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WELLBEING


TRY A TRIATHLON


Triathlons are becoming increasingly popular, especially among 40-ish year olds, as Kate Miranda discovers


My general approach to life is to say ‘yes’ to everything, always try something new and set goals. Ninety per cent of the time things work out. The other ten per cent is disastrous. When a friend invited me to do a sprint triathlon with her I immediately said yes, even though I had never done a triathlon and could only just manage a 5km run. What was I thinking? I am a 39 year- old working mother of two with average fitness level and no spare time to train but apparently the likes of us are signing up in droves to do triathlons all around the country. Could this be the new mid-life crisis? In August, I signed up to do a sprint triathlon in The New Forest on 5 October.


I was beyond relieved to learn that a ‘sprint’ triathlon did not mean that I had to do it really, really fast – but that it was half the distance. My only goal was to complete the course: 750m swim, 20km bike ride and 5.5km run.


Training Regime Unfortunately, my training took a back seat to summer holidays in Asturias and Tuscany drinking wine and sampling local cuisine. Needless to say, this put a serious dent in my training regime. But with one month until the triathlon, I started to get serious. My weekly training regime consisted of: 3 x 6km runs, cycling to work three days a week, and on Saturdays I rode 22km then ran 6km.


Good Advice Step in the expert. I sought the advice of friend, T&L colleague and triathlon trainer (handy), Peter Gilbert who quickly became a trusted adviser of all things triathlon-related. Get good gear,


train hard and swim. The only bizarre piece of advice he gave me was to have fun!


Gear Up I went to Sigma Sport in Hampton Wick - a specialist bike, triathlon and sport shop with very knowledgeable staff. They completely kitted me out with a tri- suit, wetsuit, cleats, new bike shoes, bike service, shoe laces I didn’t need to tie and some sort of glide cream to help remove my wetsuit and improve my transition time!


Race Day With a serious case of pre-race anxiety, I only slept for three hours the night before. I rose at 5am and felt sick with nerves. My tri-partners were 41-year- old mother of three, Kat Edgecombe and musician James Thorpe. We piled into Kat’s VW camper in the pitch black and drove from the tiny village of Crawley, Hampshire to Buckler’s Hard in The New Forest.


I can’t remember ever feeling so nervous or so cold. It was six degrees celsius and I was standing barefoot on the frosted grass with numb feet and chattering teeth waiting to enter the water. Visibility was appalling. A low thick, fog had settled in


but our window was shortening, as the Beaulieu River is tidal. The swim is by far my strongest leg. Compared to racing in the Bondi surf, this was relatively easy despite not being able to see a thing. The 20km bike ride that followed was beautiful, through the undulating roads of The New Forest. However, it was freezing so when it came to transition to the run, my fingers were too numb to do up my shoelaces. The run was sheer hell. I plodded huffing and puffing every metre of the 5.5km. The last kilometre of the run was particularly painful but I kept reminding myself the pain would end once I crossed the finish line. It did, and was instantly replaced with a giant grin. I had completed my first sprint triathlon.


And the winner is… Certainly not me! But I was very surprised to learn that I had finished fifth overall and third in my age group of 25 women. A podium place in my first triathlon! Kat finished sixth and third in her age group, too. We are aiming to complete three sprint triathlons this year.


TOP TRAINING TIP


Richmond Park is an excellent training ground for a triathlon. Two laps of Richmond Park is a 22km cycle. There is also a marked 5km run (free group run every Saturday, www.parkrun.org. uk/richmond) and you can ride back to Putney Leisure Centre to swim. t&l


The 2015 triathlon season starts in April and there are plenty of events in the newforest www.racenewforest.co.uk


timeandleisure.co.uk . January 2015 . 27


TEST


YOUR LIMITS


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