New to Tri update from a newbie – Liz Dunleavy

I joined the Tritanium New2Tri programme in July 2021 with a love for cycling and a couch to 5km and a variety of virtual races completed in lock down. I felt I needed more structure and a goal. With a lot of talk about triathlons I decided this was for me.

I struggle to maintain interest with one discipline so to get a taster of all 3 each week is great to keep you motivated. I joined with little to no experience and overweight.

I had found the new to Tri programme, clear, informative and supportive. The training plans are amazing and the welcoming camaraderie of fellow triathletes is so motivating.

It’s easy to get caught up in the awe and competitiveness of the long-standing members with Ironmans and Olympics under their belt. Just remember don’t push too hard that you injure yourself – build it week on week, consistency is key listen to the experts (so many experienced members there to help and advise). This took me a while to tune into!! Going hard for a day or two doesn’t build performance but going steady you get better gains.

So as Tri Athy approached, I was blessed with Covid and pneumonia 3 weeks before, so much of my body wanted to pull out but my heart wanted it give it a go. “Better to fail trying than to not Tri at all”.

On the group chat there was talk of Swim Athy as a warm up to the Tri the week before Tri Athy. So glad I did this as it really settled my nerves about the river swim. The numbers were small, and it gave you an opportunity to see the set up/ layout of the course and transition area. For my first river swim it wasn’t as bad as I’d built it up to be. The canoes on standby that were there to help were amazing when I needed to stop for a breath, the gentle current was a welcomed help in the right direction. I survived it and felt very safe at all times. I did struggle with putting my face in the green water even with goggles- takes some getting used to. The support at the bridge pushing me on from fellow TriTaniums was amazing.

Tri Athy came, excitement built. Got there early, set up my bike and towel and laid out my shoes and runners. Wetsuit on and down for the pre-race briefing. I decided to wear water shoes as I’d found the river shallow and rocky in parts the week before – big fail, they filled with water and weighed me down. Trying to get them off mid swim was a struggle, I couldn’t.  Tip One: recommend go barefoot and keep to the centre of the river. I had a man grab me as his wet suit was too tight and couldn’t breathe, thankfully canoes on hand to help him out, so I could swim on. Tip two: give your wetsuit a trial run before race day.

T1: went well, wetsuit slid off with ease, got it half off on route to transition (Barbra’s tip to use baby oil prior to putting on wetsuit worked a treat in getting it off). Took a guzzle of electrolyte water and an energy gel (remember to trial any gels before race day) and on to the cycle , very wet and refreshing. Running to the mount line in cleats was a bit nervy in the rain but managed it fine. T2: Dismount was slow and steady. Struggled to get cycling shoes off, Tip three : get Velcro tri shoes not buckle button type.

Finally the run, found my legs were heavy at first, just took it easy in the rain and got from a to b. Then came the final 200meters and the amazing supporters full of encouragement and motivation and then it was all done. I completed my first triathlon! The complimentary hot curry at 10:30 in the morning was a welcome surprise in the cold and the beautiful medal was a joy to hold.

At the time in the depth of it your like “what am I doing” “am I mad” and when it’s all over your like “when is the next one”!

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