*** many thanks to Brett Taylor for this race report.  This follows on from his excellent blog post about his pre-race build-up ***

My First Olympic Triathlon

So after my 15 days training I was ready to tackle Yas, I had my three hours goal set, my borrowed bike (females, medium) and my newly improvised quick laces...Oh and a water bottle for the bike.

I couldn’t wait to get started; I was surprised at how long the transition area was, and faced my first decision of the day. Do I try and rack my bike closer to the start of the transition or the end? I went with closer to the start to save me time looking for it. Plus I cycle in my running shoes so I have no issues running with the bike. I looked around at everyone doing, well whatever they were doing, stuck my trainers and t-shirt down, GPS on the bike then set off looking for where the swim starts from.

Decision two, someone offered me one of those gel things to have before the race saying I would need the energy, as I haven’t had one before I thought best not introduce it to my body on the way to the start. I’m glad I didn’t as my friend did say yes, and said he felt sick for most of the swim.

Heading to the start I noticed again that everyone was in wetsuits, the sun was shining I though who needs it. I changed my mind after dipping my toes in the water, but once I jumped in and swam to the start it was fine. I decided to stay on the outside and find my own space to swim; I didn’t fancy anyone using my back as a raft again. I set off at a steady pace and soon realised I couldn’t see anything more than two meters away, I thought I would just aim for the person in front and try to reel them in. I thought after a few mins about when I last swam this far in open water, and I must have spent the rest of the swim concluding it was a very long time ago. I saw a hand come down the steps for me to help me up, as soon as I said I was ok my ‘Bambi’ legs gave a little wobble and I thought ‘AH’. I managed to get going and passed someone wrestling with their wetsuit, after wrestling with my t-shirt again, I thought I was glad I didn’t bother with socks.

I know my bike is very weak, after only being on a road bike a handful of times, but I was determined to at least put up a small fight. I didn’t, I got lapped by everyone out there apart from my friend who I managed to hunt down after two laps. Amazingly the guy who stopped for a chat at 2XU came flying by and gave me the thumbs up. On my final lap I saw I would break my 90min aim which gave me cause to smile. I must say it was a lot better having my GPS with me, although I wasn’t pacing myself I was simply going as fast as possible (not that fast), it gave me something to think about as I went round.

I used my tried and tested method of getting my legs ready for the run and entered the transition area. During the bike phase I had noticed my trainers weren’t all that tight, I was wondering how they would be for the run, this led to decision three, do I stop and waste probably 2 seconds tightening them, or do I get going on the run.  I tightened them and got going, at first I thought if I would be able to do the 10km, as it was the first time I had strung all these disciplines together (at that distance). But once I got into my ‘groove’ I found I was ok and slowly picking people off one by one.  Towards the end I saw a few walkers which pushed me on, but around the 8km mark I found I couldn’t maintain my pace, and where I chucked water on myself to cool me down, now seemed a bad idea, as I got pretty cold in the wind. After spending the next kilometre thinking about this, I put it down to my massive breakfast of oats I had at about 9am that morning. With my body running on empty I got greeted by a nice rendition of ‘always look on the bright side of life’ by a group of people situated near a bar.

A nice high five on the finish line and a dry pink t-shirt to greet me and it was all over. I checked my watch and saw I beat my target by almost 20mins, but didn’t want get too excited until the official times came through. I loved the venue and will definitely be racing there again next year, and once I get my biking together (and an actual bike) I can’t wait to ‘up’ the distance.