After answering the cry from a wounded tri team, Saturday saw me anxiously waiting the start of the run leg for Team Hobart Airport – Blue in the Coles Bay Half Triathlon. The event started at 10am so I had a long wait for the run.
The swimmer, the lovely Amy-Rose, had a 1.9km swim which she swam like a dolphin in 32:14. In fact the cyclist wasn’t ready for her when she got to transition, he didn’t even have his helmet on.
Next the Cyclist, Justin, motored those 90kms on the bike in 2:49:30. Two laps with the first half of the lap being a constant incline, then zoom down and then back up again for the second. As we drove out of Coles Bay this morning I couldn’t get over how far the distance was by car.
Then it was my turn.
Janette, Pauly and I did a lot of waiting. We cheered in the swimmers, we did a little cheering of the cyclists, but could only see them at the turn around point.
We went back home and cooled our heels. But I was anxious. I wanted to be back waiting ready for the cyclist to return.
Pauly was running too. He and Bruce formed The Stupid Old Men team with Bruce doing the first two legs and Pauly the third.
After what seemed like forever the cyclists starting returning. They’d zoom into transition, rack their bike, off with their helmet, on with running shoes and off they’d sprint. This is after doing the swim and the cycle! For those in teams they’d tag their runner and then get a rest as the runner went off to finish the final leg of the event.
I was waiting and waiting. Looking out for Justin who I’d only met that morning. Suddenly there was a cyclist coming in. Look Annie! said Pauly, it’s your cyclist. I’m glad Pauly was on the ball because I didn’t recognise him even with his 169 on his arm.
All morning I was reminding myself that the cyclist had to rack his bike, take off his helmet and then tag me before I could start running. Justin was pooped so I had to ask him to go through those steps. Then I had to remember to call out my number as I exited transition. I was very proud of myself, I remembered it all!
And I was off! It was 1:24pm on a clear bright autumn day. It was hot (26°C). I tried not to think about it. The course is four laps. Out to a jetty, then passed the start/finish zone, then out along the beach and back. I broke it up into those four laps, but then because it was hot and tough going, I broke those four laps into four. Out to the Jetty along the pretty winding coast road, back to the start/finish, out along the beach with views of happy runners, happy swimmers, happy dogs chasing sticks and stunning view of The Hazards (I’ll show you a photo in a minute) complete with gleaming blue sea, then back along the beach to the start/finish zone. Four laps, broken into four parts.
With each lap completed a coloured band was issued. I celebrated those bands like a rainbow does after a storm. One lap done, Yay! I’d say as the band was placed on my arm by a volunteer. Cutting the course down like I did kept me happy and feeling like I was slowly making progress despite being constantly passed by triathletes dong it all and other team runners.
At the end of the jetty were Deb and Brendan who smiled, cheered and waved and encouraged, thank you so much!
There were a couple of marshals at the jetty who I said thank you to each time, after the second time they were waving to me and cheering as well. There were two ladies on the coast road who were quietly watching proceedings, after I waved and said hello the second time, the third and fourth time they were clapping and cheering me as well! And I collected a cheer squad like this all throughout the run. Happy Runner 169 that was me.
The first time I made it out to the turnaround point on the beach the winning lady traithlete had just sprinted passed me in gazelle-like form. The marshals there were cheering and clapping and taking her photo. And why not, she makes it all look easy and is gorgeously fit, brown and toned. As I approached they put their cameras away. I was having none of that! I took my glasses off, pointed to myself and waved. They obediently took their cameras back out! I said You need photos of us who make up the numbers as well as the elites! and winked at them. They laughed! Then one of the guys started running up the beach with me…
…While we were watching the swim Janette and I had been in fine voice. We had cheered and clapped every swimmer out of the water.
You were one of the ladies cheering all the swimmers out of the water weren’t you? asked the marshal running with me. Yes, I said. We need more spectators like you, he said, I’m going to cheer you! As I rounded that turning point for the fourth and final time I thanked him for his wonderful support but told him it had been nice, but I had to break up with him and that I wouldn’t be back. He laughed.
Karma. Cheering karma. I got lots of it back on Saturday.
Hot, sticky, long and tough but smiling all the way. Super doper volunteers everywhere AND the best cheer squad ever in Janette and Bruce. They didn’t stop. Janette had a busy day being everywhere for everyone. Thanks Janette!!! You are one of life’s angels and a real treasure!
What an awesome weekend. I loved it. And all because of a limping tri team who needed an Unsporty Woman runner.
My run time for those 21.1kms was 2:16:23 officially. Our team came in 51st place out of 93 teams/individuals in the event with an overall time of 5:38:07.
Team Stupid Old Men were 48th with an overall time of 5:31:14. We shall not mention the fact that Pauly started running 20 minutes after me and still beat me. We shall not mention that at all.
As Janette, Pauly and I were walking to the pub for a much needed cool drink a man approached me. I didn’t recognise him at first. He was on crutches. He introduced himself as a bootcamper from last year. He hadn’t injured himself. He’s been fighting a blood cancer for months. I was speechless. I didn’t recognise him because he’s lost a lot of weight. He’d battled it for several months and then came right. Then at Christmas time he had a sore hip, went to the doctor and found that the cancer is back.
I’m so glad I kept a happy attitude out there on the run. What’s not to be happy about? I am healthy and fit. I can run a half marathon in the heat just like that, perhaps not fast, but I get it done. Running is a gift, a precious gift. I was humbled and sad to hear about what this fellow human being had been through. I didn’t know what to say and I told him that. I really am hoping for excellent, happy, good news for him.
I choose to run because I love it and I will shamelessly take every opportunity given to me. Because it makes me feel alive. Because as I went through each lap and received those colourful bands I chose to feel like a winner. I have beaten that Unsporty Woman who thought running was too hard. I win each time I put on my shoes and go for a run.
Always, each and every day, I am grateful for a body that can run.
I hope you enjoy the photos of beautiful Coles Bay, Tasmania Australia. And the biggest happy birthday to the beautiful Janette, someone I am privileged to call my friend and all because we are both runners.
Happy running 🙂