Gullane Triathlon

Since making a rather hasty last minute entry to this, most triathletes I know have relished telling me the gory details of the jellyfish, the choppiness of the sea and the toughness of the run. I didn't need my alarm to wake me up for the 5.30am start. Turns out the nightmares were enough.

I've never been a great swimmer and memories of the vomit-inducing Aberfeldy last year, compounded by an utter lack of recent swim training and a wetsuit that's going the same way as my mountain marathon shoes meant my confidence wasn't high. Still, I applied some glue to the suit, some haribo to me and 9.07am saw me gaily sprinting into the sea with 100 other nutters. Immediate thoughts of sprinting back out were squashed and I threw myself into 'swim survival' mode: make for the buoys, take in as little water as possible (easier said than done in the waves) and try not to get kicked in the face by any rouge breaststroke swimmers.

The first lap went ok and I had to run up onto the beach, round the flagpole and back down to the water. I must have been so overjoyed at the prospect of being on land that I gave that wee sprint my Saturday best. 10s later, chest heaving and gasping for breath as I plunged into the water for lap 2, I realised it might have been better to save some breath for the swimming. Always quick to find a solution, I opened my mouth wide for a big breath of air and got a big mouthfall of salt water instead that burned the back of my throat and, well, made me gasp for a second breath of air which was also a lot wetter than I'd really wanted. This was the queue for much retching and coughing, with the kayakers starting to edge a bit closer. Could there really be anyone left in the water at this point? The waves were so big that I couldn't see them. So I got my head down and eventually the swim was over, I'd run up the beach, jumped in the paddling pool to wash my feet and was wriggling around transition like a loonie, trying to get the stupid wetsuit off.

More sweeties (this time to take away the taste of the water) and yippee, I was on my beloved bike for a great ride round the countryside south of Edinburgh. It's obviously a popular place for Edinburgh road club groups and there was loads of support along the way. 26miles is quite a good distance for the bike I think - long enough but not too long that it kills you for the run.

Everyone had told me how hard the run was, how steep the hills were but noone had mentioned the fabulous views. My theory of walking up the hills worked as I was generally going the same pace as most of the people around me who were bobbing up and down wasting energy (or double over at the top of the hill, gasping for air after sprinting up). I suspect walking up hills isn't really in the mentality of a real triathlete. So I'm quite glad I'm not one of those!! The run was good, though I'm not sure 10k is a great distance for me, I just can't go fast at all. But I enjoyed the race and was handed a beer on crossing the finish line.

And not a jellyfish in sight.
Maybe I'll need to find another triathlon to enter before the end of the year?


kate said…
good stuff! the thought of open water swimming with all those others absolutely terrifies me. what you need is a bigger longer triathlon. i don't know, maybe something involving ben nevis ;)

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