So my first go tri was out the way, my game plan was to be doing Banana at Dorney in June.
3 Months. I needed to get lake swimming under my belt and not shit myself when I got in the lake. I also needed to sort my running out as the whole drop foot thing was kicking my ass anytime I did more than a KM. Chrisi had got into it by this point but the duathlon side of things as her swimming resembled the people who swam at 0.01 km per hour in the fast lane with their head out the water.
There was a go tri event at green park in Reading and she entered that and I came down to support. 2km run 10km bike 2km run, She smashed it and it was all pretty much closed road, I thought I would enter the following month with her and in a moment of tiredness and admiration the night before I said “don’t worry about me you go and get a good time”. When it came to the following day I had forgotten I had said this and after the nerves of starting we both started and she shot off like a rocket and I tried to keep up. I kinda did for the first km then the 2nd lap came and I quickly slipped into last place. When I got to transition there were no bikes left in the racks apart from mine which hit my confidence, I panicked, could not get my bike shoes on then my glasses would not go on because I had my helmet on. Basically, it all went to shit and I quit the race in a strop. Chrisi came over the finish line and saw me in my trainers sulking wondering what the hell happened. Explaining what happened and her then reminding me I told her to go quick didn’t help.
It wasn’t till later that day I got an email from Georgia at Tri20 the people who organise the Reading Go Tri. It was really sweet and we emailed back and forth about what happened and don’t give up so I was gonna come back and do it again next month. We worked out it’s the run that buggers me up so ill run 1 lap less both runs and do more bike laps. Babs also helped to by telling me a motto that I stick with in everything now “Finish lines NOT! Finish times”. Chrisi ran with me this time and we ran the whole thing at a decent pace too. Now to transition, be calm, breath, do what you practiced. Glasses, helmet, take off trainers, sit down on the floor, calmly put bike shoes on, pick up bike, walk to line, get on, ride. Bugger shoes wont clip in, be calm, try again, breath, click, ride.
I was off and at a pretty good pace on the bike too, 1st corner done, 2nd, 3rd, then I went straight ahead instead of turning left. I didn’t realise till a huge bus came by the side of my and other traffic, turns out I was on one of the main dual carriageways into Reading. That’s cool, dont stress, I know my way back to the start line its just going to be on a road full of fast traffic. When I got back to the start the look of confusion on Chrisi’s face was priceless. Thankfully the other laps were following the route. Back into transition.
Calm, dismount, walk to rack, rack bike, remove helmet, sit down, remove bike shoes, calmly put on trainers, and were off. Oh crap here come the jelly leg, OK walk a bit it will go and were off again, jog. I managed pretty much the whole run in one go and as we came into the finish, I’d done it. When we worked out the timings, I hadn’t come last either and when I looked on Strava where I had actually cycled it was the basically another lap of the bike course just on a dual carriageway.
Enough about duathlons, The following week I had booked onto the intro to lake swimming with Phil at Bray lake. I was really looking forward to this session as I was finally gonna try lake swimming. I wasn’t nervous driving down monkey island lane until I turned that corner where you saw the lake for the first time f**king hell its massive and the buoy’s you swim around seemed tiny. Instantly the nerves kicked in massively. I parked up, got my stuff out the car and went to the clubhouse to register, OK sorted lets swim. I got my trisuit and wetsuit on and waited for Phil.
Before we even got our toes wet we had a long chat about whats going to happen in the next 15 minutes and how we will let our body climatise to the water which I remember being about 15 degrees which is just below the temperature where is wont suck. I got in feet first, jesus it was cold, let myself get used to it, now go up to your knees, still cold. Phil then said to go in up to your balls at which point I cracked a joke I already was. Ok up to the real balls, chest then neck. Now let some water into the neck line of the wetsuit, JEEEEEEESUUUUUSSSSSS that was cold but it quickly warmed up. OK last thing dunk your head under, this wasn’t too bad but the next thing was to swim to the float in the water, it seemed miles away but off I went paddling like an OAP in the slow lane at the pool.
I have no idea what time it took me and I wasn’t ready to get my head in the water yet as I was worried about sighting mainly because my pool goggles were shite when trying to see in the lake. When I made it to the float it kicked in how far I was from the shore and the fact I could not see the bottom, It was scary but I was floating. I went into position 1 for a bit, got my breath back and swam back to where I had come from head still above water but made it. I was slowly falling in love with this, no lanes, no lines, no walls, just water, I still could not swim that far but I could swim and if I remembered position 1 I will be fine. I did one more swim to the float and back and on the way back started putting my head under the water a bit and still kind of going in a straight line.
I made it back to shore and as I walked back to the other Evo’s getting changed Phil announced to everybody for my first lake swim I had just done 200 metres. Everybody cheered and it was then announced that they had made this for me and Phil presented me with an Evo cap with my name on. I felt even more part of this crazy tribe I had joined and was ready to join Rich’s group for lake swimming technique and work towards my first event.