Gavin Richards became a triathlete at the weekend. But it wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
“Well let me start the day before the race. I entered into the 1000m ocean swim on Friday afternoon. I figured this would be a nice relaxing little swim to help round off my preparation, boy was I wrong. I was in a little rush to get down to the beach on time, so I ditched any warm up. I also thought I left my goggles and ear plugs at the appartment, turns out I had them in my sports bag in the car.
So, wetsuit on, swim cap on, no googles bang! start! we’re off. The first 100 metres or so felt good. The field was passing me with ease, but I expected that. Soon after I started to struggle, the wetsuit felt like it was crushing my lungs, the lack of goggles covering my eyes felt foreign, I did not want to be there!
The awesome guys on the jet ski helped me out, I had a breather, they calmed me down and I set off again. I got 2 more breathers courtesy of the jet ski life guards before I started to relax and enjoy swimming out in the open. I finished the last 500 way better than the first 500. I finished the swim, in 26:31, thinking how on earth am I going to swim the 1500 swim leg tomorrow?
I went home and contemplated entering the shorter sprint tri. Before making any rash decisions I requested the advice of MX12 VIP. The fellow members Tim Ford, Andrew Black, Paul Beaumont and Christopher Dean, all come forward with advice and support (that helped helps, thanks guys). So I sucked it up and bit the bullet! Olympic Distance it is.
Race Morning I prepared a little better. Got down early enough to make sure I had a good warm up and all my gear sorted. I spent some time getting familiar with swimming out of the pool and out in the open. This time when we started I was way more relaxed. I was keeping pace with some of the other swimmers and feeling good. I was getting used to sighting the buoys and trying to swim comfortably, not exerting too much energy. I wasn’t too concerned with my time, and after my first open water experience I was hoping to be out in under 40mins. When I actually got out my garmin read 31:30. Yeahhh! PB, I hadn’t swam that fast in the pool before. I was so happy with the split.
Before transition there was like half a kilometre run from the beach, on a concrete foot path When I finally got to my bike I took my time getting out of the wetsuit and getting sorted for the ride. The bike leg was the one I was looking forward to the most. I was hoping to get closer to 1:15 but my split was 1:19. The course was relatively flat, with a few hilly sections at the turn around. It was 3 laps in total. As the race progressed the winds picked up, so heading out we had the wind, but it was behind us coming home. At the 20k mark I had an issue, the chain, it came off as I was trying to punch up one of the hills. So of I get hoping this wont end my race. It didn’t and I was able to continue, but I had to re-overtake half a dozen riders. So into transition again bike finished and a 10K run left.
As I was exiting transition to start my run I could here the guy on the P.A announcing the winner as he crossed the finish line, freak! I was really concerned about my run leg as I had 3 months lay off with a calf injury. This was the first big test for it. I cruised the first 5k and was running around 5:20 k’s, which I was happy about. I did plan to run this leg slow and allowed myself an hour to finish. But I only needed 54mins. I really enjoyed the run. It felt good to run properly again after an injury, I loved seeing my wife and 2 girls on the run course, and I was buzzing about nearing the end of my first Triathlon!
So I crossed the line with a time of 2:53. I can accept that! I love knowing that now I have a benchmark to race against. Can’t wait for the next race.”