Joey Hannon Sunday April 27th….the first triathlon of 2014.
by Marie Lynch
I was looking forward to this race. There was a great sense of excitement that the race season was about to begin. Usually I don’t like the race days as I get very nervous but at the same time there is always a great buzz around.
Although my training in December and January had been pretty slack as I was focusing on getting a tan (which I was later punished for) I was keen to see if I had improved over the winter months. My focus this winter had been my swim and I was eager to see if I was any bit stronger. I was also feeling confident that surely my run time would have improved as Brian Murphy has produced miracles since taking over as running coach on the Wednesday nights. The bike was a worry though as everyone knows I’m a fair weather cyclist and I can honestly say that most Saturday mornings this year were looking fairly grey so for safety reasons I stayed in bed (will probably regret this move later in the year).
Anyway, went down to UL to register on the Saturday evening (before going out) and was delighted to meet a good crew from Ennis Tri there, in particular Grainne Synott and Orla Keating who were both entered into their first Tri-a-try. I remembered asking Orla 12 months previous if she would have any interest in doing a triathlon and her response was “no way, never”….just shows how addictive this sport is.
Race day…up early with little sleep. Usually have no problem eating a breakfast but this morning just couldn’t face it so ended up making a chicken roll at 7 o’clock in the morning and bringing it with me. Packed up the van and off I went. Usually I’m late for everything but I picked up a tip from Enya Russell last year which was “Arrive early”. I have tried to do this and it is definitely worthwhile as you are not being rushed out of transition and avoid being stressed out before it even starts.
Once in transition, meet a lot from Ennis Tri, racked up my bike beside Darragh Lynch after warning him not to knock it over….made a mental note to hide his runners if he was out on the bike before me.
At this stage it was time for the briefing so we all gathered in front of the Arena, stood patiently not actually hearing a word so after a group photo went into the pool to watch the tri-a-try people in their race. They all did really well and was a great achievement…maybe someday we’ll see Gráinne earn the Ironman jacket that she loves to wear!
About 40 minutes before my race I felt that now was a good time to eat that chicken roll (half way through the cycle, I was thinking differently). The atmosphere was just brilliant. A group of us; Gearóid, Mick, Brian, Jim, Johnny, Enya, Paula, Kevin to name just a few sat and watched the race while talking tactics.
When the time came, Paula and I went to get ready; the nerves were definitely setting in now. At the poolside we met up with Alison, Darragh and Colette who was also doing her first triathlon. Colm and Lisa were also in this wave which was great. I always think it’s good to have people you know in the same wave as you as it doesn’t seem as lonely. Someone to chat to before the race and during the race it’s good to have people to keep you on your toes.
Right, in the water now and the discussion for positions began. Found myself toward the back of the line which was fine because last year I lied about my time and was under so much pressure that I nearly had a heart attack trying to keep up, and when I couldn’t was very embarrassed still swimming away in my lane while everyone else was off on their bikes!
I was also asked to changed my swim hat which I wasn’t happy about as I was wearing the new Ennis Tri hat so I pretended to put on the hat and said it wouldn’t fit….that was my little victory! We all know it’s about how you look and not how good you are...ha ha! That is the club motto isn’t it???
Anyway got into a good rhythm in the swim and even managed to overtake three people so was happy overall. Must have turned off my watch during the swim so hadn’t a clue what time I had swam but felt very comfortable. My exit out of the pool however was not in any way graceful. Somehow got my leg stuck the gap in the wall while being pulled out. I’ve had less bruises after a camogie match.
Long run to the bike and then out again of transition, up on the bike...or not! Could not clip in, the hill didn’t help. Eventually started cycling and straight away could feel my calves cramping. I was just thinking please no…don’t cramp. Kept pedalling away anyway. Had spotted Alison in transition so I knew she was ahead of me. Took me ages to catch her but eventually did…tongue hanging out panting! I also saw Colm in transition…and this was as close to him as I was going to get. However, knowing that he was ahead of me made the cycle a bit easier as it gave me someone to chase and when he was passing me on both the bike and the run it was giving me the heads up about where the turnabout points were and I knew the torture was nearly over.
Back into transition, and as Alison Rooney said, I was delighted I had bright yellow runners because I could find my position. Runners and hat on and off I went. Oh god…Brian has not trained us for this in running!!!! My legs weighed a tonne. At this stage I was talking to myself…”Why did I do this? Who am I fooling? I’m not fit. How am I ever going to do The Hell of the West? This is torture! Oh God Paula Montwell is gonna come flying past me and if I try to catch her I’m gonna get sick”. Right I said to myself, just keep your legs moving and try to breathe. So I kept going, at this stage there was a lot of us (Ennis Tri) on the run and we were passing each other at a couple of points and encouraging each other when we passed but secretly thinking please don’t catch up to me.
Eventually, race over. Not a clue of the time so it was a weird feeling. I felt I did okay but couldn’t be happy until I knew the time. Just goes to show how much we rely on those watches. And makes you think if finishing the race is as important as we say it is? No, I don’t think so anymore. I think it’s about being better than what you were in that particular race last year whether it’s by one minute or ten minutes.
After waiting a couple of hours to find out the results I learned that I had knocked 6 minutes off my previous years’ time, improving in all three disciplines so overall was delighted.
It’s always great to see improvements. A big thank you to the swimming coaches Mick and Keith, the cycling coach Gary. Brian for his running expertise and last but not least my running partner Pat. Well done to everyone who took part in Joey. I know I have left out some names but I have a really bad memory. The only thing I really remember is Mick Davis’ face when he finished his race….pale, very sweaty with a banana sticking out of his mouth! Totes Hilar!