Last Sunday Rhalou joined over 1,000 eager ladies at Eton Dorney Lake for her first triathlon.
Designed with women of all abilities in mind, The Shock Absorber WomenOnly Triathlon was a friendly, fun and accessible event and the perfect setting for beginner triathletes like me.
My friend Susie and I entered the Super Sprint on a whim earlier in the year and when race day rolled around, admittedly I had my doubts. As a runner, I’m used to throwing on my trainers and dashing out the door. The idea of changing kit twice in one event seemed like a massive faff. Despite booking several coaching sessions with www.swimfortri.co.uk, I also had reservations about my ability to stay afloat.
Come race day my fears were swiftly allayed. With triathlons of all distances, the waves were well underway by the time we arrived. But despite the obvious determination of our fellow competitors, due in part to the female only field (sorry boys) the event had a noticeably relaxed atmosphere and everyone appeared to be taking it in their stride.
In the race village, the marshals were friendly and informative and not in the least bit fazed by my barrage of inane questions. Everyone was supportive and encouraging and despite the size of the event, we also didn’t once have to queue, which added to the laid back ambiance. After collecting my race number, dropping my bike off in the transition zone and waving goodbye to Susie who was in the next wave, it was time to hit the water.
As expected, I panicked after submerging my face in the murky lake and struggled with the swim. Having decided to go with just a tri suit, I also lost the buoyancy that a wetsuit would have provided and spent most of it convinced I was going to drown. After settling for a semi doggy paddle, I was pleased not to be last out of the water, but my confidence had taken a beating and I finished the 400m swim in 12:29.
Next up was the bike section. After spending too much time in transition (guess which rookie forgot to bring a towel) I set off and my confidence instantly returned. Many of my fellow competitors had much fancier bikes, but they were no match for my determination. I may have been riding a rickety hybrid, but I circumnavigated the lake four times in 56:55 with relative ease and quickly felt like I made up for the shoddy swim.
For the final stretch I finally found my feet and loved every minute of the 5K run. I even got the chance to high five my friends and watch Susie sprint past me to claim her spot as seventh overall, which was a great boost. At 28:55 my run wasn’t a PB, but a respectable time considering the heat and the perfect end to a great day out. I highly recommend the The Shock Absorber WomenOnly Triathlon for novice triathletes, PB chasers or girls looking for a fun day out.