Archive | October, 2018

Bribie Triathlon Series 2018/2019 Race One.

21 Oct

So you’re not racing on Sunday, are you? Was Dave’s rhetorical question as we left the Emergency Department at 9pm on Friday night… My ear ache had been getting progressively worse and I decided after work that I needed to get it seen (and couldn’t get into my GP until Monday morning).  I insisted to the ED staff that I knew I wasn’t a priority and I knew I’d be triaged appropriately and I would wait. I left after a couple of hours, armed with strong analgesia, two types of antibiotics, two types of steroids and an ear wick in – to return in the morning to have it removed (the ear wick is used when your ear canal is so swollen that getting the required drops in is difficult…). It was an outer ear infection and as such, my biggest concern was pain and pressure. I had no issues with vertigo or anything else. After 36hrs of analgesia, steroids and antibiotics it was improving significantly. I found some swimming ear plugs on Saturday and decided I was all good to start Sunday morning. (NB if you know you’re not going to like what the Dr tells you, then don’t mention to them that you’re going to race, and you’re all good 😉 )

So, here is where you find me, sitting down to write a race report on an interesting day out.  I had elected to do the “long” course – a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run (Sprint Distance at most other events).  Something well within my ability to finish even with the limited training I’ve done of late.  I had the car packed last night so was able to get up at 4.15am and make the trip to Bribie. The radar was showing a little bit of a rain front and it rained on and off the whole trip (about an hour) so I wasn’t sure what the day was going to hold.

After setting up transition I headed to the start line. Having done a few triathlons now, there are a few more faces I recognise, and friendly smiles and hello’s are the currency.  It was great to catch up with many of these people. At the start line, I put my ear plugs in and then followed the other girls in my wave – after all, now my ears were blocked and things became a little difficult to hear.  While waiting for our wave start we watched a dugong make its way south in the water – I’m pleased I saw it when I was on the shore and not mid swim!!  I made sure I pulled the cap as low as I could, covering my ear completely. The cap put a bit of pressure on my ear (and the plug in it) but I thought it was all good, I could put up with it for the 15 mins or less it should take me to do the 750m tide assisted swim and get out the water – and at least this way my ear would remain dry and safe.  Once in the water though we found a few extra friends.  Jellyfish. Blue Blubber Jellyfish. Hundreds of them. If you put your face in the water you could see them… in mass proportion. Interestingly a group of jellyfish is sometimes known as a smack – which is a perfectly good descriptor for them today!  Anyway I digress… back to the swim…

Only a few hundred metres into the swim, amidst screams and cursing of my fellow wave starters, as I looked up to sight I noticed one of my friends didn’t look to be enjoying herself… At. All.  She had turned over onto her back and looked terrified. I yelled out to ask if she was okay and she quickly responded no! As I started to make my way towards her I was also waving to the surf rescue team for their assistance. She let me know she didn’t need them and was going to keep going.  While some swimmers carried on through with no regard for the stings, others found the going very tough.  I did not overly enjoy it (NB: understatement).  For the remainder of the swim (about 600m!!) I stayed with my friend. She on her back kicking, me doing a head out of water breaststroke. There were many times when quitting was considered, but I really hate quitting. There were many times when I would see another wave of jellies coming, and advise my buddy to put her arms up such as to try and avoid the stings. I sighted for her to help her stay on course. Keeping my head out of the water for a majority of the swim was probably not the stupidest thing for me to do either. It may have taken us about 18 minutes to do the 750m but we did not quit. I gave her a running commentary about how far we had to go, how on track we were, and where the exit was. When we reached the final turning buoy we both immediately transitioned to freestyle to get the heck out of there.  We both exited the swim, covered in welts from stings, and were greeted with bags of ice being handed out by event officials for our stings.  We walked to our bikes in transition, and then it was time for phase two.

Transition for me is never the fastest. Today was no different, and to be honest, I wasn’t in a hurry. There was no way this was going to be an amazing race for me, but I was out to start and to finish, to practice for a fortnight when I race in Noosa.  I’m digressing again…

The bike.  20km, a two lap technical course. There are lots of corners to navigate, with only a few short straights.  I don’t have all that much to report about the bike leg. I focused initially on trying to keep my cadence up, but mostly I just wanted to go out and go for a ride. Nothing too exciting. No particular plan.  5km into my ride I rounded a corner to find a problem.  Just prior to my appearance a cyclist had run into a parked trailer.  I could see how it could happen (and the next time around the corner the trailer had been moved up onto the curb). Another triathlete was on the scene but I also stopped to see if there was anything I could do. He was pretty cranky with himself for running into it – particularly given he was pretty beat up. He had hit his head and shoulder hard, and was suggesting that his left collarbone/shoulder was where his biggest problem was.  He had sensation in his hand and was alert and orientated. When officials arrived on scene and were calling for medical aid, they suggested we continue with our race, after all there was little that we could do. If he was unconscious I would not have left until there was a medic on the scene. The second trip around paramedics were now on scene too and I kept pedalling past.  Official results have me about a 50 minute ride time for the bike leg, though given my garmin auto paused when I stopped, I have it a bit faster… (about 42 minutes). But official results don’t lie.

Time to go from bike to run. Always a quicker transition for me, it’s simply a shoe swap and a helmet/hat swap and time to go. It was starting to heat up by the time I got out to run (about 30 degrees). The run course is where you can start to cheer on friends as you do laps. This race was only two laps. I saw the lead girls in my wave – running really well and they were about a lap up on me. Ah well, time to just keep going if I can. My strategy on any triathlon run leg is to walk the water stations.  This gives me a chance to reset each time, take on some water without inhaling it, and then go again. This strategy served me pretty well today too.  Unfortunately coming back on the last lap the water station was packed up/out of water, so I headed for the water fountain I’d seen on route, only to find that it too was useless. Ah well, only about 1km to the end so I’d just get water when I was done. Certainly not my fastest run, but I was happy enough with it.

I finally crossed the line some 1hr 43 minutes after starting. Probably close to one of my worst sprint distance triathlons 😉 but today was not about coming first (which is a good thing when you come last in every discipline, last in your wave, 143th female (out of 147) and 365th overall (out of 373) 🙂 But again, it is better than being on the couch, and I am completely okay with that.

I would discover on chatting with others at the end of the race that many heard and saw my mate and I swimming together, and that others appreciated the relatively calm chatter I provided (dispersed with occasional cries of yuck, ugh, and whatever other noises I may have made as I touched or was touched by stinging jellyfish).

Not every triathlon is about trying to podium. Sometimes it’s just as rewarding to make sure that no-one struggles alone.