Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Five ways to screw-up your first Triathlon!

- I screwed mine in all five ways

1. Get beaten-up in the water: Okay, everyone has told you about this. Everyone I know told me about it, but still I got beaten-up in the water. Reason: I thought I will dash ahead of where all the fighting will happen (just behind the leading pack). But then everyone was thinking the same. And all those who thought this were the people hitting each other. To make matters worse, even though the race I chose is open waters, it was six loops around a 250m stretch! Lucky for me that the fighting lasted only for the first lap and then it was fine.

The calm swimming after getting beaten up

2. Get scratched by the Mr. Breast-stroke specialist: You have read and practiced all about how to overtake the athlete in front of you in the swim. But do you know how to overtake that one person who has switched to a breast-stroke? Well, its simple, stay an arms length away from him. If you don't do it then his sharp and uncut nails will claw your sides or belly!

3. Now do you remember your lap? Now, while you were busy getting beaten-up or beating others around and getting clawed by the Mr. Breast-stroke specialist do you remember how many loops have you done around your 250m course? I forgot. Thankfully, there are not many Triathlons that make you count your laps in the swim stretch but there are some and it happened to be my first.

It was a hot day!

4. Wet feet and dirt go well together: That says it all! I didn't have a towel for my feet in the transition area so the result was that my feet had many small particles of dirt sticking to it and I pulled my socks over it. By the end of the 40km of cycling, I could count every one of those dirt particles because of the sheer pricking pain I was feeling on my feet.

5. What does my timing chip do? I was well instructed that I had to collect a wrist band at the U-turn point of the run (at 5km). Thats too much to remember after 1.5km of swimming and 40km of cycling. I was banking on the volunteers to give me that wrist band. Well, no surprise here, they forgot too. I was back at almost the 7km mark when I noticed this band on the wrist of the athlete that I was passing. No excuses, I turned around to go back to the 5km U-turn point to get my wrist band. It added only 26 min to my overall total time. This is when you tell yourself that you wanted to do an Ironman anyway. So these few minutes are just training miles! The worst part it that nobody was looking for that wrist band at the finish line! There were others like me but they didn't go back for the stupid wrist band. Again there are not many Triathlons that depend on wrist bands to ensure that you complete the race. Most will have sophisticated timing chips. But that is exactly the kind of thinking that got me in this mess in the first place.

Second time at the turn-around point (5km) asking for my wrist band!

After all that I managed to finish no later than 4 hours. Not bad considering it was my first triathlon on a very difficult course and after running almost 14km. The previous years bronze medalist had barely done it in 3:30 h:mm.

None of this matters when you hold your little girl in your arms after a four hour triathlon!