The Ups and Downs of Ironman Training: Part 2 – Moving on Up

After the disaster of Saturday, the last thing I felt like doing on Sunday was racing.

This year, I’ve signed up to do some races with ATAC. It’s the first season for the club to be racing teams. The first race I would be competing in was a very strange team race in Arnhem. Teams of four would race 475m in the pool together – in one lane, drafting off the fastest swimmer (s). The second leg, drafting was again encouraged, with the four of us riding together. Here there was an option to drop one rider, because the craziest part of this triathlon was: only one time counted from each team: your third triathlete over the line in the run leg.

Now, miserable and mopey as I was from the day before, I did not want to be racing. Had it not been a team event, I was certain I would have pulled the covers up over my head when the alarm went off.

But I went, joined the other girls … and had a GREAT time!

Our swim went quite well, with our strongest swimmer, Lorna, leading the charge. I brought up the tail – as I explained to my team mates I have a lot of experience being the slowest swimmer in the fast lane at Team Nike Tri training, so I am well versed at throwing everything at it to stick to the end of a group.

We then headed onto the bike course. The four of us had practiced together the weekend before, so we were very orderly with our calls of “Rolling!” and keeping the line – especially in comparison to other teams, who were all over the road.

Now, anyone who has ever seen me at an event knows I absolutely love cheering people on. I get a lot of energy from it. As soon as I have crossed the line, I am back on the course screaming my lungs out. Even on the course, I am saying “good job” to people as they pass me, and “keep it up” as I pass others. So this event was actually perfect for me: I was cheering on my team mates throughout. At one stage, we came down a hill, made a 180 turn, and climbed back up. “Come on Ladies Speedzone!” (our affectionate name for a few of us girls who train together often) I shouted out, as we attacked the hill. This was met with a ripple of laughter, followed by some applause and cheering by the crowd.

The beauty of this was I was not thinking about myself, and how crap I am at cycling at all. I was riding with some strong girls, and doing my best to keep up – and succeeding.

All smiles
All smiles

Three of us finished together, so we headed to the run course. Since the focus was on the third person over the line, I took it upon myself to be a personal motivator for our third girl (she may say drill sergeant). We finished the race with huge smiles.

I rode strong, and I had fun. I’m back in the game!

The next day was even better: I managed a 75km ride, with a 24km run – despite everything my legs had gone through that weekend!


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