I did it! I completed a triathlon! And not only that I also had a fabulous birthday too!!
I think this might have been the best birthday present I have ever given myself. I have opened my mind to new possibilities. Me! I used to write fake notes at school so I didn't have to do PE! (Sorry Mum! Hope none of my PE teachers are reading this!) I always had a weird dislike of moving my body, especially in public. And now I am officially a triathlete! Look
I had to laugh when I showed up at 0615 on Saturday on my bike. Anyone who has seen my current bike will know it is not the most elegant of bicycles! I dropped it next to registration against a convenient fence. It still had the basket attached at that point. And after registering I arrived back to find it flanked by two beautiful, shiny, sleek racing bikes... It looked so comical I had to laugh. I admit I also did start to wonder what on earth I was doing here...
The briefing contained reassurance that as we were all swimming in wetsuits we wouldn't get swimmers itch.... Here's me finishing my swim. Note the lack of wetsuit (I don't like swimming in a wetsuit). And yes I did get swimmers itch (again).
My cycle and run were way faster than I ever expected them to be. The swim was far worse than I had anticipated. But I was not last out of the water. By a long stretch. I hadn't anticipated how it feels to swim with 120 other people (like being in a washing machine). I hadn't anticipated what nerves would do to my swimming (make my stroke shorter). Or how tough swimming breast stoke through heaps of weed is (really hard! I felt like I was being pulled under by the weeds. Yuck).
I had a little companion in Wills after my swim, he ran some of the transition with me which helped take my mind off the stony ground bare foot after the swim. I'm taking shoes for that next time...
Getting changed from the swim into the run I was kept entertained by my brave husband grabbing the mike and singing me happy birthday over the speakers. It is tricky getting running tights on while wet so he had plenty of time! I did manage to loose my lovely costume after the swim - I haven't seen it since which is probably the saddest part of the whole day! I love that costume and now I can't even go swimming! Pah!
As I said, the cycle was good. Just under an hour of cycling all by myself. Not an experience I have had since the days of doing a paper round. It was peaceful and it helped me greatly to focus on the line from 'Everybody's free (to wear sunscreen)'
"the race is long and in the end it's only with yourself".
I ran most of the 5kms at the end. I was expecting to be crawling!! Or at least walking...! Although I have since seen that crawling is not permitted! So I would have been disqualified if I'd decided to crawl - lucky I didn't need to! My Dad found me at 3kms into the run and he ran the last 2 Kms with me. It was a good incentive to keep running.
My children cheered me on lots!
They even had signs too. I missed those though as Andy cycled out onto my cycle route to see me but they missed me because I was too quick! It's the thought that counts.
Look at those cuties!
I crossed the line last which I expected but I was only 2 minutes behind the woman in front of me.
My time was 2hours 6mins. I thought it was going to take me 3 hours so I am thrilled with that time. A new personal best!
As the marshals found out it was my birthday they wished me a happy birthday along the route. A particular highlight was as I crossed the finish line everyone there sang me happy birthday.
Such a proud moment. Crossing the finish line. Done. I did it! Something I never believed I could really do.
One of the best bits is how generous my friends and family have been for Willow Foundation. I have raised over and above what I set out to achieve and hope to keep the total ticking up for a wee while yet (hint hint nudge nudge if you haven't already sponsored me already...).
The rest of the day was spent with my friends in the park at Dinton sharing a wonderful picnic together. And in the evening my family came round for a giant curry feast before an early night! All in all a great birthday.
It still hasn't fully sunk in. I am a triathlete. Me! I did it. I did it. I did it! And I might do it again next year.... Maybe.....
Thank you for all your support and encouragement and sponsorship. It has made all the training, all the cycling everywhere with my children, all the mental anguish, all of it, worthwhile.