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Sprint Triathlon Challenge - Part 4

It was as if all the drama had been exhausted in the first two legs that my running laps were delightfully devoid of any. By now I was resigned to the fact that I was indeed going to be bringing up the rear end of our group, so there were few surprises. But each time I spotted a fellow 500-numbered vest, I quickened my pace. Sadly, the 500s had all but gone and despondency weighed my legs down to a slow plod. Only the sight of my motley group of cheerleaders (husband, son, friends and their kids), lifted the spirits. As I turned in to go for the last lap, I promised them that I'd be back very soon.

But with over a kilometre left to go, I was overcome with inexplicable lethargy. Even the sight of the finish line in the distance did nothing to spur me on. I will finish in my own time, my mind seemed convinced. And I went back to a slow jog. Until I heard someone gaining ground on me. Funny that I could isolate a particular footfall among several hundreds. It grew louder as she drew …

Sprint Triathlon Challenge - Part 3

Of the three disciplines, cycling was the one I was least worried about. The pressure was off me to perform. I had an instrument, a vehicle at my disposal. I only had to pedal and pedal and wheels would take me around the 20 requisite kms. How utterly wrong! I had completely overlooked the crucial aspect of choosing a good instrument. You cannot give a butter knife to a butcher and ask him to carve out a fine cut of meat. You can't paint a masterpiece with a toothbrush.

My husband's mountain bike that I had been training on was probably designed for rougher, more demanding terrain. It was woefully inadequate for the flat, tarmacked surface of the race. Cyclist after cyclist over took me and all I could do was huff more, puff more and grow more dispirited with every turn of the wheel. It took me close to an hour to do the 4 laps around the lake. Coming in to the transition area, I saw all the other bikes from the group that had started with me already racked in place. When I l…

Sprint Triathlon Challenge - Part 2

I attempted my first open water swim back in March. I had been doing a fair number of laps at our local pool and reckoned that swimming in a lake would be no different. What I didn't know then was that open water swimming was similar to regular swimming in the same way as cycling was to boxing. A completely different kettle of fish! A realisation that dawned on me as I lowered myself into the freezing waters that cold, cold spring morning. But having ventured into the lake, I was not about to get out without giving it a proper go. Within seconds of being in the water, my limbs had grown stiff and my valiant attempts at breast stroke succeeded in moving me a few pitiful metres ahead.

I was now in deep waters of depth unknown and had to keep moving ahead as there was nowhere to pull up. But by now, there was no way of getting back and I had to necessarily complete the lap swimming. The last leg was sheer terror as I had to swim at least 150 metres non-stop and my arms were starting …

Sprint Triathlon Challenge - Part 1

The most telling moment of my Triathlon challenge occurred right at the beginning when I was still racking my bike on the allotted spot. A couple of bikes from me was a lady with short cropped hair trying to zip her wetsuit up. Earlier I'd assumed that wetsuits were banned by the organisers because the water temperature was over 22 degrees (the maximum allowed temperature for wearing one). So when I approached her and asked her about it, she pointed to her chest and told me that because of her 'special condition', she would have to wear a wetsuit but clarified that it was indeed allowed for other competitors to wear one too.

It was then that I noticed her chest. Her left breast was flat where once there must have been a mound. It was probably the look on my face. 'I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008', she volunteered, 'and underwent a surgery a few months ago to remove it. This is my first race this season. I have to be careful where they operated on me'. …