Warren King began his triathlon journey at the same time as taking on the role of a Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing Ambassador. This years Huski Long Course on the NSW South Coast was his first long-course triathlon. He writes about managing his training, his race experience and gives an insight into being a first-timer.
BY WARREN KING
“I don't like mornings. I certainly don't like 4.30am. Not when I know I've got to cycle up the hill I live at the bottom of 6 times. That's just Thursdays though, there are other days and other hills.
After joining a 12 week program though, you do find yourself surprisingly motivated most days. Training as a group helps when you know you're not the only one going through it. It's almost like a support group when you realize people are experiencing the same highs/lows and barriers that you are. Some days you are unstoppable and other days it's a total struggle, but progress is always made, even if it's just to get through a session. I don't think anyone makes all the sessions, we do have jobs and other commitments after all, but most of us aimed to make as many as possible. As I have always run, my main concern was swimming and cycling, so if I dropped any of the scheduled sessions, it was the running. Leading up to Huskisson Long Course, which was the first long one for many of the group, the training was invaluable to me for the structure.…. as a newbie the advice and training was much needed before the race.
The couple of days leading up to the race I was surprisingly relaxed. The house we rented in Huski was relaxed in general. One person had to pull out of the race due to illness, but that was the only unplanned event. I wasn't nervous at all on the day of the race. I had a sense of realization when putting all my gear in transition, I was actually going to do this. I was concerned about forgetting something and being unorganized, but the race itself was something I was going to enjoy. I did forget to put my sunnies with my gear in transition, but one of the support crew offered to hand them to me coming out of the swim (not strictly legal, but hey, I was pretty sure I would not be leading the pack!).
The fact that the wave starts were split in half (a gap of over an hour in the middle, just to keep the bike course clear for us) meant I got to sledge a few of my club mates exiting the swim and hang around a while before finally getting on the wetsuit. The swim was a nightmare for me at the start. I got punched, kicked and swum over, but I just managed to hold it together. My sighting wasn't particularly good either, but once I got a rhythm I felt comfortable. Swimming in the beautiful waters of Jervis Bay has to be experienced.
I tripped up the stairs heading to transition, giving the crowd an "oooh" moment, but got out of the wetsuit and onto the bike as quickly and smoothly as I could. The bike leg took me a little by surprise, as the course is quite undulating. Again it took me a while to find a rhythm, but I was confident that I would get through it without incident, because of all the training, That doesn't mean it wasn't painful at times. Scenery is great (not that you really have time to look at it) and I was pretty happy with my bike time, but I was looking forward to the run as I believed it was my strength. On the day, it wasn't. I had had some nagging Achilles problems in the lead up, so hadn't done many long runs leading up to the race and this was my downfall. I felt good in the first part of the run and then I started to slide backwards. The first 10k I knocked out in a pace I would expect, but with 10km left I hit a wall. My legs were heavy and my hip was aching. I could tell I'd slowed considerably and it took a good deal of mental strength to keep plugging away. And the fantastic atmosphere and support from club members (on the course and spectating) really helped me on that last few kms home.
It was hard work, but the entire weekend was fantastic. Supporting others in races and receiving support from your crew was amazing and much needed at times. Whoever said "looking good Warren" with 3km to go was clearly having a lend of me. The race hit me harder than I thought when all the disciplines and distances are strung together, but I'll know what to expect next time. That's just a learning curve. I did finish within my goal timeframe, which wouldn't have happened without the training. It was a great feeling to finish over the red carpet and under the finishing arch, and for me it was that thought that kept me going. There was no way, after all that training I was going to fall short just because it hurt. A very memorable weekend for all the right reasons. Looking forward to next year…...
Warren raised $1220 for The Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) by competing in the Husky Tri.
CHeBA conducts research into Alzheimer's and Dementia. Their research shows that a healthy body and regular exercise cuts the risk of these diseases significantly. Good news for all our club members as we age!
Well done Warren. Triathlons seems to be a perfect match to raise money for this cause. Great message to spread and thanks for involving the club.