Hats off to Rosie at Hatfield tri!

Having spent 90 minutes meticulously packing and then checking the contents of
my car it was time face the fact that there really was no going back. After a
night of broken sleep I jumped in the car and made my way to Hatfield Water Park
to set up for the race. I was allocated my place in the second wave, with all
the remaining females from what I could gather.  Pink swimming hats and T-shirts
were distributed very efficiently and it was officially time to start panicking!

I grabbed all of my gear from the car and once I finally passed transition
security I eventually found my place in the racks as basic number ordering
skills were apparently beyond me at this stage of the day.  A very kind lady
could see my blind panic and talked me through the racking system of bikes
facing alternate ways and where I should put my kit. A few tips from some more
passing competitors and I was feeling a little calmer. I decided to walk the
exit route from transition to try and minimise later confusion and it did make
me feel better.  The briefing took place as planned however although I heard
every word of the instructions it was simply far too complex and it was at this
point that I was glad that I had driven around the course the previous day so
that I had a good idea of where I would be going on the bike.

I watched the first wave start the swim and felt strangely calm and as we
entered the water this feeling remained. That is until the starting klaxon
sounded while I was still chatting to the woman next to me and all of a sudden
there was water and bubbles everywhere. Despite this, I tried to get into a
rhythm, frustrated that the person in front wouldn’t go any faster shortly
followed by rage that one competitor seemed determined to use me as a personal
surfboard. After 2 mins of being repeatedly bashed from one side I decided to
stop, let them past and then resume my race. This left me placed between the 2
main groups with plenty of space and minimal stress. I rounded the first and
second buoy without a problem despite them being very difficult to see. The
third was a little more complicated as it completely blended into the shoreline.
At this point I realised that rather than stop and look for it I would just have
to follow the masses and hope for the best. Sticking down the mid-line of the swimmers that I could see,  I was lucky enough to take a good line to the buoy and then head straight for the exit point. With minimal crawling I managed to stand and even jog to transition.

T1 was a lot easier than I thought and before I knew it I was jogging my way to
the mount line. The mount could have been smoother but I was soon on my way and
feeling good. The wind did not make the bike leg easy. Whilst it was nice to
have a back wind down a very long straight it had not escaped my attention that
the leg along the A18 would have a significant head wind; and it did! I made
time for a gel on the bike just before returning for T2. I was ridiculously
breathless upon arrival at the racks again but I persisted in changing as
quickly as possible and then headed out for the dreaded run!

Almost immediately my legs seized. I could barely lift them from the floor but I
had to get out of the park and away from my adoring public and so I carried on
but stopped as soon as I was out of sight. With stabbing pains in my shins and
an apparent inability to breathe I decided that a combination of running and
walking would be my only viable option for the next 5k. It seemed to work.

Whilst the time I set for completion came and went I was determined to finish
and finish I did! My total time was by no means record breaking but it was still
a result. Well done to all club members that took part. Hope to see some of you
at the club relays in a few weeks time.