Saturday the 18th May, my tri suit is packed, the tyres on my bike pumped up which left me with the most important decision of all – what do I have for breakfast on the morning of race day!? Well it was between overnight oats or a bagel topped with peanut butter and banana. After consultation with Coach Addison (Steve my older brother and club chairman) I decided to play it safe a go with the bagel. And there we have it, the day was set!!
Sunday 19th May – the big day!! I’d been training for this event a whole 2 months!! (One doesn’t like to train in the winter months due to the cold – the word wimp springs to mind I know!). So, with a 5am wake up call, my hair plaited into ‘battle braids’, taking inspiration from Lucy Charles (no harm copying the greats!) and my bagel safely in my tummy I was ready to go!
We arrived at registration nice and early as anyone who knows me knows I like to leave plenty of time to set up otherwise you risk the wrath of a very disgruntled Sarah! Not much later the scene was set! Bike in transition with a very fetching pair of bright blue sunglasses (nobody looks cool in cycling sunglasses right!?) and shoes placed just outside the pool ready!
First off the swim! Now, a word of advice for everyone… maybe go and time yourself to gauge roughly how long your swim is going to take you before entering a predicted swim time. Numpty over here entered a time of 09:30 when the previous Thursday I had been hitting a time of 06:30 for 400m. Note to self: don’t go off last year split forgetting it included the transition time also – oops!!! Never mind, too late to do anything about it now! Minus having to overtake other members in my lane and a near miss collision, the swim went very smoothly, completing it in a time of 06:51. Happy with that.
So out of the pool I climbed, socks and trainers on and onto to transition I ran (thanks to anyone who joined us on the Instagram live stream – I think that’s as close to Instagram famous as I’ll ever get)! Sexy blue sunglasses and helmet on, bike unhooked and off I went – all in 24 seconds! Not bad if you ask me! Just call me the transition queen. And lets not forget to mention my flying mount onto the bike (I like to think I take after the Brownlee Brothers). Even a marshal quoted “That’s the best I’ve seen all day!”.
The weather conditions were absolutely perfect for the bike, sunny with not a breath of wind! Although, this did mean that my mind would wander every so often and I’d have to remind myself ‘Come on Sarah! You’re in a race, not on a leisurely bike ride!’. With that being said, I finished the 11 mile bike in a respectable time of 42:43.
Another very smooth dismount off the bike and a quick 24 seconds in transition – it was time for the run! And my goodness it was jelly legs galore! However, it didn’t take me long to find my stride and although the first half of the run was tough as it was mostly up a steady incline, once I hit the half way cone, I glanced at my watch to see a time of 13:35! This meant if I could keep this pace up, I might just hit my 5km PB time of 27:01! Then I remembered the odds were in my favour and it was all downhill from here (in the physical sense)! So off I went, running as fast as my little legs would carry me finishing my run in a time of… wait for it… (I know, the suspense is killing you) 26:23!!! WHAT!? I did it! I actually ran a 5km PB after having swam and cycled!? I couldn’t quite believe it!
So that was it! I finished with a time of 01:19:10 – 6 minutes and 20 seconds faster than last years time! And to top it off I was only 2 seconds (yes you heard me right, 2 SECONDS!) off 3rdplace prize for my gender age category!!! Now whether having overnight oats for breakfast rather than the peanut butter banana bagel would have made that all important 2 second difference, we may never know… but what I do know is that it’s certainly ignited the fire inside of me to get better for next time! So watch this space!
After playing the role of unofficial breakfast nutritionist I was also racing. Though as many of you know I have been doing this a lot longer than Sarah so I’ll keep my write up brief!
Shockingly I wasn’t in my usual spot of faster swimmer, in fact I wasn’t even in the final wave. Despite this I still managed to set the quickest swim time of the day in 4:57.
Onto the bike leg. Having recently changed a few things with my bike fit (thanks to those over at Physiohaus) and some new equipment (fancy disc wheel and pointy helmet) I hoped things would go well. As Sarah said, the weather was perfect and I managed to replicate my swim and post the fastest bike split of the day.
Only the run left, classically my weakest discipline. I decided to throw it all at the wall and see what stuck. The running I have been doing with Elswick Harriers has certainly been paying off and I managed to break 20 minutes for the first time ever in a triathlon with a solid 19:30. This was good enough for 5th fastest run of the day, and meant I finished in 2nd overall, something my race number seems to have foreshadowed!
That’s enough from me, other than to give a huge congratulations to Cleveland Triathlon Club who never fail to disappoint with their excellent events. I’d urge anyone looking to do a friendly, pool swim triathlon to give this one a go!