So, what are my memories about my first experience with half-triathlon in Joroinen 2013?
I had a full travel arrangement, bicycle service and luggage delivery service taken care of by my beloved husband. I just had to arrange Friday free from work (that I forgot to do, and discovered it just a week earlier. It caused me some unpleasant moments while waiting for my superior to decide if they will manage one day without me. They did :-). And I had to pack my bag.
It was very useful to have the last years experience from Kuopio Olympic distance and to watch the video from the internet about last years competition.
We started our travel early and arrived in time to register peacefully, and place everything on T1 and T2 areas. We were at the T1 area with bikes before they even opened it! Every now and then we were bumping into our friends getting ready too. When everything was done, we went to the stadium area just in time to see some part of the sprint distance competition, while eating some potatos with sausages (pyttipannu). I kept thinking that now I am dry, warm, eating and relaxing, while others run wet and sweaty. And that tomorrow it will be pretty much the other way around.
Our hotel was far away, from social point of view, but it was good to relax there, get everything ready and go to sleep in time. The T1, T2 and extra bag – system made packing for the race clear and simple.
In the evening I wanted to speak but Jyrki was serious and concentrated, so I had to keep silent. In the morning I wanted to be silent and peacefully concentrate on my preparations, and Jyrki wanted to ask some questions, so I had to try to keep calm and concentrated in spite of necessity to interrupt my preparations to concentrate on what he was saying (I don’t like to do two things at a time. My husband claims that I can’t either.).
Due to my knee problem I took one Ibuprofen and taped my knees with nice red kinesthesia tape, that was of so week quality, that I could not stretch my femoral muscles after that without tearing it in pieces. Luckily it worked well until the end of competition, no need to stretch during the race.
I felt nervous but not too much. We came to the race area in time. Parked the car, took one of the early busses to the T1/start area and were there very early.
So there was a lot of time to stretch a little. I did no real warm up. That I should do next time may be it will really improve my performance. I wandered around, had nice chats with friends and went to the toilet about 4 times in 1 hour (that reveals that I must have been a bit nervous).
When we were entering the water, my heart rate was around 125. I tried to relax and swim peacefully. There was not so much of a crowd. I passed some pink hats (older gentlemen that started before us) and some white hats passed us (relay). It was relaxed to swim. A bit of a fun when the waves came, but it never interfered with my swimming or breathing. I remember that on the last straight before the end I thought that it’s boring, I don’t want to swim anymore. Then I gathered myself, concentrated and run fast out of the water and to changing area. I remember that Ilkka was there shouting to me that Jyrki is fine and is already out of water.
I grabbed my bag and sat down to change. Next moment Siru was there, sitting in front of me. She said that we both are very muddy, and that was true. So I picked two napkins that I had hidden in the T1 bag due to my tradition to always have napkin at my reach and we cleaned our faces. Than I run away. The run to the end of T1 went well, but in the end, trying to get on bike and change lap in my Polar I hit a stone of the fence with my front wheel almost falling. In my imagination I saw hope in the eyes of the first aid team that was standing near. “We get a first client!” But I disappointed them end kept my balance thus they didn’t yet get work to do.
I mounted my bike and of I went. I was so happy and excited! The road was disappearing under my wheels, my muscles were full of power, body full of energy, sun was shining and I felt flying. Luckily I had my Polar, telling me that my heart rate is too high for the beginning of a 90 km ride. So I calmed down and got a nice cycling rhythm. I was mumbling a song while riding, which is not usual for me, but it felt so good! I flied and passed one after another a lot of bikers. Up hill and down hill! It was such a fun! Some professional looking guys passed me, and I didn’t mind.
I didn’t mind uphill’s because it always meant downhill after, didn’t mind head wind, because it always meant tail wind later.
I remember shouting to a guy I passed during last 2 km-s: “Keep going fast! Its time to push the maximum during last kilometers!” And the guy answering: “But we have to run also!”.
Well, I have to admit that my plan was that my knee will probably get painful and I will have to interrupt running. But it didn’t get painful and I managed to run to the end.
It was painful, sweaty and hard physically and mentally to fulfill the distance but in the end the experience was incredible! It felt so great that as soon as we got home, I registered to the Mallorca 70.3 race.