Veteran and Masters Triathletes: the story of an unexpected win

We sit on the lawn after the triathlon for the presentations.

Over the mic comes The first male Veteran in the Super Sprint was Paul.

Really??? Oh my goodness.  Go Pauly!  After struggling with the swim in his first triathlon he wins the fastest-old-man-medal in his second.

The presentations continue.

The first female in the masters Super Sprint was L.

Much clapping and cheering all around when it occurs to me that L and I are in the same age group and I crossed the line in front of her.  The medal is presented and a photo taken.  L was sitting next to us on the lawn.  She turns to me and she says I think they made a mistake, this is yours.  I will check after the presentations.

Sure enough, the time keepers had swapped our run results.  There wasn’t much in our finishes, only seconds.  When things like this happen the biggest need is to remember that these events are organised by volunteers and there simply isn’t any room to get upset (at least not on the outside).

L handed me the medal and just like that I won my first ever place medal in my whole life.  (I was first female over the line at the Ringa 10 4km race and won some fancy shampoo and conditioner – it was sponsored by a hair salon – but this was my first ever win with a medal.)  I’ve won a handicapped race but this wasn’t handicapped.  This was all off the same gun time and I’d won my age group.

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How ever on earth did this moment come that the Unsporty Woman won the Masters in a multi sport event??? If ever those Physical Education teachers should tut and look stunned with shock this was it.

But how did this happen.  Let me tell you the story of how the Unsporty Woman won a first place medal……..

swim-bike-runSuper Sprint distances for the Launceston Triathlon Club’s George Town Tri
375m swim, 10km ride and a 2.5km run

Pre-Race

Transition was all set up.  Thanks to advice from some experienced triathletes and Janette’s help I was all sorted with a good space to take my wet suit off.  Transition was on bitumen so I needed a soft surface for the dreaded wet suit removal ritual.

We were all nervous of the swim, Pauly, Janette and I.  It was a triangular course and none of us had done one like that and the water was deep.  We are green and unexperienced triathletes and the feelings of dread echoed this.

Soon we were in the water and I went through the actions that Bruce had suggested:  going under and blowing out bubbles to get acclimatised, swimming around and getting accustomed to the water.  I freaked just a little when I realised how deep it was but decided to look out in front rather than straight down.

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Swim

And we’re off.  There I was right at the back again.  My goggles fogged up (dam, I forgot to spit in them to prevent fogging).  A life guard was beside me all the way.  Around the first cone and I cheered First Cone!  I noticed swimmers breast stroking around me.  In my head I was telling myself that every stroke was a stroke closer.  Second Cone!  I cheered.  I was grateful for the encouragement from the life guard.  I freestyled all the way.  Then I was at the boat ramp and running up to my bike.

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It was a beautiful day and a beautiful location at George Town for the Launceston Triathlon Club’s event last weekend.

Swim to Ride Transition

Imagine elevator music, make a cup of tea and settle into your deck chair…

Oh dear.  I wasn’t last out of the water but I was last out of transition.  The wet suit removal ritual was slow and sluggish (I tried to embrace my inner Houdini).  I forgot to put conditioner on my legs and arms before I put the dang thing on; I had it with me but I didn’t use it.  Finally after much contorting, twisting and pained expressions I was free of my rubbery trap; shoes, glasses, helmet were on in a flash.  Unrack bike and up to the mount/dismount line.  I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  In the swim I hadn’t panicked, cramped or become fish food.  I felt like a winner!

I was pleased to note a discarded wet suit in Pauly’s transition area (remember he forgot to take it off for his first transition??? Oh dear).   He and Janette were long gone.  I found out at the end that Janette and Pauly had come out of the swim pretty much together and Janette had reminded him to take off his wet suit and even undid the Velcro for him.

Ride

As I moved over the mount/dismount line I could see two men not far ahead and L just in front.  L turned off to the left.  A marshal and I called to her that she was going the wrong way but off she went.  Hold that thought.

I loved the ride!  The coaching that Bruce had given Pauly and I the week before sent my confidence levels to an all time high.  I had the correct gears to start and from there it was zoom zoom zoom.  At least that’s how I felt.  I whizzed by the two men who started before me.  Their mountain bikes compared to the road bike were no match.  Soon I whooshed by a few other riders.  A couple of small hills to conquer, around some corners, still smiling when I get to the turn around point and then back.  I saw L on my return not that far away.

Ride to Run Transition

So fast!  Got that done quickly and was happy.

Run

It was a beautiful run around the bay; an out and back.  I don’t use my GPS for triathlons so I have no idea of pace.  It feels strange but good.  I tried very hard to keep good posture by pointing my shoulder blades down to the base of my spine. I felt weary and leaden but still smiling. I even passed a few runners! With about 300m to go I became determined to stay in front.  And I did.  Finishing strong and happy.

At the finish line were Janette and Pauly.  They both did really well.  My speedy friend and husband smoked it.

20170122_092100Bruce completed the Sprint distance (750m swim, 20km ride and 5km run).

Which brings me to L going the wrong way on the bike: she was off in lalaland and it took a few moments to register, unclip her shoes and turn around.  Had it not been for that little lapse in thinking she would’ve stayed in front of me for the rest of the event.

As L handed me the Masters Medal I thanked her and she said not to worry that she would get me at the next one!  I do love the friendly competitiveness that we have with our running friends.  There is a desire to do the best we can but there is also the joy and happiness when someone else wins or does a personal best.

I was truly overwhelmed that I had won that medal.  Never did I ever think I’d win a triathlon medal.  I am there to participate and make up the numbers, to try something new and enjoy the fun and challenge of it.  Janette reminded me that I said that once I won a medal I would retire from triathlon.  The real meaning of that statement is that I hope to do triathlons for the rest of my life because I could never see myself winning ever!  I will treasure that medal and I do hope that L wins next time because I know someone who is about to cross into Masters and once that happens her medal collection is going to grow and grow!  Who is that someone, well one of the Quackers of course!  I know you can work out who because just look at the results.

tri-resultsAnd now that I’ve written this long account of winning a medal you will see
that there weren’t many people in the event and even less in the Male Veteran and Female Masters age groups – two each!!!!!!

That was Triathlon Number Four for this Unsporty Woman.  Don’t just think it would be nice to do something, be brave and give it a go.  We only live once.  Winning was wonderful but totally unexpected.  It’s doing it and being there that makes us winners.  Medal or no medal every time we cross the line of that certain event or training run we are winners!

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Happy running 🙂

PS it is interesting to note that the Launceston Running Club’s handicapped running event I won was at George Town also.

21 thoughts on “Veteran and Masters Triathletes: the story of an unexpected win

  1. Well done to you all, especially to you and Paul with your first place medals, how awesome!
    Your 4th triathlon already, I’ve only done 5!! And your times were really good, you’re obviously getting quicker at all the transition stuff too and enjoying each triathlon, which is definitely the most important bit!!

    • Thanks Sam! You might have only done five but you’ve done ironmans!!!! The swimming thing is tough, it just brings me to the giggles. We had a training session at Beauty Point and I timed taking my wet suit off – 57 seconds with the conditioner this time. Oh dear! We’re really enjoying the challenge of it all.

  2. Congratulations! How exciting! Personally, I love swimming. This sounds immodest but I’m an excellent swimmer – a product of my Southern (U.S.) upbringing. I love love love to swim – no matter how deep! 😀 Anyways, so proud of you and Paul!!!

    • Thanks Miss E 🙂 we need some help with the open water swimming that is for sure. Most Australians are ok swimmers and I was in the school team but need to embrace ‘fast’ and it’s just not happening hehe

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