This time I made sure to jump in the water and warm up for a 100m or so, just to let my heart rate come back down and to loosen the arms. As the event was sold out, we were set off in pairs to ease the congestion. This worked well and we lined up slowest first. Not really knowing where to start I headed off about 10 pairs back. Unlike last time I started slowly, got my breathing right and found my rhythm, I gained a bit of momentum and really got my head down for the second lap. I really enjoyed it this time, the conditions couldn’t have been better. I got to T1 relaxed and quickly got my trainers and “Christmas socks” on and ran through the bush to the start of the 1km hill climb up to the main road. I’ve always been a fan of hills and made up some places on the way. This was the first real test for my ankle, and although it hurt, it felt stable and I could push on. Once I reached the main road and it levelled out, I began to push the pace and before long had reached T2.
I put on my helmet and road shoes and pushed the bike onto the course. With the staggered times it was impossible to know your position in the race, so it became a time trial and a race against the clock. 9 short laps and it’s easy to lose count, so I kept checking my watch’s lap distance for reference. Today the course was fast out with a slight headwind on the return. It was getting busier on the course, with everybody dressed up in their Xmass gear. On the last lap I began to mentally prepare myself for the last run. Still being new to the triathlon/duathlon world, I remember all the mistakes I made in the first few, like tying my laces instead of using elastic laces, running through transition in my cycling shoes, instead of leaving them on the bike, all tips from friends, but it’s the small things that make all the difference, and make transition a lot smoother and less stressful. I pulled on my trainers and I was away again, 5km’s to go!
I always tend to be able to ramp up the running so I’m getting faster as each km goes by in a short race. I still managed this today and felt good during the first lap. As I began the second lap, I could feel the strain in my breathing, but my legs felt good. I felt great, and once I rounded the roundabout for the last time, I knew it was only going to be a couple of km’s to the finish. Once my watch beeped to signal 4km, I upped the pace once more, knowing I was nearly home. Around the cones for the last turnaround, and I started to sprint. Faster and faster, less than 100m to go, I could see the finish. I crossed the line totally spent, a feeling of relief and great satisfaction that it’s over, and you’ve given it everything and left it all out on the course! It’s funny you always feel relieved, but not long after feel you could do it all over again, even though moments before, you thought you were going to die, but that’s racing I guess.
“Christmas” hats off to Warringah Triathlon and all the members for giving up their free time and making these events great for all us competitors.