*** Thanks to Doris Hazzan for this entertaining report ***

So, here’s some basic background information:

My first triathlon was a sprint distance in Al Ain. Loved it so much, I got addicted. My 8-kilos-heavier boyfriend at the time (now my husband) was on the side lines with a cigarette in one hand, and a camera in the other. I remember very distinctly that he called us all a bunch of crazies, and with the amount of lycra hugging trisuits at once, can you blame him?

A number of team efforts and individual triathlons later, we got married, moved house and signed up for the 70.3 in Luxembourg in June 2014. And now, we had just checked into our room at the Hilton, it was incredibly windy and I was feeling knots in my stomach about racing tomorrow – namely because I had not trained nearly as much as I should have. But at least I was racing alongside my husband, right?

To sum up the experience in a series of thoughts:

15 minutes before the race. Sh*t, is it too late to change my mind?

Is that Ramine’s head? I think so. Oops maybe not, Ram is wearing a short sleeve wetsuit.

I promised him I’d have this damn Gu shot but I already had a big breakfast and I really just can’t stomach it. He won’t know, it’s fine. Bury it under the sand for someone to find later.

Horn blowing. Stay in the back, remember? No point in – well, I guess even back here it feels like swimming in a washing machine.

Swim, swim, breathe. Where’s the buoy? That girl looks like she knows where she’s going. I’ll follow her.

Swim, swim breathe.

Goggles are fogging up already? Really?

Someone’s moving that buoy further away aren’t they? No, seriously, someone’s playing a joke right?

Am I the last one?

Swim, swim breathe.

Buoy.

Damnit, water in the goggles. Must.buy.a.new.pair.

Was that a blue swim cap that just went by me? HOW ARE THEY SO FAST?

I need to pee. Just pee, Doris it’s fine. Pee, DO IT!

Done. 35 mins. Hurry up, Ramine must be waiting for you.

Transition time, look for that flashy orange thing that the lady next to you put behind her bags. Run, run, run. 618, got it.

Water, Gu shot, glasses, helmet.

Putting the cycling shorts on top of the trisuit seemed like a genius idea last night. Except I’m still wet and too frazzled to dry myself properly. Pull, squeeze, pull. What the hell, did I just put on five kilos overnight? Why won’t these things come on properly?

Sh*t, Ramine must be waiting. Grab your shoes and put them on outside.

Look for that “Exquisite Living” billboard across NBD building. Oh, I spot bald guy. Must be Ramine. Go!

Nope, bald man has a mustache and no race number. How’d he get in here? Where’s Ram? It’s fine, adjust the shorts while you wait.

47 minutes. There he is! With his big fat smile. Awesome, let’s go!

100km on the bike. Seriously Doris, you’re stupid. You couldn’t just rent a bike on the Marina and have a normal weekend. Nooooooo, you had to go crazy. Except Ramine forced you. Blame it on him, yes.

I ate habibi, I swear (fingers crossed). And look, I’m drinking (first sip of the race), oops.

Are you sure we can’t ride side by side? Seriously, nobody cares what we’re up to back here! Ok, ok fine I’ll stay behind you.

Cycle.

Thousands of people have just passed by. We must be going really slowly? 27 km. Well sh*t, that’s actually better than I thought. How are they so fast!

Come on Doris! She’s like 93! And she just owned you!

Cycle.

Should have trained more. Shoulda coulda woulda. Maybe with the Tri Dubai guys next time? But how do they do it! They must not have jobs!

Way to lie to yourself, Doris.

But I have work, and friends, and family, and a house to fix, and – ok ok fine, it’s the adult version of “my dog ate it”, as Ramine so frequently says. Pff.

I feel great habibi! I’ll just go ahead of you for a bit now!

Oh, motorcycles. That must mean pros are heading back for the loop. And I’m not even halfway yet on the bike ride am I? No, I’m not. Wow, check out the sound of those wheels.

Lawrence Fanous! Go Jordan, go! Can’t wait to tell pops. He must be the only Arab pro I know. Oh no, there’s Omar Nour.

It’s been 90 minutes, I think. Another Gu shot. That’s what Tony from Facebook said. Also what Ramine has been preaching for about a year now. Gosh, he’s so smart. Where is he? Pink shirt, good he’s about 40 meters back.

Aid station. I’m supposed to grab water here, aren’t I? But, if I stop, I’ll fall and create havoc won’t I? Ok, next one.

Circuit is coming soon. Oh but we’re going the opposite direction of Yas Tri aren’t we? So we’re going up that massive hill. Smile for the photographer perched there.

