I’ve just completed my fifth triathlon! This one was different to the last four as it was my first FULL one, which means I had to undertake a 1000m lake swim, a 51k hilly cycle ride and a 11km hill run. But I was so excited as this time the event was held where I now live: the Snowdonia National Park.
Hills are my ‘thing’ and now that I live in Snowdonia I can get out into the mountains any time I want. My favourite place to bike train is the Pen y Pass.
So, as you can imagine, I was really excited, especially because I’ve been training on the cycle route three times a week in the lead up to the competition.
So, how did it go?
Well, it was quite hard for me at first just because I’d worked at the BodyPower Expo exhibition at Birmingham over that same weekend, so I was tired from driving to Brum on Thursday night, then working two days at exhibition and then driving back to North Wales on theSaturday night.
My race started at 10am and, with only 6 hours sleep, I didn’t really feel like I could actually go through with it, but I was so excited that I just decided to just ‘go for it’ anyway.
On the Sunday morning when I arrived at the registration point in Llanberis there was an amazing atmosphere. So many fit triathletes running around me and very nice and friendly staff at reception. Finally I got my race number – 928 and my orange cap. Everybody was smiling and so helpful that I forgot to think about how tired I was and started to really concentrate on the race ahead.
There were four groups of different colours. Blue started first, then the yellows and then my orange group and finally the greens.
It was then that I noticed I was the only female in my group! I then realised that this was because I was racing instead of my friend, who is a man. But I like a challenge so I was happy to be surrounded by ‘manpower!’
Then it was time for the swimming section. Many other people just stood there by the water, but I knew what to do from my training experience: I splashed my face and warmed up with a few strokes before I started. It’s harder to swim in a lake because the type of water makes a big difference when you are a pool swimmer. I’d practiced lake swimming three weeks before this race so that I would be ready, and now we had just 5 seconds to go and ‘boom!’ the swim started!
I put my head down in the water to stay focused on breathing and keeping up a nice strong stroke, but it was hard because there were around 300 competitors and so some of them got in my way and were kicking me. So, after 200 metres, I changed to breaststroke just to stay focused tried to relax as my body was getting cold.
The swim went more easily then and I realised I was at the finish and could run to my bike. There was a really great atmosphere with spectators all around supporting everyone.
I ran to the transition and tried to get my wet suit off. Finally I got to my bike, took off the wet suit, put the helmet and boots on and ran to the road. I jumped on the bike and pedalled to the Pen y Pass hill. It’s three miles of nice steep hill, so I was really excited. Many people were struggling as they hadn’t had the opportunity to train in the hills, so I had the advantage.
The cycling was fast as I was in the men’s group and they had really strong riders, so I tried my best to keep up with them. We were going so fast that I didn’t even realise we had reached the Ogwen Valley. This valley is pretty tricky for the cyclist as it gets very windy there and so you can feel like you’re pedaling like fury yet getting nowhere. But it was my lucky day as the wind wasn’t as strong as it can be.
I started to feel tiredness from lack of sleep, but I just wanted to keep up with my strong group of riders. We passed a lot of yellow competitors and that made me push even harder. And, at last, I reached the finish line. My legs felt like they were stuck to the bike and when I first dismounted I could hardly feel them, as they were so stiff. But I still wanted to keep going. I was warm enough and ready for 11km of hill-running around the Slates.
I put my shoes on and ran to the mountain. My legs still felt strong as I’d practiced some running drills and that helps! Many others walked up, but I found it easier to jog and use the power of my toes and gluteus. I got to the summit, but that was just the half-way point. It was a nice and flat fell run back to the finish. My legs felt so strong that I started to sprint. Down the hill in the forest was my class so I did big long steps and passed many people. I was only two km from the finish and felt really good. People gave us a lot support so I didn’t realise that I was just 200m away from the finish line. And that was an amazing feeling as people were shouting at us to go faster and faster.
“Get the race done….” I kept telling myself over and over again. ‘When it’s done then I can go to bed…’
Finally I reached to the finish line.
My legs started to hurt and my shin splints were killing me, but I just walked around, chatting to my friends to keep my mind off the pain. When I got back to my bike I just lay down and looked up at the sky. I said myself, “well done Luce! You did it and you enjoyed it!”
There is a guy who is my inspiration named Killian Jornet and he’s really motivated me as he’s the most dominant trail runner in the world.
I just said to myself “I want to be strong like him.” Thanks Killian for inspiring me.
Thanks also to my charity and the children in Guatemala for giving me all this power and the will to run. At the end of each race I feel proud of myself as I know I am doing all this for them, so that EFTC can fund the school and help the children to achieve their own ambitions in life.
And so I hope that you can support me in this and my future races by donating https://www.justgiving.com/Lucy-Lu85/
So here are the results of my first FULL triathlon:
775th out of 1212 overall
63th of 179 female
35th of 90 in my age category
LAKE SWIMMING 500m 00:14:51
BIKE 51km 1:50:44
RUN 11km 1:20:04
Total finishing time 3:28:26