Well, if Pippa Middleton thinks she can take all the limelight and headlines by getting her medal for doing the run in the Team Triathlon at Blenheim, I think it’s only fiar that I borrow her silthe-like body for a bit of Photoshop creativity – thanks for that Wiggy. Pippa gets the paparazzi and headlines, I get her body, fair deal I think. Given that she’s apparently the most eligible woman (or should that be “lady”?) in the UK, that must now make me the most eligible Mangy Dog?
The Blenheim Tryathlon was a wonderful day out, and doing the individual Sprint event at a leisurely pace meant that I could chat as I went, avoiding getting too sweaty and seizures. Looking at the ridiculously fast times that some competitors achieved, it’s clear that they missed the opportunity of chatting with friends, admiring the scenery, enjoying the weather and smiling and waving to the enthusiastic crowds of supporters. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the event: the green-looking lake was a much enjoyed chill-out after the battle with the wetsuit and lube, and I was amazed how quickly one can heat up in a black rubber suit in the midday sunshine, and plunging into the green lake was a treat.
In the weeks prior to the event, my wetsuit hung on a coat-hanger in my bedroom. Every time I looked at it, I am sure it got smaller. It is no joke, but before trying to get into my wetsuit at the triathlon event itself, over six months passed since I tried it on in the shop in Fort William, whilst killing time after having the CT scan of my head to try when I had the misdiagnosis of “depression” with the debilitating headaches, nausea and vomiting.
I am sure we had one of those fancy new fish-nibbling pedicures for free whilst we were treading water awaiting the start hooter. There was no sprint in my sprint start. We jostled for prime position at the back, taking the outside racing line so as to avoid any wake or being swum over by the subsequent wave of triathletes who would set off twenty minutes after us. Massive respect and congratulations to my rugby friend Ginge (a.k.a. Sarah) who, after 38 years of living with a fear of water, overcame this and learnt to swim so that she could take part in the event. She and others had taken the whole thing so seriously that they had swimming
lessons. My style and stroke was somewhat more laid-back. If I had any hair on my head, it would have been pretty much dry even without the swimming hat they made us wear, when I finished my swim as I did it in the style of an old lady: gentle breaststroke. 750metres of leisurely breaststroke, with no pushing of the side every 25metres, took me just under half an hour. Chappers (a.k.a. Clare) my Go Slow competitor companion explained to me that I should be swimming mostly with my arms, so as to save my legs for the next two disciples. I must admit, I tried, but pretty much went backwards without my legs, so resumed using all four limbs.
Getting out of the lake was an event in itself, but miraculously, I’d managed to make my legs work in an upright position again, and was amazed that we hadn’t been overtaken by any of the next wave of competitors, though they were chomping at our feet like the
little pedicure fishes.
Next to “run” barefoot for about a kilometre along Hessian mat (possibly to finish the pedicure) to “transition”. At this point, one begins to try and get out of the wetsuit, pretty comical, and not pretty. I found my spare four-pack of Guinness. My transition times were not impressive, but I felt it was important to dry in-between my toes before putting my socks and trainers on and getting properly dried and dressed in my bike and run outfit. If it hadn’t been for the audience, I’d have taken time to cleanse, tone and moisturise too, but it seems that isn’t the done thing in these events.
The cycle was 20 kilometres, made up of three laps of a rural contoured loop, around lakes, through woods and pastures. Spring lambs frolicked and laughed at me as I remembered how to use the gears on my bike. It was almost a year since I’d last been on my bike for a proper ride, and by the end of the third lap, my undercarriage could tell, my saddle was not very well prepared to be honest. We managed the 20km in an hour and 10 minutes.
Lance Armstrong would not have been impressed with me and the yellow lycra top I was wearing wasn’t warranted from the perspective of a usually cycling event. I did impress myself though, as I over-took four cyclists, none of whom were mending punctures or pushing their bikes, I promise they were all pedalling and everything.
The last leg, the 5km run, the bit where I had most experience, or so I thought. But running, straight after cycling and swimming with no training and whilst on chemotherapy, is a bit like learning to walk as an infant. Initially it felt like a very different experience to the running I remembered when I was doing it regularly. It wasn’t quick though, and barely a bead of sweat was induced. It was more of a joggly-joggy-walky-type motion than a Paula Radcliffe-esque stride-out bounding motion. I got a Personal Worst for my run, my slowest ever 5km, clocking in at over fifty minutes. “I could have probably have walked it faster” I hear you say. You are probably right.
Nonetheless, a Personal Best was set for my first ever Sprint Triathlon: 2 hours 45 minutes (which includes the transition times for those of you who spotted that the sum of the three disciples being less that than that). What a feeling… I did shed a tear on completion. My medal is similar to Pippa Middleton’s, but not worthy of a Headline.
Massive thanks to those Rochettes and rugby friends who took part and raised money for Isobel Hospice and Cancer Research UK, and to the supporting possie who provided a pic-nic spread that replaced all the calories burnt and many more. A pint of Murphy’s and cake was the perfect recovery combo. Big thanks to Niki for registering me last summer, before my cancer diagnosis, and for persuading me that it was a good idea. Massive thanks to Chappers for keeping me company and safe the whole way around the
course, and for giving me tips on what to do if you need a wee or more when wearing your wetsuit. Well done to those who took part in the Team and Individual events, particularly those who overcame fears and phobias of training, rubber, lycra and water. Who’d have thought you could have so much fun in rubber and lycra? There was no drowning, no rescuing, no punctures and no tumbles. Just a bit of mild sunburn, the general feeling of too much lycra and rubber for ladies with curves, much pic-nicing, laughter and a good excuse for re-carb’ing.
Vix Try Again
Who is up for it next year? If you fancy it, here’s the link to enter either as a team or an individual. If you say that you are part of a bigger group (Team Vix) we will hopefully get to start in the same wave. Here’s the link: http://www.theblenheimtriathlon.com/
My personal aim is to still fit in my wetsuit, and to get a new PB. Newcomers and novices are most welcome to join the fun and low-level competition in Vix Try Again. You don’t need fancy kit, just a bit of bottle and sense of humour.
The good news is that my pre-Try scan was looking better than the one before done at the start of chemo, so a trend in the right direction. The doctor was very happy with me, and my gently working plans, and my move home. The Chemo Tournament continues and has just hit a centaury with over a hundred days of play. Vix continues to be a force for Chemo to score against,
with only some fatigue scores, the score-line currently standing at 92-19 to Vix.
Would you believe it that in total, since my diagnosis seven months ago, we have raised over £28K for charity: what a fantastic start. Thanks to your support and spreading the word, I have been touched by the messages of friends-of-friends, and for your continued messages and calls.
Wiggy-webmaster has kindly put lots of pictures from the triathlon (Vix Big Events/Vix Big Triathlon) and a new tab on the bloggy-webby-site jobbie, so that those of you who have taken to “musing” can share too (your bog musings).
Take care of you and yours, and do let me know your news.
Live, Love, Laugh and lots of Lycra,
Big kisses and bone-crunching hugs
P.S. Do let me know if you are going to the RWC in NZ later this year.