Again for the short (not) course, right? Yes.

Ram, did you clip out to grab water? No? Get rid of old bottle (but I love that one!), slow done almost to a stop, and then grab from the pretty girl that’s shouting some inspiration about believing in us. Cutie.

Photographer coming up again. Should I smile? Or scrowl? I just smowled. Great.

What the hell is that sound? But I already shifted gears and it’s not going away! Grrrr. It’s fine, he won’t hear it.

Ram, it’s fine, it’s gone now (not).

Click, click, click. He won’t hear it through the wind that has started picking up again. Great.

Cycle, cycle.

It’s not even tailwind on the way back. But how’s that even possible?

Gu, water. Heart rate. So much science involved. Why can’t I just play squash? Or chess for God’s sake, that’s a sport isn’t it?

Think about bragging rights.

Look behind for the pink shirt. Oops, he looks like he’s struggling? Butt pain?

Thank you Toby Jones for fixing me, I don’t even feel a thing – yet.

Cycle, cycle.

Man, it’s getting hot. And we’re slowing down. Look back – got him!

Cycle cycle.

He’s struggling. But it’s ok, if you slow down he’ll slow down and we won’t get there. He’ll thank you later, I’m sure.

Oh man, this idiot is turning back around for the long course. Poor him. Oh stop Doris, you know very well you’re going to be the idiot that does it along with him next year. Good luck!

Lucky me, I get to go home, sweet home.

Cycle, cycle. Watch your breathing. But these hills! I curse the day I found you, Triathlon! But not really, I do love you, Triathlon. But not right now. Actually, always. But not at this exact second. No, but I do. Drink some water Doris, you’re starting to talk to yourself.

Cycle, cycle.

Corniche, yes! How much longer Ram? 12km? Are you sh*tting me? It did not feel that long on the way out! Grrr.

Butt is starting to hurt. Shift position. Hands are tingling. So is my left foot. Wiggle it around a little. Oops, clipped out. Nice.

Dismount line. Don’t forget to unclip, don’t forget to unclip, don’t forget to unclip. YES! Third successful dismount with the shoes that supposedly help me go faster. Sure didn’t feel like it today.

Ram? You ok? It’s fine, we’ll walk. Remember, we’re using this for training!

Sh*t it’s hot. Sponges, think sponges.

Transition. Orange bag, orange bag. Is she already gone?! How? Why? When? Where? How? But….how?

Never mind, Ram’s outside. 618, got it.

Sponges, remember there’s sponges.

Ok, so we’re walking the 10k run, but I look at my husband and my heart swells with pride and I feel like screaming to everyone that he’s my hero. Look at this guy! He just finished 100km on the bike after swimming for 1.5km! How many of you did that?!!?

Ok Doris, don’t scream it here. Maybe in Dubai, to your friends who didn’t actually do the Triathlon. Know your audience.

But still, I’m so proud. Our first race, as a team, was a 400 meter swim and a 2km run. I ran. And now he’s doing ADIT – LOOK AT HIM EVERYBODY!

Can you jog a little to that red pole?

I know, the flag does seem very far away but we just want to finish remember? We can walk.

Sponges! AH THEY FEEL LIKE HEAVEN. I LOVE YOU GIRL THAT JUST GAVE ME A SPONGE. YOU JUST SAVED MY LIFE! SOMEBODY MARRY HER AND MAKE HER HAPPY!

Sh*t, I have to pee.

Oh, there’s Melissa. She’s running like a freaking gazelle! GO MELISSA! No, not even a smile? Well, fine she’s in it to win it I guess.

Oh, Yvonne now. GO YVONNE! Also no?

I need to pee.

Ok, let’s try until the next aid station now?

Is that Lootah? GO LOOTAH! God, he’s so fast! Bravo Lootah, go go!

Ok, I’m going to use the bathroom. Go ahead, I’ll catch up with you!

Victory is mine! I’m hydrated enough to pee! WOO!

Was I really in there for so long? Where is the fluorescent hat? Aha!

God it’s hot. Sponge? Don’t mind if I do! Two please. In the hat they go.

Go ahead Lootah, we honestly won’t be able to keep up with you until the finish line!

And dramatic picture for the finish! YES!

So fine, we didn’t break any records on Saturday. But we had a blast while doing it. And that’s why I love triathlon so much, because: it doesn’t judge your time, I was being cheered by competitors on the same course, I raced alongside world champion athletes, and my mind, hell – my mind is strong and it took triathlons to prove it!

From a very humbled and inspired fellow TriDubai member,

Doris