It was time to move on and ‘Tri’ something different (Part 2)
So.. Firstly, i was so overwhelmed and touched by everyons thoughts on Part 1 of this blog. I try to be as honest and open about this sort of stuff as i possibly can be, but i struggle to open up about personal things such as this and find it hard to let my barrier down on feelings and things which are increibly close/ passionate to me. I reccommend to anyone similar, to write a blog. Even if it isnt shared with people, i find it really helps to let it all out rather than keep it bottled inside of you.
Anyway, what a couple of months it has been since part 1. A lot has happened and a lot of change has taken place. Its been truly amazing and i have been the happiest i can remember in a very long time. No doubt or questioning has happened as to what i am now embarking on… and that is Triathlon… I decided since early on this year to take up the sport, i mean it suits me to a T… i love to train and train hard, i love a challenge, and youve gotta be pretty crazy to do this sport, i mean as if i havent got enough to do as it is, why not chuck in 3 sports to learn at the same time ;)
Before i deceided to go ahead with getting some proper training and coaching on board (which i already knew i was going to end up doing) i decided to self- train myself and get a few tips from a couple of friends who were also triathletes and enter myself into a triathlon… I immediately loved the variety that triathlon involved, obviously running is my strongest area and needed the least amount of work put into it, but the other two… well, the last time i had swam must of been when i was 13/14?? I did swimming when i was a kid, but never really enjoyed it that much, i did it because my mum took me but i cant say i ever took to it. And the bike…obviously i could ride a bike, but again, thats very different to actually racing on a bike, and on a road bike at that! So its bought some challenges, but suprisingly, the swimming has been my favourite of the 3 to train, i took to it pretty well. I am a good all-rounder, and have managed to get by and do pretty well in most sports thrown at me, but swimming i really seemed to pick up quite nicely and really enjoyed it..result! The bike however, took a little more time to get used to, ive been told its the event where you will get better the more time spent on it, like most things i guess… the more you practice the better you get. But i really didnt enjoy it to begin with and often opted to work on my swim and running in the first couple of weeks leading up to my first Sprint Triathlon and ‘wing’ the bike (oh how silly was i).
My first Sprint triathlon was on August the 19th in Portishead. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, To cut a long story short, i loved it! i was so nervous that morning, but so eager to get in the pool and get going, it all went so fast and before i knew it i was crossing the line with a huge smile and slight relief that i had got round the course! I did have a bit of a nightmare with my bike, where i got to the transition point, got on my bike to start pedaling and reaised my chain was off… i had no idea how to put a chain back on a bike (i know, its shocking) so i had a mild panic attack but thankfully a really kind man came to my resuce and popped it back on for me and all was ok again! Other than that, it was a huge success and my strength in my running really shone through, it made me realise how good of an advantage i have to most, knowing that coming off that bike, ive got a strong kick and the ability to settle into a strong pace and run hard, so i have Athletics to thank that for ;). The most important thing was i felt that excitement i had longed for in Athletics, the pre race nerves, the nauseous feeling and the adrenaline pumping through me, it was there clearer than ever and it was the best feeling in the world. As soon as i finished i messaged my now coach to get the ball rolling and get some proper training in me before my next one!
So yeah.. its been crazy. Ive been training under the guidance of a coach for almost two months now. This has had such an impact and a big difference already. Theres a hell of a lot to learn and master in Triathlon, and certainly something which is going to take a long time, mainly due to there being 3 events to work on…two of which i am a complete novice at haha. Having a training plan and something to follow suits me well. I love a plan, I know through experince of my own work training my clients how much of a difference a plan can make when training.
I’m learning something new pretty much every day, not just physically but also mentally, its really pushing my limits and testing the way i deal with areas in this sport as some parts such as the bike, where you dont have complete control over, its its own thing.. if something goes wrong with your bike during a race, such as a puncture or your chain falling off (like mine) its how you deal with those things, and for someone like myself who plans everything and loves to be organised and always in control, this is testing haha. But, i love it! Physical things such as breathing strokes in my swim sets and heart rate zones which i should be hitting in my bike and run sessions are all tiny details that can make such a huge difference to the way in which I perform and things which i had no idea about and had been missing leading into my first Triathlon, so going into my second one with about 4 weeks worth of ‘proper’ triathlon training gave me a huge boost.
