I felt sick to the core and was petrified to be doing this triathlon. I have no clue why triathlons scare me so much. Each of the three components I love, put them all together and I am a jibbering mess. The Snowman triathlon probably was not the best triathlon for my first for thirty4thirty however the lovely people at Aim High Events wanted to support my year of challenges and gave me two free places on two of their events. What legends.
The start of the race felt quite civilised compared to some of the others. My start time wasn't until 8:35am. I had to get my bike into transition by 8:15am but other than that a lie-in considering we parked the camper in a field down the road!
It was such a beautiful day and it didn't feel to hot; there was a slight breeze and clouds in the sky. When I arrived at Plas-Y-Brenin for the start and to organise my transition area the Legend triathlon (Half Iron-Man distance) had already set off and I was able to see them in the water. The view was spectacular, the lake is nestled below snowdon and the whole of the Snowdon horseshoe was in view.
I managed to have another cup of tea and a banana whilst I waited for my start wave. There was a compulsory briefing at 8am; I was ready in my wetsuit and just wanted to get started. Already I had somehow managed to lose my Glide (a lubricant that helps take of wetsuits and stops rubbing), It seriously disappeared and confused me for ages. I never solved the case of the missing lube!
Everyone was pretty friendly in the transition area and I managed to chat to a few people about what I was doing this year. Most people had done the Snowman triathlon before and were experienced in multiple triathlons. People wished me lots of luck. This may have been a bad sign as to how hard it was going to be!
I just kept thinking one step at a time. Go for a nice swim. Get on your bike, you love riding and then run up a mountain...no worries. The first swim wave went off, my green wave then got into the water. It was surprisingly warm and muddy. A very different feel from the sea swimming I have been doing. I tried to scuttle around and give myself some room before the horn blew. Five, Four, Three, Two, One. We were off, luckily I didn't get kicked in the face but we all bunched up together and my arms and legs were impeded by others arms and legs. I was trying my best not to panic and focus. I had to get into a rhythm, at first I had to do 50 front crawl strokes and then breast stroke for a short time to relax and give myself some room. At the 500m half way point I was starting to enjoy it and felt a rhythm, I also realised I wasn't at the back which I assumed I would be. I think I should be a faster swimmer but I am just so slow! When I got out of the water I felt I had done the best I could be realised it wouldn't be a great time for a 1000m swim. 24minutes.
Yay, now I was in my comfort zone, I get to go and ride my bike. As soon as I was on my bike my smile grew, I started to relax and I started to overtake all of the speedy swimmers. You are not allowed to draft on a triathlon but I decided to talk to everyone I overtook or people that overtook me. I realised it gives me strength and motivation to encourage others. We were all in the same amount of pain and were all doing the same race. During a triathlon everyone has their preferred discipline and mine is definitely on the bike. Snowdonia was showing all of its glory, it was truly beautiful, I could have been on my bike for ages. The 70km seemed to fly by, even the massive hills were a pleasure. Coming into Blaenau Ffestineog there was a water station, the marshals were really friendly and filled up my water bottle. It was hot out there and we were all getting through lots of water. The only thing that made my sad was that they didn't have any Jelly Babies for general moral. Oh well I had enough snacks to get me by. I was informed that there was a big hill to come; the hill was huge but that meant there was also a huge downhill; I reached my fastest ever speed on my bike of 48mph!!!!! It was amazing.
I was about 7miles from transition 2 and I had to remind myself that I couldn't be on my bike forever and I had a mountain to run up. I started to talk to my legs to get them ready. They didn't seem to impressed.
I felt ok at transition and didn't have the jelly legs everyone had mentioned. I was ready for the climb of 872m up Moel Siabod. All athletes ran for about 100m until it was realised the mountain was steep, really steep. It was quicker to power walk up than try to run. What is both depressing and inspiring at this stage were the runners already finishing the mountain phase and passing me to finish. I said well done to all of them and some of them wished me good luck back. What I tried to remember to motivate myself was that I will be the athlete just about to finish the mountain when people where still heading up. The mountain was hot, steep, very long and hard, my legs were screaming but I did not let myself stop. I reached the top, sadly ran out of water and then tried to run down the technical steep hill. This is where the jelly legs happened. I was over taken by a couple of ladies on the down, after a brief chat with them, both lived in the area and had practised the decent. This made me feel better, I tried to keep up but failed miserably, both of the ladies finished about 3minutes ahead of me. The mountain finished and there was about a mile to the end. I was willing my legs to run as fast as possible but to be honest I was really tired and wanted to finish with a smile on my face. This I did. I was so happy for it all to be over and to have finished this brutal and beautiful race.
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