When I signed up to the AJ Bell London Triathlon 6 months ago, I was optimistic that I'd learn how to become a strong swimmer, a good cyclist and a better runner, but just three days prior, I suddenly realised that maybe I had been overly optimistic. After all, I'd never done a triathlon before and I'd only had one swimming session, hadn't practised cycling and I was purely counting on the fact that I'm already a confident long distance runner to get me over the finish line. Luckily the penny dropped that maybe I wasn't going to survive the three triathlon disciplines of a swim, bike and run safely without a little help from my friends.
Enter exhibit, Dream Team made up of Hayley and Adrienne, two of the most inspiring and empowering women I have the fortune of knowing. Together, we took part in the AJ Bell Triathlon Olympic Relay and they ensured me that we would cross the finish line happily, safely and together by taking on a leg of the race each.
Hayley has completed several triathlon's before and took on the 1.5K swim before passing on the baton to triathlon first timer little ol' me, who endured a 40K cycle, before Adrienne brought it home for us after a 10K run in the sweltering heat. I couldn't have been more proud to be part of this team but if it's your first time doing a triathlon, here's a few things you ought to know.
1) Arrive there with loads of time to spare.
With over 15,000 people entering the race, it may take you a long time to find out where you're going and what you're doing. In fact...it definitely will. (At least 2 hours).
2) There are zero water stations.
I set off on a 25 mile cycle in the sun without a bottle of water expecting a pit stop for a water break. Rookie mistake.
3) You need to count your own laps.
Shout out to the geezer who I bellowed at 30 minutes into the race to tell me how much longer I had to cycle for. Life saver.
4) You may want to learn how to use your bike!
I totally cycled 40K in the wrong gear which was (leg-sapping) fun.
5) Remember to have fun!
Despite our lack of race preparation we soaked up the incredible atmosphere, took full advantage of the free post race protein bars and massage stations, captured the breath tacking views of London's Victoria Docks and most importantly, completed the race. We wore our medals with pride and even met Sporty Spice! It was a great day out.
It just goes to show the incredible achievements we can make together by cheering each other along. In fact we have all been inspired to actually train hard to enter the triathlon next year to accomplish all three disciplines individually so watch this space.
Congratulations to everyone who completed their triathlon and good luck to everyone partaking in The AJ Bell London Tri today. You will have a blast.
Find out how you can partake in the AJ Bell Triathlon by clicking here.