Sprinting down the finishing straight, we were neck and neck. We’d covered a 250M swim, 7KM bike and run 2.5KM and now we’re grinning like idiots, crossing the finish line and high fiving. We don’t share a common language, but there’s a knowing nod… the ‘I wouldn’t have run so hard if you hadn’t been there’ smile.
It’s what I love about sport, about endurance activities, about running is its ability to transcend ages, languages, nationalities and abilities. We’re all in it together.
Back at the beginning of the year I was invited over to Geneva by the race organisers and tourism office to take part in their half marathon and triathlon events.
After covering the Henley Classic 2.1KM in June, I knew I had the open water swimming covered, and the running I was fine with, however the bike section would be another issue.
Unlike my other triathlon (Blenheim Palace back in 2014), this swim started on the lakeside platform, meaning we had to run into the water before claiming a bit of space to swim – it was a little manic. See the photo below of the guy taking a tumble on the shingle…that was right in front of me.
I decided to ease myself into the swim, counting to 10 before I started swimming with the idea of putting a bit of space between me and the uber competitive triathletes in our wave. With so many people trying to turn around the first buoy, it was a bit of a washing machine and I got kicked quite a few times. After having a minor freak out, I found some space and repeated over and over ‘you can do this, you can swim much further than this, just breathe‘ to myself, enjoyed the crystal clear water and before I knew it, the swim was over.
And much to my surprise there were still a lot of bikes still in transition area. The water was warm enough that we didn’t need wetsuits meaning that transition was really quick – just hat and goggles off, helmet and sunnies on, socks and trainers on then leg it to the start of the bike course.
I’d rented the bike that morning (after a rather worrying few moments where they didn’t have a bike for me!) and was glad that it all seemed to be working correctly – I would have had to walk with it if I’d got a flat! As usual on the bike I was overtaken A LOT. However, that just reinforced how strong I’d been during the swim. And surprisingly, I really enjoyed the bike section despite the 1KM uphill climb.
As I was coming in to the final stretch of the bike course, the winners were just crossing the finish line. Slightly depressing when I still had the whole run section to go!
Off the bike and into the run… I know why people practice brick sessions, I had full jelly legs. The run course was flat but didn’t have any shaded sections, so the water station was very welcome about halfway through. For such a short race, I didn’t take any fuel with me but loved the orange sections they had on offer!
With no watch on (left it at home but was secretly quite pleased not to know my pace on the bike or run!) I had no idea how I was doing in terms of timing but knew that I was finishing in a little group and therefore couldn’t be doing too badly.
Turns out I came 18th female in 40.38 but most importantly, I really enjoyed it!
I’ve talked a little about wanting to do an Ironman 70.3 one day, and actually I think I’m going to look into signing up to a race in Autumn of next year as I think next summer might be my last summer holidays ever…the perfect time to train!
Geneva is just an hour and a half flight from all major UK airports, and entry to the Super Sprint triathlon is about £35, whilst the longer Olympic distance costs £65.