Never give up, a maxim and principle that applies for Project Management the same way then it applies to Triathlon. Never stop swimming, Never stop pushing on the bike and Never start walking during the run vs. Never stop communicating, Never stop managing, Never stop controlling, Never stop encouraging and motivating your team, Never stop learning from your lessons … and you go on almost forever.
Therefore I had to go through that challenge again, attending and finishing a Triathlon, like I did 12 years ago with the last one I attended. Go through all the training and preparation prior to the event, feel the pain during the event, and go through the emotions after you cross the finish line.
And all this happened yesterday, Noosa Triathlon, an event I have trained for the last 3 month with some ambitious targets to meet.
Rob, a mate of mine that I was training and sharing the same sportive ideals and myself arrived on Saturday with the families, register, rack the bike in the transition zone and spend some time with the family.
Sunday morning at 04:45 the alarm went of and it was just another 2 1/2 hours to the start (07:11am for me and 08:03 for Rob). Getting the gear ready, leaving the house in time, getting into the transition zone, preparing the bike and shoes and other gear that is important to successfully transition from swim to bike to run. The start was getting closer and closer and the focus became stronger and stronger.
Rob’s Wave started around an hour later than mine did so he had to waste some time in between. What he did? I do not know.
06:30am – Start of the Elite team, best Males and Females (two waves)
06:30am to 07:06am – many other waves / starts (different age groups)
07:11am– TJ, deep water start, the horn went off and the field of about 150 people started full steam towards the first red buoy and around an island, up the canal and back. Fortunately we did a rehearsal on Saturday, one day before the main event, with Dan’s Squad Team, therefore I knew what was ahead of us. Lots of salt water and current towards the end. Had some respect prior to that discipline but felt quite comfortable. Swallowed some water along the way, swam over some pink caps (wave started before us) and struggled to find the way swimming against the sun. The landmark came in sight and I swam until my arms touched the ground (great advice by Dan) and ran out of the water. 27min and 28sec.
07:38am – Finding the bike in the transition zone became a challenge, but it was well marked and the athletes have been guided very well along the way. Another advantage is that my bike is probably one of the tallest and with the Syntace Gripshift bars one of the ones that is quite visible. Found it, sunnies on, helmet on before touching the bike (otherwise you get disqualified), get into the shoes, sucking down a liqid gel for some additional energy and off you run towards the exit. For me it took around a minute, for the elite’s its probably less than 10 seconds.
07:40am – on the bike track, 40 Kilometres through undulating terrain, facing a 3 kilometre hill after 10. I was able to push (for my perception) right from the beginning. However, you get passed by really fast ones, doing 40ks and more by average with their bike. My target was like more than 30k’s per average for the whole distance. After 10Ks I approached the hill, a 14 turn steady wind up through a forest. Not too steep and therefore I was able to overtake a couple of others and maintain 20Ks on average. 14 turns, well marked, because it’s a race track, and another 500 meters until you reach the top (great advice by somebody out of Dan’s Team. Thanks) and from there it’s almost flat with a major downhill area where I made more than 80Ks by average. After 20Ks I sucked another liquid gell and try to push hard against the wind. The transition zone was coming closer as you could hear the commentators. 01hour 18min and 47 sec.
08:57am – back into the transition zone, the challenge I was facing to dismount from the bike quickly by opening the shoes well in advance and hope of the bike after the yellow signs. I did almost fell as I couldn’t get my leg over the saddle. Running into the transition zone barefoot again everybody had to face the challenge to find the spot again, just by the towel everybody puts on the floor to place the gear. Found it, helmet off, get into the shoes, sucked another Gel, drink a drink and off you again facing the 10Ks running.
09:02am– 1K into the run I head one of the commentators say “These are going to be long 10Ks, because yadee yadee yadee” and I thought to myself that these 10Ks will be as long as any other 10Ks. 10Ks are 10Ks are 10Ks if they haven’t changed the metric system overnight. How ever, they could feel far longer and you might need more time. 3 Ks into the run 7Ks to go, I realised that I was able to maintain my pace but it was still hard to get into the rhythm as your heart rate was much higher than usual as I was in the game for than 2 hours already. Luckily they had Kilometre markers on the side and you could measure how you were doing. I had a lot of water and try to stay cool by pouring water over me every K or so. The finish line came closer and closer. However, the last Kilometer was longer for whatever reason. I was running as hard as I could to get below the finish time from Rob last year 02:37:something.
09:47am – going over the finish line was one of the best feelings I had in sportive events for years. The emotions just took over. After all the effort I put in over the last 3 month to finish this event without giving up, without breaststrokes during the swim, by pushing the whole bike track, and not walking during the run. And there I was, 10 Meters behind the finish line. The happiest man. The last Triathlon I did was 12 years ago and I never thought I would do it again. Thanks Rob, for that experience and for talking me into that. 49min and 47sec.
TJ, 903 out of 2301 that finished, 39.24%
(Ageclass 35-39), 166 out of 336 that finished, 49.04%
Swim – 27:28 – 746 out of 2301
Bike – 1:18:47 – 1169 out of 2301
Run – 49:47 – 885 out of 2301
Rob, 852 out of 2301 that finished (well done), 37.03%
Ageclass 45 – 49, 64 out of 183 that finished, 34.97%
Swim – 27:39 – 782 out of 2301
Bike – 1:17:11 – 1007 out of 2301
Run – 50:13 – 942 out of 2301
Another VB colleque attended, James Johnson, and he smashed both of us.
Swim: 25:51 – Bike: 01:17:35 – Run: 50:00 – Finish: 02:33:36 (Well Done, James)