Re-post and slightly amended from June 2016.
Like so may other stories, this started out as a love story. After attending a couple of triatlons with my boyfriend, I kind of wondered whether I could do that myself. Which in itself is totally ridiculous, cause I am one of the people who stops doing the exercises, once the trainer moves away.
Nevertheless I started to take weekly swim classes, got myself a race bike, upted my running, joined a bike club and totally fell in love with swimming and cycling. I lost the boyfriend on the way but that didn’t stop me.
6 months later I was ready for my first triathlon. It took place in Tulln in lower Austria, approximately 45 minutes outside of Vienna. The track is flat, 750 m swimming in a small lake, 16.3 k on the bike trough some small villages and 6k running along the river Danube.
My Mum moved to Tulln a couple of years back, which made it easier for me to get there a day early to get myself ready. Due to the lack of a car, the bike, the luggage and I took a train.
Being the good student that I am, I did everything my coach told me and went for a short run to activate my body. Afterwards I was supposed to test the open water and the wetsuit for a couple of minutes. I planned on getting my race information after getting the swim done, therefore stood in front of everyone when I tried to force my bum into the wetsuit. After 15 minutes I succeeded and went for a swim. And I loved it. I love swimming in a wetsuit and feel save doing so. Please keep that in mind for later in the story.
After eating two plates of Pasta, my Mum and I drove along the bike track in the car, so I could get to know it.
A glass of Prosecco and a crime show later, I was off to bed. Sleeping is obviously overrated, but in the end, I was able to get in a couple of hours.
The next morning I took the pre-packed box with all my stuff and my bike and went to check us in. After going for a short run (and I mean short cause I am exhausted after 5 minutes!), I wondered why no one had put on their wetsuit yet. Yes, you guessed right – the water was too warm. Wetsuits not allowed. Ahhhhhh.
I had set myself a couple of goals – “DNF is not an option” being an obvious one and: Don’t finish last. Don’t leave the water last. Try to do it in 1h 45 minutes.
I positioned myself at the end of the group and once we started swimming, panicked. I swallowed water, which had never disturbed me before and quickly started to do breast strokes. Also a first. But slowly I calmed myself down – now only nervous about the distance – and mixed up the crawl with some breast strokes.
A glance over my shoulder told me that there was one other swim cap behind me and I was determined that this would stay that way. There were two guys swimming in front of me and I remembered my coach telling me that there are always some slow people taking part as well.
Shortly before the end of the swim, I pushed myself and overtook the two guys. I am pretty sure the guys at the exit, who so helpfully cheered me on and simultaneously pulled me out of the water, have not seen many people grinning as widely as me before. 155 out of 158. 750 meters in 20 minutes, whereas I had planned on 22 minutes. Yeah!
My personal fans – the bestest ex-sister in law – and my Mum stood on the sideline and cheered me on, while I ran to transition zone.
I put my grassy feet into my bike shoes, put on my number and my helmet and raced up and down the hill to get to the start of the bike course. For the first time in my bike history, I clicked into the pedals without slipping and off I rode. At this point I would like to add that I love, love, love cycling. I enjoyed this ride so much and I am very lucky in a way that the streets were closed off and I was almost by myself, apart from the couple of people I overtook and the helpers who stood at the side of the road starring at their mobile phones. I knew that I had to make up some time here, as I would loose it again during the run. All too soon the ride was over. I came back to transition after 36 minutes (I had planned on 45) – so yeah again.
Into transition, out of the shoes, into the others, and off I went again. On the sideline I saw my coach who was ready to start the olympic race (which he also won) cheering me on. Knowing that running is my weakest discipline, I just planned on not stopping, not walking and just pushing it through. All the while I thought to myself: “I f*n hate running!!” and “where the f*ck is the turnaround??” Looking back at it now, it’s hard to remember how frustrated I was. I think that’s like giving birth, you forget the pain really fast…
After 3k a girl joined me and asked whether she could run with me, which is funny cause I never thought I’d be someones’ pacemaker at 7min/k 🙂
I nearly started crying with relief when I saw the 4 on the floor, and again – what felt like hours later – when I spotted the 5. There were some girls on the sideline who cheered us on and shouted “only 800 more meters, you are nearly there!” And I choked: “Another 800 meters??? Are you kidding me??”
The bestest sil and my Mum stood along the race course with the bestest signs and I took the other girls’ hand so we could go for a final sprint. Thank god she is a second behind me on the list or I would have been slighty mad…
Once I made it through the finish line, I was met by the bestest roomie from trainings camp, who was second in her age group. The emotion took over though when I hugged my sil and I wept like a baby.
Oh, btw – it took me 1hour 41 minutes. 4 minutes faster than my goal 😀
I think for me it was important to prove to myself that I can do it. I have since stopped the triathlon training, stopped swimming and cycling but do lots of strength training. Funnily enough the only thing I still do (but on an irregular basis) is running. Actually I only ever do races which I do really slow but having fun…