I had expected the night before to be bad, because I know myself. But I wasn´t prepared for a terrible night that had 99% of insomnia and 1% of bad sleep. When I woke up already before my alarm clock had the chance to go off, I knew this was gonna be a really interesting day. My breakfast was, just like I did during hella halfmarathon last year, two normal bread rolls with marmelade and honey – with just one difference: this time it made me stomach sick for a while, and I felt like throwing up any second. I don´t know if it was because of the coca cola I had, but I needed caffeine, I was so dead.
Then I decided on doing some house chores and checking for the zillionst time i I had everything prepared before I went to Pumpwerk to have my bike checked in. There I also met some girls from my women´s triathlon group, and then went to have bike and helmet checked and search a place in the transition zone.
And there I had to notice that my bie´s tyres are thicker than the average, I had problems to actually find a place where to put my bike (aka where the tyre fit into the stands). That felt really irritating, but well, who cares in the end.
Then set up my transition place with my towel, shoes and socks, helmet and glasses onto the bike and the checking how others are doing it- you never know if there is a smart idea somewhere waiting for you to discover, especially when you´re new to this whole madness.
Met some more new cool people, had some fun chats and heard from one of the volunteers about a seal that supposedly accompanied the swimmers from the competition before mine during the swim in the harbour. I was somewhere in between excited from happiness and scared – I am not into this whole swimming thing in general, and that didn´t really make it any better. That the seal was nowhere to be seen later on was the most positive thing about the swimming. But more about that later.
Once everything was set up, I went home and was accompanied by another girl from the group and her friend – why should they hang around on the area if I just lived nearby. It was nice and a really good distraction, it made time pass by quickly until I had to get changed and go back to watch the competition announcement. So there it was, no wetsuit – 22,6°C was measured in the water.
Then we slowly moved to the swim “get in”, and warmed up a bit. And just a bit later wondered where the hell they measured these 22,6°C – because when you got into the water it was just bloody cold, and most people went like “shit, that´s COLD”. Yup, it was. Even for me, and that though I am used to colder water and usually have no problem with that. But that was the smallest of all problems.
What drove me nuts was the timing chip on my ankle – I permanently had the feeling that it was get looser and that it might just come off my ankle, and I hate such a feeling. I have no idea how many time I actually checked if it was still there.
The start went well, an the first swim around the buoy was just fine – but also with the current.
On the way back, you had to fight against the currents, and I got tired of it because it went so slow Then around 20 o 30m before the swim exit, one of the faster males that had started later passed by a bit too close and nearly hit my face with his feet and that really caught me offguard – it killed my rhythm, made me stressed, which led to choking on the disgusting harbour water, panicking even more and getting even slower.
I stumbled up the wooden stairs and got up with the help of the two volunteers, and I felt like a drunk person running over colored carpet when rushing from the swim exit to the transition zone. I really had to fight hard that my circulation didn´t fail on me, I felt like passing out and throwing up from the water in my stomach.
The first transition worked okish, just had the mulch stick to my feet and that really stole my time until I decided on not giving a fuck anymore and just put on my socks on top, slipped into my shoes, grapphed glasses, helmet and number and then the bike. Instead of running my way up to the line where you can actually hop onto the bike, I did fast walking – I was still out of breathe and didn´t want to push too hard already now.
Once on the bike I felt better, I felt saver, less insecure. When I took a sip of my Maurten mix though I started feeling stomach sick – the mix of the harbour water and the drink was a killer. In a negative sense.
That slight stomach sickness never really passed anymore, but at least it got better and was bearable. Not so well bearable was the wind, which was really stronger than I had expected and had most people fight and swear on their bikes. I stopped counting how many new swearwords I created during these 20km of biking, but it surely could´ve filled one or even several books on modern language 😉
The path out of the city to the good roads was…well, no can do. At least the road then got better, even though also the winds became stronger and you never knew what was waiting for you when you turned around the corner. most it was strong gusts of wind from ahead which made you feel as if you were not moving anymore at all. I seriously wished that the wind would´ve just enjoyed its weekend somewhere else. But I pushed through, because it´s nothing that I wouldn´t be used to. That also was definitely a good thing so I was able to pass by quite a few people.
But there was this one person (I am not calling this person an athlete because that you require to act like one), that kept on using my shadow zone (not allowed) kept on surpassing, just to get so slow that I had to do it – and then take a guess what that person did when we were next to each other. Yes, cycle faster. Also not allowed. I am really pissed about that because that stole so much unnecessary energy. A pity there was no judges around to really put a hold on that, that really pissed me off.
But overall I really enjoyed the cycling, it felt good and also gave back the feeling of not being totally misplaced in this competition.
The second transition was less challenging than the first one for me, only had to get rid off the bike and helmet and run.
I lost a bit of time when I had to make my shoes a bit tighter, but shit happens. It was actually good to have this little break so that my legs had the chance to understand, that biking is no more and now it is running instead.
I felt like running on eggs stuck undernearth my feet, it was really not a great feeling for the first 1,5 kilometres – my legs were blocking, my mind was rebelling and then also my foot all of a sudden hurt like hell for maybe 200m. I was at my limit, or rather: I was over that limit already. I had cramps in my legs and I was done with life, but so happy to have had people to push me, to let me run in their shadow zone because the wind from ahead was just so strong again that it felt like pushing a wall in front of you.
After 2km I got back into my rolling mode, I had the wind in my back and in general it all of a sudden had clicked. And I started to enjoy the running, but still I was really happy when I crossed the finish line.
As I´ve been running without my watch, I had no idea about my time. I knew that swimming must have been around 15min because of the start waves coming after us every 5min, but I had no idea about the biking, and even less about the running.
The initially set goal of 1:30-1:35h I had ditched after my two weeks of forced break thanks to foot and sickness, and I would´ve been really happy with 1:45h aswell.
And then I was getting closer to the finish line and saw the 1:37h. And I was speechless. I had never expected to be this quick after this terrible swim and a run that felt as if a one legged dog would´ve been quicker.
I am really happy about this time for the first triathlon and now also know on what I have to work – but this is gonna come in a separate blog entry and ot in this one. Because for now it´s all just about celebrating myself!