On the Saturday of Fresher’s, right after the Fresher’s Meet & Greet Social, Hannah, Claire & myself started the 3 & ½ hour drive up to my house in the Highlands. We’d been planning this race for a while, and being seasoned EUTri-ers (me being about to start my 3rd year in the club), it was about time we all completed our first full triathlon!
We had targeted the Grantown Try-a-Tri as it’s great for first time triathletes – a nice scenic route with not too long distances (300m swim, 10mile road bike, and a 5km trail run). It proved to be a typically Scottish event, with a free box of shortbread with registration, followed by a race briefing warning us of possible sheep roaming on the country roads. We were unusually lucky with the weather, and it was a beautifully sunny day in the Highlands.
The event began with the relay teams starting off the race, so we had a nervous 2 hour wait until our swim heat was up. We spent this time drawing on race numbers, and neatly laying out our transition area, including putting talc in our socks & shoes (thanks for the tip Yvonne!).
But before I knew it, it was time for me to jump in the pool for my swim heat. I wished Hannah & Claire good luck in their heat (which was up after mine), and reluctantly slid into the pool. Over the next 7 minutes splashed my way up and down the pool until I finally saw the ‘2 lengths to go sign’, breathed a sigh of relief, and eventually clambered out of the pool.
Delighted to have the swim out of the way, I jogged along to transition eager to get onto the bike. Transition was a bit of a blur – having my tri-suit on helped save me some time, but I still had to remember to get everything else on before I headed off (socks, bike shoes, glasses, helmet etc.). However, once I was on my way I felt great! The roads were basically empty, apart from the race vehicle passing by every now and then to check for punctures. The route went through some beautiful Highland countryside, and I only wished I had a camera to take a snap of the lovely sunny day. The next hill snapped me back into reality though, and I realized I had to stop thinking about the view, and start dragging myself round the course. Just as I was starting to get into the rhythm of the bike, I noticed my dad & my dog (Millie) by the side of the road and realized I was almost back at the transition!
My mind went to my next changeover as I planned everything I needed to do – most importantly unclip my pedals before I came to a stop! My mum was ready with her camera to document my transition, and after a quick check with her that I hadn’t forgotten anything (and had definitely taken off my helmet), I set off on the 5km run…
I had heard stories of how stiff your legs get after the cycle, and how horrible it is trying to run, but was sure it couldn’t be as bad as they said it was – It is.
My legs immediately tightened up, threatening to strike at the prospect of a 5km run. I struggled through the first mile just trying to get into a decent pace, but as the run went on, the forest track and winding path acted as a good distraction. A cheery marshall encouraged me up the steep hill, claiming I was almost over the ‘worst part’. As I approached the junction there were other runners coming towards me about to start their loop round the woods, including my soon-to-be aunt, who got a quick wave before I struggled off towards the last wee section of the run.
As soon as the finish was in sight, I got one last surge of energy and even managed a sprint finish over the line. My mum, dad, uncle & dog were all there to congratulate me on finishing my first triathlon and it wasn’t long before Claire & Hannah crossed the line too. The girls had both achieved amazing times, and mine wasn’t too shabby for a first triathlon either!
We were delighted with our post race goody-bag (including the renowned flapjack, which lived up to expectations!), and chuffed to get a print out of our race time, including each section of the race & transitions.
After packing up the car we decided not to stick around for the prize giving, and cracked on with the drive up the A9. However, we found out a few days later that our very own Claire, had actually bagged 2nd women overall!! So we’ll never again shoot off before a prize giving, just in case!
We all had a great day and thoroughly enjoyed our first triathlon! I’d definitely recommend the race to any other first-timers, as it has a lovely relaxed feel. I think I’ve well and truly caught the tri-bug, and I’m already looking forward to my next race!!