Sunday, 15 June 2014

Learning to complete a triathlon

I can't quite believe I'm finally at the stage of writing this blog post.  I am here to tell you of my triathlon journey.
 After going through a long drawn out ordeal with epilepsy I needed to focus my attention on something, so after being a triathlon spectator at so many of my partners races I decided to do one myself.  I had watched him at numerous but my favourite was Blenheim Triathlon, an event set in the grounds of the beautiful Blenheim palace.
I signed up and began to think about training. My first priority was swimming,  I use to love splashing about the pool when I was younger but I could now only barely do breaststroke.
I got in the pool and no joke I was absolutely clueless, I remember Nick trying to teach me and struggling to even reach the other side of the pool.  My arms were all over the place with my fishtailing all over the shop. I had started panicking that there was no way I'd get to do a few lengths front crawling, let alone managing a 750m open water swim!
Over the next few months we started using some  Speedo Training Aids in order to strength and give me aid to swim better.  We had paddles, flippers and a pool buoy.
Speedo Training Aids
The paddles attached to the hands and force your hands to enter the water flat and in the correct way.  This really helped me and caused me to keep my elbows lifted.

Pool Buoy was used in my least favourite training sessions but I knew it really helped! The pool buoy would be put between the legs, you weren't allowed to kick and just your arms were to do the work.  Every training session this would be thrown in!  This really helped in making my arms stronger and holding onto my core to keep my legs lifted.

Flippers were my favourite as at the end of each session I'd take a float and practise kicking!  I could splash which was an added bonus!  I can't stress enough of how much these training aids helped me get where I am now... without them I'd still be doing doggy paddle in the swimming pool!
Speedo Women's Tri Comp Full Wetsuit - £230.00
 With any training plan I seemed to hit a bit of lull where I felt I wasn't getting anywhere, but as I pushed on I couldn't quite believe how far I'd come... and how much I began to love swimming.  I did discover that swimming is actually in my family because my Grandad used to swim for the county, so maybe this is all an undiscovered talent I never knew I had that was genetic!
 It took me since November to about March time to really feel confident and from there I do feel I've only got better.  I won't lie the first time I did an open water swim session I was truly petrified, the water was so cold I had ice cream head and feet plus having nothing to hold onto all didn't help matters.
I got an amazing wetsuit from Speedo before my race and took it for a try, once I got out I realised actually how far I'd come.  I'd tried other wetsuits and they were okay but this wetsuit was amazing - it fit perfectly! I could actually confidently swim open water on my own and in front crawl all the way.  If you had asked me in November could I do that... I'd of laughed.
I could cycle and I could run which I just built on as the weeks went on, but I did have a running set back in December after dislocating a bone.  I managed to get my fitness up and only after running with a friend after my race did I discover how fit I'd become.
Speedo Women's LZR Racer - £75.00
Race day came around so quickly but I went in thinking I'd prepared as best I could.  I did feel diet wise I'd really slacked... what should of been a weight loss frenzy wasn't as I'd eaten more and not always the right stuff.  I know now I need to really reevaluate this if I do another.  On the day I was so nervous I couldn't sleep the night before, and being the one taking part and not watching was really weird!
Waiting to go in the water was horrible... butterflies filled my stomach as I joined everyone in my race wave.  I was one of the last to get in and when I did I knew there was no going back.  I decided for my first race to hover towards the back as I didn't fancy getting kicked, but once I got into the rhythm I could keep going happily.  One thing I would say is that throughout each three sections I held back as I didn't want to burn out, but looking back I could of pushed on harder.
Unfortunately I had some really bad bike issues which caused me to not do such a great time but I know I should be pleased I completed.  As Nick told me... Complete then compete.  He's so true and I'm already planning my next one! 
I customized my trisuit to add my blog logo, Epilepsy Research UK and Method Tri
Now I've finished I do feel a bit lost but I've already gone swimming because (can't believe I'm saying this) I miss it!

I am still taking any donations for my Justgiving page for Epilepsy Research UK

Have you tried anything like this before?  I still can't believe I've done it!

Annie
xoxo
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