Monday, 10 November 2014

Karen writes: Panasonic at Maraetai

I thought I was a bit nuts signing up for the Standard distance triathlon at Maraetai beach yesterday, I mean I had run a marathon the week before and logic would say there should be some sort of impact. I felt fine however, and I figured that really I am meant to be fit given we plan on riding the 160km round the lake in two weeks time.

So I turned up on Sunday morning and it was an absolutely stunningly beautiful day.  The sea was completely flat, the temperature was mild, there was only the slightest breeze and not a cloud in the sky.  All of my doubts disappeared, it would have been such a shame to not take on the course, and also not to challenge myself a little bit.

There were no familiar faces, but when you struggle into a wetsuit you can usually find someone to zip you up and often start a conversation.  In this case with the family of a young woman, Amy, she was doing her first triathlon, the try-a-tri version.

The hooter went, I hung back so as not to spend too much time in the 'washing machine', but everyone shot off anyway and I quickly found myself wandering along by myself.  Lovely that was too, until I got lapped firstly by the other standard distance people, then secondly by the next group doing the sprint distance.  Someone got a good thump in on my archilles tendon while trying to swim over me, someone else barged me sideways as I rounded the huge buoy.  Now these buoys I always find horribly menacing, I sort of feel like I am going to get swallowed underneath the things, or wrapped up in their mooring ropes. They tower up above the water and rock away from you then over the top if you go close so being shoved under one was not nice.

Out of the water, up the carpet, and slip.  Thump down on my chest as I came up the half a meter step from the sand to the grass.  Ah well, I don't have any pride, but I was covered in sand by this which was more of a concern because I had forgotten to bring a towel.

On the bike, two laps out to the log cabin at Clevedon.  What a lovely ride, that bike is a dream, I must remember to reward it with a nice service... soon.  There was one person of note on this ride, a young fellow, wearing brown.  He would slow down to go up the hills, I'd pass, he would speed up and pass me, then slow down again.  He spent a lot of time fiddling with his earphones, and got yelled at by a marshal to take them out but put them back in when out of sight. He annoyed me until I decided he wasn't worth the energy.  So the whole two laps was pass, be passed, pass, be passed by this young man, till the end when I finally ditched him at Duders beach and set out to 'leave my legs on the road'.  I suspect he probably got me again on the run course, or perhaps he didn't.

The run was a hot 10km made up of three laps to Omana beach. By this stage the field had shrunk considerably.  I finished the event in 3 hours 13, a good time for me.  The swim was a bit slower than the last time I did it, the bike faster (perhaps thanks to brown shirt I now think), the run a fraction slower but I felt terrific.  As I sat with my girls under a tree listening to the prizegiving I heard a friends name read out.  She wasnt there to pick up her prize, how frustrating that would be.  I heard my number called out...hey, that was ME!  I got a brand new Timex Ironman watch, the first spot-prize I have ever won at one of these events.

There was a bigger prize though. In most of my photos I am wearing a carved bone pendant in the shape of a sea monster.  This was a gift to me well over 20 years ago, it normally goes with me everywhere, except when I am swimming.  Well on Sunday I lost it, I'm not sure how.  Some wonderful person however handed it in and I was reunited with my precious friend, I would have been devastated if I had never seen it again.