a transition area and changing facilities. All three triathlon disciplines can be practiced here, but I decided just to focus on my swimming for my first visit.
The Bank Holiday traffic meant that the drive took a while and my nerves were building up as I sat in the car. On arrival, I had an induction to the site and safety briefing before changing into my wetsuit and collecting a wristband (lucky number 13)!
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed open-water swimming- the water felt cool and refreshing and the buoyancy of the wetsuit made the swim a different experience. My nerves soon disappeared as I waded out into the water and swam a few strokes. A member of staff watched me for the first 50 metres, until I gave the signal that I was comfortable in the water and set off on a lap of the lake.
I swam one lap alternating between front-crawl and breast-stroke, looking up occasionally to check I was in line with the buoy. A flock of swans by the first buoy did unnerve me slightly, but they soon cleared off as I approached. The water was fairly clear and I could see plants on the bottom of the lake (no fish though)! I completed the 800m lap of the lake, I have no idea how long it took as I had no means of timing myself, but I’m happy with the distance as I need to do 750m in my triathlon.
Not much to report on the running aspect of my triathlon training, other than I have my second half-marathon this weekend. I’m spending the long-weekend in Windsor, as the half-marathon has an 8.30am start on Sunday, so we decided to stay in the area for a few days. I’m not expecting a PB but plan to enjoy the run as it is supposed to be a lovely route along the Thames, finishing in front on Windsor Castle.
With two weeks to go until my first triathlon, I am feeling more confident. I should have time to fit in another session at Trifarm and Redbridge Cycling Centre to hopefully put the swim, bike and run together into a ‘brick session’. Bring on the triathlon!