My first triathlon - DNF, well I did.

author : jobaxas
comments : 5

I walk over to get my timing chip removed – uh oh, it’s not there! The moral of checking that your timing band is attached firmly.

Well the first real triathlon is done – but of course no-one knows because I lost my timing chip...hehe.  Luckily my friends Nicky and Jane were there to witness it or I would think I had dreamt the entire thing.  More like a nightmare!

So I woke up after a restless night’s sleep at 4:45am.  I forced down cereal and some water.  My stomach was a mess – went to the bathroom five times which in hindsight is a good thing!
Got ready and off I went – in the dark and the pouring rain.  I parked as close as possible, resigned myself to getting wet.  I got there and the first thing I checked was whether the swim was on or not (fingers were crossed it wasn’t and I could have crawled back to bed)  I met a nice guy walking over – turned out he won the Australian championship for his age group – I am amazed the elites are always so encouraging and nice.
I then picked up my registration kit.  Placed a sticker on my helmet and bike, number 624.  Lined up and got my number permanently marked on my arm, thigh and red swim cap.  I walked over and racked my bike, laid out my talcum powder filled shoes and socks covered them with a beach towel, made sure I got my bearings then headed off for a final toilet!
I then oiled up and poured myself into my wetsuit, went on like a dream - the bottom half at least.  I put my bag into the storage area and headed to the beach, getting nervous now.  A nice guy zipped me into my suit – as yet I have been pretty incapable of doing that!  Swim cap on.  Nicky arrived – soaked as she rode up from her place – about 30km.  It’s not dark now but it’s not light either, still pouring with rain.  The different waves of starter age groups line up and dive in and away they go.  The buoy looks a long way away from here.  Jane arrived just as I was about to start – what good friends to come out in that weather.
All too soon my group is called – I didn’t go to the front, didn’t fancy getting a face full of foot on my first time.  I stayed left and towards the back.  Off went the siren and I’m in – the water is warmer than outside so that’s nice, no waves - calm as a mill pond.  I should have started nearer the front as I find it hard to pass people and I’m obviously a stronger and faster swimmer.  It took me a while to get my rhythm.  The adrenalin was pumping which got my heart racing before even swimming a stroke, I had a small panicky moment but soon got used to it.  Some girls were on their backs just kicking so I wasn’t the worst off.  Saw two men get rescued – one in a boat and one on a paddle board.  Conditions were fine so I was bemused by this.   I am thankful for the four open water swims I've done in the preceding weeks.  Don't underestimate the value of getting into the open water - it's daunting, scary and not like the pool at all!
Anyway, I head down and off I went passing as many as possible, I wasn’t last by a long shot – neither was I first given that my age group was all women over 30 so I was competing with much younger elements.  I looked up and there was the buoy about five meters away, heaven.  I made sure I touched it for luck as I went round it. As it was, I passed a lot of people on the way to the shoreline.  It’s a deep bay so it’s ages before you get to touch the floor but it was fine. The worst short run was now to come.
Out we get and we have to run up the hill to the bike transition – it’s about a 200m run and it’s uphill on sand/grass/concrete - lucky a short downhill bit before the bike!
Into transition – off with the wetsuit (here I think the timing chip took a leap of faith).  I drink some water as the run after the swim has made me realize how much seawater I swallowed and I’m ready to vomit.  Helmet, socks and shoes on – I run the bike to the start line.  It’s really raining now, I hop on the bike – this is my strength unbelievably.  I pass lots of people.  It’s just a 10 km circuit – the two turnarounds are tricky since it’s wet but I slow to almost a standstill before negotiating them and had no fall so that’s good.  It’s along the beach road where I ride so I know all the turns and hills and I race along with a smile on my face.  Even my clothes almost dry out!
All too soon this part is over – I rack the bike, helmet off – quick drink and off we go to run our 2km.  A bit hilly to be honest and I’m about done – calves are screaming at me (I curse those shin splints) but I do a bit of walking and running.  I can see the finish line – Nicky and Jane give me a final cheer (they look wet through and frozen) – and suddenly I cross the line!  I’ve done it.  I walk over to get my timing chip removed – uh oh it’s not there!  I don’t care – I know I’ve done it.  I look at the clock: 1.15, my wave started 20mins after the gun so I think I finished in 55mins but I’ll never know – I don’t exist on the results page, not even a DNF – more like a Did Not Start!
Well it’s done – I do have another one and this time I’ll hang on to the timing chip!

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date: July 28, 2011