Sunday, 22 August 2010

Triathlon Club Relays 2010

We'd been talking about the National Triathlon Club Relays for months. I'd been enticed in to take part by the promise of a "fun, social triathlon with loads of time to rest". The idea is that you enter in teams of four and you all swim, bike and run. Some sort of baton is handed over as you tag your team mates and you get to chill out between your three disciplines - easy! How you were going to swim with a baton I was not sure, but I was planning on putting the cleavage to good use.

As it turns out it wasn't quite as simple as I had envisaged. With what felt like ten million other triathletes over four completely different transition areas there really is only one word that comes close to describing it: carnage. Even when we had started racing I had no clue whatsoever how it was all going to work, all I knew is that I was third and I had to wear the blue hat and make sure I was there ready when Nicky (number 2) came out of the water.

The "baton" turned out to be a rubber strap that goes around your wrist, which I was very relieved about. The idea of hundreds of people swimming with what was effectively a weapon had been striking fear into my heart but a rubber band I reckon I could handle.

This was also my first race in open water and was mentally prepared to get swum over, kicked in the face and generally battered. Fortunately I didn't have much time to think about that because I was focused on elbowing my way to the front of the neoprene-covered pack and being ready to scream out when Nicky came out of the water. Now I may not be a great swimmer but I can shout loudly with the best of them and she saw me straight away, before I knew it the band was on my wrist, I was barging through the masses and leaping fearlessly into the water. I use the word water fairly loosely, what we were actually swimming in was some kind of scientific pond-weed growth project. Every stroke involved handfuls of slimy greenery and every breath involved facefuls of it, deeelicious! Moments later I got kicked square in the face, my goggles were pushed so hard onto me I thought I might end up sucking my eye out if I tried to remove them - but I risked it and got them back into position. It was time to get aggressive, so I kicked harder and pushed past people whenever I could, the whole open-water argy-bargy business was actually quite enjoyable. My technique went completely out the window but I was having a good time! I got to the end and pegged it as fast as I could to find Sue, our number 4. A quick handover and she was away.  

Now I needed to figure out where to go with the bike and what to do next. Helmeted, gloved and very excited I went over to the bike transition area. It was not as complex as I expected, as soon as Nicky was out on the bike I could go and rack mine and then wait for her to hand over the baton once she'd done her three laps. It was a much smaller barrier to make the handover and therefore a lot more pushing was required, this is where being small comes good. I squeezed my way to the front, glad to be wearing my helmet as people with ridiculously large aerodynamic hetlmets were taking out their competitors with mere turns of their heads.

The handover was made and I ran my bike out of the transition area, as soon I was pedalling past the spectator crowd I heard someone screaming " Go Egggggg". Now I know where I get my volume from, my mother was up there cheering for me, and cheering bloody loudly - brilliant. Spurred on by that I whizzed off. The thing is when you get to have a break between, it means that you can push as hard as possible as you don't need to keep anything in reserve. A flat course around the lake means you can really push, and I loved speeding around the corners, overtaking, being overtaken and just caning it knowing I could have a rest after. When I finished the cycle my legs were still spinning so fast that I misjudged the pace completely. I ran to pass the band over to Sue and went straight into the barrier, luckily I only went into a big beefy man and so didn't take anyone out! 

My legs were pumping after the bike and after going to find mum and give her a big sweaty hug I got my trainers on and went on the search for the run transition zone. I was pretty worried about the run, with my gammy knee and the fact that I haven't been running at all recently I didn't know how it was going to go. Of course as soon as I saw Nicky making a sprint finish the adrenaline kicked in, the worries were lost and all I was thinking about was catching whoever was in front. I found the run hard, I knew I was finding it hard because I could hear myself grunting with every exhalation and there was nothing I could do about it. I wasn't the only grunter out there though, everyone was pushing hard. It felt like the longest 5k of my life and then I heard Liz (our number 1) screaming at me to sprint for the finish, so I went as hard as I could and handed the band over. I was done.

It's worth saying that I deserved to be grunting as I found out later on that it was the fastest 5k I had ever run, also the fastest on my team AND I beat Leo (on our other team) by one second! I hope he reads this.

We cheered as our number 4s ran through the finish. What I thought was going to be the most complicated event ever turned out to be a non-stop 4 and a bit hour funfest. Despite the very iffy weather and not knowing exactly what was going on I thoroughly enjoyed it and am already gearing up for next year.

We were all absolutely knackered afterwards and did the only thing you can really do in this instance, went to the pub. One dessert for sharing (but not shared, obviously) later and I was feeling much better. In fact after all the excitement my head was obviously in a bit of a spin and I splurged on unhealthyness. Following my dessert (and the rest of Nick's dessert) with a bottle of wine, a full English this morning and a Burger King on the way home - I'm such a rebel! But I'm a rebel who has now raced in open-water and ran a 5k faster than Leo (still reading Leo?) so all is good!


  1. Hehehe, you make me laugh! :-D Next time Egg, next time. ;)

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