Tri with a difference

Yesterday was local club tri night. It had been very windy all day and was still windy when I arrived. Just as the short race was about to start it came over incredibly dark and lightning was flashing. They postponed the start. Yay!


This photo was taken when I first arrived. I couldn’t take any photos during the storm because I was undercover and my bag and phone were stuck in transition.

They did their swim and ride and set off on the run. Then the wind picked up again, the lightning came, and the hail came. It is mostly kids in this race although it is open to adults as well. Some of the organising committee set off to make sure the kids were okay. There wasn’t a lot of hail and it wasn’t big. Nothing like this from December 2012:

hail from December 2012

The hail was soon gone, the participants came back safely, and the organisers deliberated over the longer race. This is a 200m swim, 20km bike ride and 2km run. Another storm front passed through and they announced that we would do a modified triathlon. Run 1.5km, swim 200m, run 2km. Right. Ok. My running shoes are saturated. Is a run/swim/run still a triathlon or is it a duathlon? Who cares, let’s just get on with it and beat that next storm front! (To clarify: the weather had actually cleared so the swim was quite safe. We couldn’t do the bike leg because stormwater runoff had flooded part of the course.)

I put my shoes on (no fancy triathlon shoes or elastic laces for me) and headed out to the new start line. This race is run on a handicap so we all finish at approximately the same time instead of the slower people straggling across the line on their own 20 minutes after the speedsters. Some of the other slow-ish regulars were away and some pulled out after the new format was announced. So I was the only person on course for the first 3 minutes. No warm up, no stretching, nothing. (Disclaimer: I don’t recommend that!) It was a lonely run but I was happy that I ran the full distance (no walking) and noone caught me until I got back to transition and had to get my wet, double-knotted shoelaces undone. #DidntThinkThatThrough

Aside: running on my own like that perhaps gave me a taste of what it feels like to be leading the pack! It was a mixed bag. It was easy to back off because there was noone else around to push me or for me to try to keep up with, yet strangely there was an urge to keep going so noone could catch me.

I made my way over to the pool, stopped, stared at the water, and decided my personal safety was worth waiting 30 seconds or so to catch my breath after the run. I’m not a strong swimmer so the thought of already being out of breath when I started was not pleasant.

I recovered sufficiently and set off on the swim. I narrowly avoided being overtaken in the pool but struggled to even drag myself up the steps and out. Off to transition again to put my very wet feet straight into my still-wet sneakers and set out for another run. My bike shoes are certainly easier to put on wet feet than my runners.

This second run was harder than the first but I managed to run most of it. The pressure was on! For two main reasons. 1. They were videoing parts of the race! 2. I was wearing a borrowed tri suit which I’m planning to wear for my big race next weekend. It’s branded with my coach’s company logo. I had her reputation to uphold! I know it’s not really like that, but the lady who lent it to me called it a “performance enhancing suit” and I think she’s right.

The main reason I borrowed it was because I’m part of a large facebook group for the athletes she coaches and the general amateur triathlon community. I’ve gone to other races and seen people wearing the clothes and they’re recognisable. They greet and encourage one another even if they have no idea who the other person is. I wanted to be part of that next weekend.

When I tried the suit on the other day, I realised that I have never been part of a team for anything that had a team outfit. It made me feel pretty special. Like I was a real triathlete now because I was wearing a matching top and bottom instead of my separates.


I ended up with quite a considerable PB. I did this in 35 minutes whereas last week my time was 49:02. I guess I can’t really claim it since it wasn’t the same course/event.

Speaking of PBs though, my time last week was about one and a half minutes faster than my best time last season. I’m not sure if it was because I had actually improved, or because I opted to go sockless so saved time in transition.

I backed up today with a 5km race at the Armidale Fun Run. I saw a beautiful sunrise on the way there – so much nicer than the storm last night.


I arrived nice and early to pick up my race pack. We were testing nutrition a bit yesterday and today in the lead up to my race next weekend. The plan went out the window last night because of the weather delays. The plan this morning was a bit off because I forgot to tell the coach that I had to be there earlier to pick up my kit. The plan was worked out assuming I would arrive in time for the race start. Oh well, I scoffed down an extra muesli bar before the race and it was all systems go.


It was nice and cool when the race started – which suits me just fine! The plan was for me to go out nice and easy and build up so I could come home hard. I didn’t quite follow the plan. Controlling my pace is a skill I have yet to learn. However, my final kilometre was the fastest of the lot (mainly due to a large downhill section towards the finish.) I ran almost all of it, only walking a couple of times in the last kilometre to cool off in the shade as the temperature increased quite rapidly.

I knew quite a few people there through my involvement with parkrun and the local triathlon club. Another runner’s wife took this photo and sent it to me.


That’s me in the light blue singlet. I finally managed to break through the 35 minute barrier again. In one of my many “blonde moments” I posted this picture with a comment that my next goal is 34:30.


Until I realised that I beat that today as well. New next goal is a sub-34 minute 5km. My original secret goal when I signed up for this race was to go sub-33 minutes. I would like to think that if I hadn’t registered for the triathlon next week, I would have pushed myself harder today and maybe achieved that goal. I probably would have skipped last night’s triathlon/duathlon so I could run on rested legs. Instead, today was a good test of running on fatigued legs. Since that’s what I’ll be doing after a 20km bike ride.

If you’ve made it this far through my post, thanks for sticking around. It’s past time for me to stop typing and to get on with the mundane (yet strangely important) tasks like making sure work clothes are clean and there’s food in the fridge.


* Apology: As usual, I got distracted and my fingers rambled off on a tangent while typing my previous post and the published post had barely any relationship to the title I chose. Perhaps I should start choosing the title when I’ve finished typing. If my blog posts were speeches, my toastmasters friends would be horrified at the lack of structure. Something else I should work on maybe.

What I intended to say, was that while running last week’s triathlon I was thinking “what was I thinking, thinking I could do another sprint triathlon”. (That’s a lot of thinking!)

However, I’m actually quite excited about it. I’m more “pumped” about it than I have been for any other race. What’s extra weird, is that I’m also excited about the fact I’m excited!

Perhaps it’s the fact that my parents live there and I may actually have people in the crowd of spectators that know me! Who knows, they might even call out my name!

Does it make a difference to your racing if there are people you know who have come out to watch? Or does it have no impact at all?


6 thoughts on “Tri with a difference

  1. Fantastic PB! And there is something about wearing a team outfit for the first time (I did that last year) – feels very special. Have to say I love having friends there to share an event with, makes it more fun πŸ™‚

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