Husky Long Course Triathlon Festival
Huskisson, Jervis Bay NSW Australia
First Triathlon complete! Crossing the finish line with my name being announced seemed surreal. It was one of those moments where you see the world moving at a faster pace while you are in slow motion. As I came to a stop at the edge of the finisher’s mat a guy was huddled by my ankles taking my timing chip off, I somehow remember to stop my watch. I then hear the familiar whistle over the noise, commotion and announcer cheering on the finishers – I look over and see J beaming & waving with his camera. In that moment I thought “oh man, I’m doing this again.”
The past two weeks I’ve been battling a cold/flu and an awful case of tonsillitis. With about 5 or so days’ worth of penicillin in me, I decided as long as I felt ok I should give it a go. I knew if I didn’t at least attempt the race I would have regrets, plus I had already paid for the accommodation and the race! As the race was about 3.5 hours from home I had plenty of planning and checklist making to do before we drove down. After loading up the car with all my racing gear, snorkelling gear for post-race swim in Jervis Bay and fishing gear for J’s brother we headed out of Sydney. Anyone who lives in Sydney knows the pain of trying to get out of the city on a Friday evening especially when your destination is the South Coast. I had my (new) cooler bag packed full of snacks and a charged phone ready to chill out in the back seat for the long slow drive.
We stayed at the Palm Beach Caravan Park in Palm Beach which was about a 15 minute drive from Huskisson. A great little cabin ensuite with a comfy bed, hot shower and kitchen – everything I needed pre-race! Though I was on site less than 12 hours I was pleased with the late key pick-up, location and check out.
The rain started about midnight and was still coming down light and steady when we woke up at 6:30. I focused on having a stress free morning with a hot shower, bowl of weetbix + banana and double checking my transition bag. Checking in was a breeze – I was there right after the men’s race had started so there were no lines for packet pick-up or transition area. Once I was set up and covered my shoes with my spare towel (so happy I was over prepared) I had about an hour before the start. Just enough time to fill up with butterflies and have a warm up swim with the team! This was also when the rain stopped and clouds started parting hinting at the gorgeous day ahead.
Going into this race the swim was the leg I was most nervous about. Though I had swam much further in training, horror stories from the start line and overall first race nerves kept my thoughts busy. I did a warm up swim with the team which eased my nerves and assisted in swimming away the jitters. This was a deep water start and I was in the second wave so shortly after swimming out to the start line, the horn went off and the lime green capped age groupers were swimming. I kept to the right side of the pack and kept thinking “slow and steady” with each stroke. I had a few mouthfuls of water within the first 200 meters but once I hit the first buoy I was feeling good. I reached the second buoy quickly and then realized I was already on the stretch back. I was swimming stroke for stroke with other green capper so I made it my mission to beat her to shore! I was convinced we were the last two in our age group and I had to beat at least one person! As I ran up the beach toward T1, I heard J call my name and got a quick thumbs up and smile in.
Swim time: 18:54
Transition 1: 5:54
I’m not sure if it was the high of finishing my swim feeling great or I lost all sense of time but I spent an outrageous amount of time in T1. In my next race I will know not to assist the girl next to me when she is stuck trying to put on a sports bra wet!
My plan for the cycle was to stay steady and not push too hard. I was nervous of slick roads from the rain and pushing too hard while on antibiotics. The course was a fairly flat out and back ride. I saw J right as I started the ride and then again at then as I came back into town. Right after leaving town I dropped my water bottle which hit my wheel and shot out to the ditch. I spent the next 15 km stressing about the bottle. I was worried that it would be considered littering and I could get penalized or if I didn’t get it on my way back in J would be slightly aggravated since it was his new camelback! After the turn I focused on keeping my eyes open for the bottle which made the time go so fast but at the same time I think kept me from pushing myself faster. In the end I found the bottle and safely made it back for the final transition without a crash or flat tire!
Transition 2: 3:23
This one was a blur and I changed my socks and shoes, a few bites of my almond & date bar and a couple drinks of my water.
The run was also an out and back course along a running path. They had 2 water stations set up so we had 4 opportunities for water and some sort of energy drink. I stuck to the water and used the water stations as my walk breaks primarily because I am horrible at drinking water from cups while running! The run is where I finally started passing people. I knew I was far into the pack as I saw a few from my team who started a few waves behind me. As I came around the corner towards the finishing line I heard my team cheer and then heard my name called as I sprinted toward the finish.
This was a great first race as it was well organized with fantastic volunteers. I’m quite happy with my time though it is on the slower side. Having a slow first race means next race I should PR!
Any others out there who had to help a stranger into a sport’s bra in the middle of a race?