It didn’t matter that I came last. It didn’t even matter that by the time I finished the race organisers had finished up and I had to get my own souvenir towel and take my transponder off. What mattered to me is that I had a sensational race at Takapuna on Sunday for my second ever sprint triathlon!
I had been hoping for a much better race than at Kinloch two weeks previously. I know the Takapuna course well – I grew up in Takapuna, I learnt to swim at Takapuna Beach, I did the short distance there last year and the transition is even behind my old office building! As a result, I knew exactly what to expect, where the problem areas might be and how I would run the race. We even had a good trip up to Auckland on Thursday with the boys so I was in a really positive frame of mind.
That all changed, however, as I watched the Mens sprint distance race before mine. Firstly, most of them were wearing wetsuits, whereas I hadn’t even brought mine up from Rotorua. The sea water is so much warmer than the Rotorua lakes – and its even warmer than usual so I didn’t think anyone would be wearing a suit! And then I watched the men race around the very tight cycle course – with more than a few nasty spills. I had run the short distance last year, but I didn’t remember the course being so fast or so tight. I turned to Mike.
“I think I’m too slow for this event, I’m going to get in people’s way.”
“No you won’t,” he reassured me. “You’ve done the training, you’re really fit and you know the course. You’ll be fine once you’re on it.”
I then proceeded to work myself into a complete state – completely unnecessarily as it turns out.
I finally headed into the water – without my wetsuit – for a quick splash before the briefing.
Fantastic. The water felt amazing, my stroke felt amazing. Everything changed.
“Its going to be just fine,” I said to Mike before heading to the start line. And it was, right from the gun.
It was a very busy start, with people swimming all over and around me. But having done my open water swim course I was ready for that. I got to the first buoy in no time and feeling great. The second buoy down I was heading for the Shore. A great swim!
The walk/run from the beach to transition is nasty – up a very steep hill. I took my time, knowing I’d need my legs on the bike. I arrived in transition to find myself far from the end of the swim group – there were still plenty of bikes on the rack. I reached my bike to find someone sitting on my towel and gear while she changed shoes! Unbelievable, a few choice words were said under my breath!
I quickly pulled on my bike shoes and helmet, unracked the bike and headed for the mount line. I was about to face the bit I had been having nightmares about – clipping in on a slight rise. I have honestly been lying awake at night dreading this part of the race. After just one false start I was off and away and out on the main part of the course.
The bike/run course for Takapuna is a very tight 1.6km loop around the streets of Takapuna. Its also draft legal and it was a completely different experience watching people tuck in behind others as they made their way around the course. Counting your laps is vital in this race – some of the elite racers got into trouble last year and I was determined not to make the same mistake. I started my bike computer as soon as I got underway, and decided I wouldn’t even bother counting but measure the distance instead. Just as well I did, on one loop I asked Mike how many I’d done, and we both thought I had two to go. I was just finishing the second and realised I was still another 1.6km short – around I went again. I noticed quite a few people coming off the bike much earlier than I thought they should – I had passed quite a few people and I’m sure they should have been out there for a bit longer. At least I know my race was honest.
The other amazing thing about this course is that its fantastic for spectators because you loop the course so many times. I had a fantastic support crew which amazing everytime I came around. It really kept me going and I felt like I was whizzing along. Thanks everyone – and Mum for looking after the kids while we were out there too!
Came into transition – successfully getting out of my clips – and headed out on the run. I knew I’d passed quite a few people on the bike, but I knew they would pass me on the run. It was around 28 degrees and quite a difficult run course with lots of long uphills. I knew it would be hard work and it was. But I felt pretty good and knew I could sustain my steady, slow pace.
I finally came home in 1h33 and I was absolutely stoked. It was a sensational swim, great ride and acceptable run in intense heat. Very very happy.
Swim +T1 14:16
Bike +T2 40:51
Finish 1:33:07 (once again, if I hadn’t stopped for a toilet stop I would have gone under 1h30! A goal for next time!)