Gillian White and Mary Macleod completed the North Berwick Triathlon, a novice distance event comprising a 250m pool swim, 9K cycle and 4K run. This wasn’t Mary’s first triathlon, but it was Gillian’s. Read her detailed report below and experience the event with her. Congratulations to both.
Gillian said: “I had decided on numerous occasions that I was going to withdraw from the North Berwick Triathlon. Although I’d made good progress in a couple of areas since January, I just didn’t feel anywhere near race-ready. So I emailed the organiser to withdraw, on the last day that they could re-allocate the place to someone else, and she somehow persuaded me to come down and give it a bash anyway… cue last minute panic! I knew that I could in theory make it through all the different elements, but I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. In the last few days I practiced what it might be like on race day with my swim coach and did my one & only brick session, cycle then run, so I had some idea how my legs would feel.
I was so nervous on Sunday, I’d not been on a start line in 2 years and it would have been about 6 years since I’d been on the start line as a newbie, I forgot how daunting it is to be new at these things. It was reassuring to have some company too as Mary was doing the race too, and she’d done it before.
The swim was just 10 lengths of a 25m pool, which was split into 5 lanes so you went up and down, ducked under the rope and then up & down the next lane, ducked under etc until you reached the end, so no need for any lane counting. As I was in the first wave you get a big clap when you get out of the pool from the next wave waiting to start (as I was actually last out of the pool I got a big cheer too!).
Running outside in your swimming togs was not as bad as I thought (I hate being cold), you’re so focussed on finding your bike and getting the transition right that I hardly registered the cold. I thought I was very organised for the transition but at over 3 minutes I could have undoubtably been faster. I think it was wobbling about trying to put my trainers on that slowed me up, plus choosing to put on an T-shirt and jacket (as I said, hate being cold). The cycle was a pleasant wee loop out into the countryside on quiet roads. The various ERN reports on the NB triathlon differ in their assessment of it’s elevation, I’d say it’s not as hilly as ‘humply’ but there are inclines. It turns out my spin classes hadn’t turned me into a great cyclist and I struggled a bit, especially on the last one through the Kingston. The next waves’ cyclists were quite supportive as they all whizzed up the hill though!
My second transition was a bit better although my legs nearly buckled when I got off the bike. The run was as clunky as expected. I was so glad I’d managed to squeeze in one brick session, as at least I knew what to expect – my legs didn’t feel tired as such, they just didn’t work, like they didn’t belong to my body (and unfortunately it wasn’t Mo Farah’s legs I had on loan). It is a really weird feeling, but thankfully it wears off. The run is pretty short (4K) but it was still a struggle for me after everything else before it. Thankfully though I got to the finish line. As I returned my chip and got a print-out of the breakdown of my times the organiser wanted a quick word as she’d been the one to persuade me to actually do it. From the other ERN reports again, I knew there wasn’t medals so I was prepared for no race bling to take home but then we got these, it’s one of the best mementos ever!
It’s definitely a good event, and a good one as a first tri, it’s small, friendly and the distances themselves are manageable so you can focus on tackling a new event.
So did I enjoy it? not much at the time, but that’s solely down to my own preparation. …but would I do it again? I kept thinking ‘never again’ throughout the cycle and the run, but we all know that feeling wears off and I just think I might!”