The event was last Sunday and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I had a lot of nerves in the few days leading up to it - "why did I put my name down?" "am I mad?" etc. We had a family conference and decided 2 hours was a good target, but, as I had not really trained as much as I would have liked and had never done a "brick" session, then 2.5 hours would also be acceptable. I didn't think I'd sleep the night before, but I did, and when I woke up I was calm and ready to go.
We set off with 2 bikes on the rack - the flashy new wheels on the son and heir's bike don't fit on his bike rack, so even though he was having an extra hour in bed (much later start time as much better triathlete than me) - he only had to be there for 8am to see me get into the pool - we ended up taking my bike and his to the start line. Everything took a little longer than expected so we missed the 7am race briefing - I still stayed calm as I had listened to it twice before when spectating so knew what to expect.
The atmosphere was so friendly, I met some lovely people as we queued to go into the pool at our allotted time - the "15 minute swim" gang was very supportive of each other and there were several of us first timers.
The heart rate monitor said 140 before I started the swim - so although I felt calm up until I got into the water I think I had a little reality check then and the heart went for it!
Once I started swimming though, I had to concentrate like mad, as this year we had to count our own lengths. So I swam to my own little mantra...one,one,one,one, two, two,two and so on. All of the practice at getting out of the pool unaided paid off and I emerged after my swim and headed to transition.
I managed to put all of my kit on in the right order, fastened my helmet then unracked the bike. At this point I noticed I was grinning like an idiot - it was so much fun to be doing it - I felt great.
The bike ride was lovely - through the country lanes and at every junction where there was a marshal they clapped and cheered and encouraged me - the grin got wider! It took me 57 minutes on the bike which was about 3 minutes quicker than I hoped for. Then back in to transition.
Mantra for transition 2 was "rack the bike before you take your helmet off" but it would have been hard to take the helmet off first as I had my hands full of bike, so it was quite easy to remember to do it in the right order - just as the family triathlete had reassured me it would be!
Grinning like a fool I set off on the run - my least favourite part but I knew I could do it, the family support group had yelled encouraging things to me about my time looking good for my target so I was feeling great. I did run and walk my way for 5km but have to say the support of the marshals and my fellow competitors was wonderful - and so the 40minute 5km became a reality and not just a traget - I did it, I crossed the line to hear my name on the tannoy and my family yelling encouragement. As they took my timing chip off I had to pass judgement - That was BRILLIANT. We went to the timing station and my print out said 1:59:00 - I broke the 2 hour barrier!
The other (better) triathlete in the family did 1:07 and was a little disappointed as he wanted to do it in about an hour but we all thought he was a star - it was only 2 weeks ago he completed his first half ironman - I would still have had my feet up recovering!
Thanks to those people who sponsored me I raised £560 for ovarian cancer action - that made me pretty proud too - so thank you all.
Oh, and the answer to the question is yes I am doing it again and my aim is to knock 15 minutes off my time next year - watch this space!