Mrs Dobber’s Blenheim Palace Journey……….
So after 2 years of being a WAG I thought it was about time to see what this racing malarkey was all about. So which triathlon do you pick? I wanted one that was far away (so no one would come and see me make a plonker of myself) and one that Dobber hadn’t done so my super-fast time wouldn’t upset his previous ones ;-)! It also had to be flat! So Blenheim it was! Although quite expensive I knew I would get value for money with my time….none of this ‘let’s go as fast as I can to get finished quick’…why pay that much and not look at the scenery. So triathlon booked and hotel booked in October, June is soooo far away! I plodded along with my training and before I knew, it was 10 weeks away. OMG…..with no direction to my training it was time to call a professional and if he could get me over the finish line he certainly knew what he was doing! So a phone call to Steve Clark (all top triathletes go to Offthatcouchfit)! Within a couple of days an email arrived with my plan…..what……burringham duathlons….time trials….noooooooo! But what the plan said I had to do! (On a serious note, big thanks to Steve for the plan as without it I might still be swimming now).
Training was going really well, with 3 weeks to go a trip to Wales was planned (with training) and I thought it would be good to pull my back, then get flu, before I knew it two weeks had gone by and I had a week to go…..yikes. A quick couple of dips in the reservoir as prep, a couple of last minute runs and a time trial, it was time up.
Car packed and ready to go! As we got nearer to Blenheim the more butterfly’s I got, then I saw the sign and I felt sick. What was I thinking….I can’t do a triathlon, that’s Dobbers job! However Dobber stepped up to the mark again and cooked chicken pasta on a camping stove in our hotel room! Got to carb up!
Saturday morning soon came round with Dobber taking charge of everything whilst I was trying to portray an image of happiness. Porridge, strawberries and lots of water, chicken wraps to eat later. Bike on the roof and it was off to the palace.
What an amazing place for an event! The atmosphere was fab. Walking down to transition was surreal, walking into transition was even more so! It was huge. How was I going to remember where my bike was. Row K down to the end. Bike on the rack….OMG which side do I put my trainers? Phone call to Dobber……”excuse me, lady in the black jumper and blue nails, no phones in transition can you put it away”. Whoops BTF official telling me off! So after a few hand signals, I sorted my kit out and then did what all pros do walk from swim entrance to bike!
Time to relax, time for Ellie to race……run, bike, run. Ellie came first! Wahoo! She made it look easy! It was now time to walk to the swim start. Butterflies starting, feeling sick. Do I really have too? Angie B was starting in the wave before me. I wonder where she was? Then I spotted her, shouted quietly (as I do) hello….a hug of luck and Angie went into the holding pen. Ohhhh no soon be my turn. Dobber said it was time to put the wetsuit on. Now I felt like a real pro…..Dobber oiling my legs up, Kev massaging my shoulders…Mel taking pictures. Wetsuit on…Disaster struck for Dobber….. no Twitter signal! Least of my worries. Ever had that feeling when you are about to go on a roller coaster. That feeling of fear and a bit of excitement….that’s what I felt. A big hug from Dobber as I started to crumble. He then gave me comfort in the words of MTFU! Get in and smash it.
Now after thinking I had slid into the water gently from the pontoon I sunk at least 1ft down…..wow it’s deep. What a great view, all those people cheering on the hill. Come on Clair swim to the start line, stay at the back. “Ohhh look there are all my family and friends.” Busy trying to wave at them I didn’t hear the hooter and off everyone went, whoops. Here we go. With a great feeling of, yes there is one person behind me, yes for once I’m not last! Then I hear, “I can’t do this get me out”. Last person pulled out, bugger I am last now. The one good thing about being last is you get your own kayaker, terry pulled alongside me and introduced himself, for the rest of my swim we chatted and he made sure I was safe. Before I knew it I was at the turn buoy (they are big up close) and on the home straight. Now getting out is different, a floating platform, so it just made your legs wobble more! Yes I had done it! Swim done.
Now I should say….Blenheim Flat……whatever, wobbly legs and a 400m trek to Transition 200m uphill (climbing kit should have been available). I started up the hill, a familiar noise getting louder, wahoo, Cowbells. Turning a corner I was greeted by my supporters, family and friends shouting. What a fab feeling. This is awesome. I even started to run. Into Transition. No worry of not finding my bike, it was the last one on the row. Who cares, this is great. Transition done and off on the bike. Yes downhill out of T1….hang on if I am going down now I have to come up again! It’s supposed to be flat! Oh well. A slow uphill, followed by a long downhill followed by stupid mile uphill. (People did walk up it, I didn’t)! A nice flat section round back to the Palace and to a new feature to triathlon, dismount-walk-mount (a bus had hit the scaffolding pedestrian bridge and H & S had to take over). Back onto the nice slope past Transition, lap one done, this is awesome…love it! Lap 2 and 3 completed, wahoo back to T2. Bike racked…school boy error…where is run exit? So I walked swim to bike but not bike to run…..Dohh!! Finally spotted the exit off I went. Up the steep bridge to see my supporters below. Loving the moment I stopped and did a dance and ran down the bridge onto the run route! Only 5km to go! What a surprise a steep downhill and a long uphill on each lap. However with the support I got it was ACE! Coming round past the palace for the last time was amazing feeling. Up the huge finishing Shute high fives for family and friends, it felt like I was finishing an Ironman. (It was my Ironman) Over the finish line! Bloody Hell I had only gone and done it!
What’s next…..well I have a transition time to beat there 8:51!
Thank you to everyone for your messages of support and sponsors. Thank you to Clarky for the plan that got me to the finish line. Big thanks, love and hugs to Mel and Kev for coming down to cheer me on. Mega Big hugs and love to my girlies. To my Dobber…really wouldn’t have done it without you, love you!
Finally Christian Brown that Tri was for you x