As mentioned briefly, the bike was the area which needed most work, not just because i liked it the least, but generally the way in which i ride and how i ride needed work. On my first triathlon i wore trainers on the bike, i was yet to have myself a pair of bike cleats, so taking to those for the first time was an experince to say the least. Dave assured me after the first time I had fallen off (practically stationary) “dont worry…you wont let it happen again now”….. FOUR TIMES LATER AFTER THAT COMMENT!!! I almost threw the towel in there and then, but luckily he persuaded me to try one last time after sulking a little and swearing a lot (shock) …;). So since the first triathlon where myself on the bike was a big highlighting moment for me that i really had to put some more time into it if i wanted to be good. I’m so competitive and all i wanted was to better myself and ultimately be the best in whatever i do, so that race was the kick up my ass that was needed and since then i have made a real concious effort to get myself out on the roads, on my own, no Dave to protect me or be my wind shield ;), just me and the bike.
With each completed bike sessions came a little more love for my bike each time, although most of the time i was just glad to get home, i was actually really starting to enjoy it. I also began to realise how strong i was on the bike, esecially on the hills, now Dave wont even come out with me as he knows i can beat him up the hills haha. I now love nothing more than grinding up some of bath’s beauties and thankfully we arent short on some lovely inclines around here (my perosonal fav being Ralph Allen Drive… its just never ending).
I’ve also realised since taking up Triathlon how much of a nutter i am haha. I always knew i was different to most of my friends and family, their idea of a ‘fun’ weekend is certainly nothing like mine, but this sport is perfect for me. I mean, you have to be slightly mad to take on this sport don't you? not 1, but 3 sports all rolled into one after another…but i finally think ive found my calling!
I’ve also met some really cool people in this short space of time, its bought me out of my comfort zone massively and pushed me into meeting new people which has helped so much with my confidence. I have a very small circle of close people around me, although i know a lot of peope and spend a huge amount of time with people daily, i only have a handful i could really open up to and chose to spend time with, and that suits me, i like that. I like to keep myself to myself. But with Triathlon you meet all sorts of people as you typically train with people who are training purely for 1of the 3 sports as there arent many triathlon groups around here, so i meet a lot of swimmers, cyclists and runners and its great! Athletics was a very lonely and selfish sport and although i love it, i dont feel it did me any favours on the outside.
So moving on to my next Triathlon, this was on October 1st…my second ever Sprint Triathlon. It was in Tockington, North Bristol. It was known to be a really friendly and local race, and my coach told me it was a good one to finish my very short season on before getting some hard work in over the winter. I was so excited, every time i thought about it i was nervous and all i wanted to do was just get there and race! again… something i havent felt in a very long time. It was a pretty decent turnout for a local meet, just over 200 people. I had no idea of the bike route (again something that still got to me a little as i felt i was still so inexperienced in this area) but i also couldnt wait to just get on my bike and give it my best shot. The race was a 400m swim, 18km bike and finished with a 5km run. It was so much fun, every second was incredible and i had a constant buzz throughout the whole competition. The race went smooth, i had no complications and no chains falling off (YES!!), my transitions were pretty good and i left nothing behind, i went for it on every part. It showed because i won!! I bloody won! I came first in my age group, but i was also the 1st lady overall. I placed 35th out of everyone (including males), i couldnt belive it. I know it was only low-key (not trying to take the shine off it as i am super proud of myself) but i know ive still got a long way to go, it was just such a nice feeling to finish this competitive season from changing sports on a high.
I came into 2017 as an 800m runner, where Triathlon hadnt even enetered my head until May, to now having completed two triathlons and a new found love for swimming, riding and running. I know i have made the right decision because truth be told, i havent given athletics a second thought since starting this. I honestly dont miss it at all. Ill always hold a special place in my heart for that sport and i am so thankful and proud of what i achieved in it and the people i met along the way, but that part and chapter is closed and its such a good feeling. Its led me to be brave and take a chances at something new, and so far, it looks to be paying off.
Going forward, i am currently getting stuck into my winter training phase, where the aim is to build up my endurance base and work on more technical aspects of all 3 disciplines. Plans have been made and competitions have been looked at/enetered for the 2018 season and suddenly things appear to be getting more and more serious. This isnt a hobbie for me, i want to see how far i can get in this sport so lets go for it!
Thanks for reading!