Kay Ball – My First Sprint Triathlon

Whoopee I did it! I’m delighted to report that last week I finally crossed the line of the Pendle Sprint Triathlon.

sprint triathlonI’d been pretty chilled as I counted down to the big day. I was enjoying the training for the most part and loving being bigged-up by friends and family who were really proud of what I was hoping to do.

It was only the arrival in my inbox of the arrangements for the event itself, that made my stomach churn and gave me a bit of a wobble. The info I received was long and thorough with detailed instructions and timings of what I needed to do once things got under way.

Race day dawned beautifully and my husband, Dean, and I set off early for Barnoldswick – a very pretty village in the Pennine hills. Dean, who has been a star throughout the process, was there armed with his camera and best cheering voice. I was so glad to have his company and moral support.

My sprint triathlon race day tips for the newbie triathlete

  • Read through all the information you get about your race so there are no surprises on the day. See this as the final part of all the months of training you’ve put in. You owe it to yourself not to be sweating the small stuff, like where to park, when you should be focused on the race. Do your homework and be prepared.
  • Practice transition at home so that it’s second nature. Getting a triathlon belt and some elastic shoe laces will save you valuable seconds and make it less stressful.
  • Make sure your bike is in the right gear for the start. If it’s on an uphill hill you’ll need to be in a low gear or you’ll find yourself going nowhere fast.
  • If you live near enough, familiarise yourself with the course and get to know it’s profile and any idiosyncrasies.

Sprint Triathlon – The race!

I was incredibly nervous as I waited for the swim to start. At least having a kit-malfunction was one thing I didn’t need to worry about. My trisuit was by then tried and tested! I was sure it would serve me well and looking like a pro was a boost to my confidence.

It was brilliant to finally get started and the swim was over and done with before I knew it. Once I’d got through the first transition and onto the bike, I started to relax and enjoy myself. Heading off with people applauding, bells being rung and lots of words of encouragement from passers-by gave me a lift.

There were a few challenging hills along the way (that’s The Pennines for you) but I was soon in a rhythm, and able to enjoy the atmosphere. I reflected on what I was doing and enjoyed the climax of months of training.

As I came through transition for the second time with just the run to go, my legs were heavy. Regardless, I was determined to keep on trucking and make it round. Just before the finish line there was a huge hill and I didn’t have much left in my tank.  I dug deep and, spurred on by the cheering spectators, picked up the pace just enough to cross the finish line in style.

The finish

Finishing was an awesome experience – I was so proud of myself and knew friends and family would be too. I’ve had a lot of fun over the last few months and met some great people who’ve helped and inspired me along the way.

To any women out there who are thinking of doing their first triathlon I’d say “Go for it!”. Whatever your age and level of fitness, there will be a race out there for you. The sense of achievement you’ll get from finishing is priceless.

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