BirthdayTri – the gift that keeps on giving

Getting ready to start the swim. That's me in the RED cap 157 from the back left.

Getting ready to start the swim. That’s me in the RED cap 157 from the back left.

What crazy 39 year old decides to do a Triathlon for their 40th Birthday? Yep that’s me.

A year ago I tentatively marked the calendar with an event, Husky Triathlon. It was very very tentative booking, but what caught my eye was that it was 4 days before my 40th Birthday and I had a crazy idea that maybe in some alternate universe I may just be able to do this.

You may or may not know from my previous post about my 1st triathlon, that a year ago I was in no shape to tackle any of the Tri elements on their own let alone doing all 3, (I may have managed the cycle). So doing a “proper” triathlon was a freaky thought. I say “proper” triathlon because 1st one I did was Triathlon Pink which was a women only fun event fundraising for Breast Cancer, plenty of people in fancy dress and a more relaxed atmosphere.

The Husky event was from the Elite Energy series with a variety of different distances ranging from the Long Course (half Ironman distances) to the Enticer which I was having a go at. The Enticer distances are 300m ocean/bay swim, 8k cycle and a 2k run.

When I arrived I headed off to register and collect my timing chip and numbers and was pleased to see they gave you a free swim cap. I preferred to swim in my own yellow cap, so grabbed what I needed out of the pack and handed the rest to my mum to mind (good ole mum’s handbag still being used even at my age). I went to the bike area with my dad and racked my bike and set up all my gear and then wandered back to all my supporters (mum, dad, hubby, Miss 3 and Aunty Mar Mar) to give them a kiss before I headed off to the start.

Mid swim, rounding the last turn.

Mid swim, rounding the last turn.

I ran into some friends at the briefing area and got chatting and noticed they all had their matching caps that came in the pack and I said I was going to wear my own, they then informed me that I had to wear the “coloured” cap that I was given in order to start at the right time. At this point I had no idea where my family were, I needed what was in mum’s handbag desperately. I found myself an Event Marshall and explained my situation and he confirmed I needed my swim cap to start, so I kindly asked if I could borrow his mobile phone and I called dear ole Dad to bring it over to me. So he sweet talked other Marshall’s to be allowed through restricted areas, hurdling barricades to get to me quicker with the red cap. Success! I got it just in time and missed the race brief but at least I was able to start.

So everyone competing in the Enticer headed down to the beach for the swim start and they had groups starting at about 5 minute intervals corresponding with their cap colour (pretty important to have the right colour cap now that I think about it). The gun went off and I went out fast and then settled down a bit and I was remembering my pep talk from Miss 3, “big arms and lots of kicking” and from Hubby “if you get crowded in, use the People’s elbow”, I do tend to use mostly arms so the pep talk came in handy to remind me to kick. The swim was hard but I felt good, my arms were tired at the end. As I was coming into shore I overtook a lady wearing flippers and as I ran up the stairs to my bike I looked back at the water and there were still a lot of red caps, so I must have done ok.

I took it easy heading back to the bike, it was up hill and stairs and I heard my trainer yell out to take it easy so my decision was right.

I took my cleats off my bike before the event because I didn’t think there was enough advantage for an 8k ride to warrant using cleats and a 2nd change of shoes, so I put my socks and joggers straight on, sunnies and helmet and off I went. I wanted to go hard on the bike and try and get as much advantage as I could, but my legs felt like concrete stumps, the ride seemed to take forever until I got to the turning point and by then my legs had limbered up a little bit. By the time I headed back down the main street of Husky I was going hard and overtook a few people, rounded the last turn and I heard my family cheering me on and it spurred me on to finish hard.

The last turn on the bike leg, I look happy..... happy to be getting off my bike.

The last turn on the bike leg, I look happy….. happy to be getting off my bike.

I threw my bike back on the rack and headed off for the run, my leg muscles were burning, I had really lacked the transition training leading up to this event and I was feeling it now. I wonder if I went too hard on the bike or if I would have felt like this anyway, it is hard to know. I ran (so slowly) as much as I could but it did walk a bit, I think my mind let me down in the run, I need music to keep my mind off the pain and next time I will be packing my Ipod. Once I rounded the half way mark my mind joined the event and I managed to run more on the home stretch and even had a sprint to the finish line. I was exhausted and a bit wobbly.

So my personal goals apart from finishing this race was to not come last and to complete the race in under 1 hour, the official times and placings are on the web and I came 3rd last in my age group 35-39 year old females and I scraped in with a time of 58:01, yay.

Finally about to cross the finish line, the run felt like the longest 2k.

Finally about to cross the finish line, the run felt like the longest 2k.

My one regret was having Gatorade a few hours before I started and I sipped the last of it on my bike leg, By the time I hit the running leg, my tummy felt like it had a rock in it, not a good idea, next time will be water all the way.

After getting congratulated by my family I headed back to collect my bike and they were not letting anyone in yet as there was still a cyclist out on the course, it was announced that it was a 79 year old lady who was competing in her first triathlon, so inspiring and she got the loudest cheer as she got off her bike.

My biggest supporters.... love these 2 with all my heart.

My biggest supporters…. love these 2 with all my heart.

We were staying in a house nearby and the plan was to have a little birthday gathering. When I arrived back some friends of mine had decorated the house with Fit Fab Forty picture collages and it looked amazing. My brother also arrived with his 3 kids and my family and friends prepared a fantastic seafood feast with some salads and after guzzling some water, having a shower I had a well-deserved glass of champagne, in a specially selected glass.

It was a lovely relaxing meal, great company and I received some of the best presents. I had a fantastic birthday weekend, I am one lucky girl.