The tubby triathlete triumphs! After more than 6 months of training, worrying, surfing the internet for “tips” and spending huge amounts of money on kit I don’t need, I’ve finally done my first triathlon!!  How was it? Well, the swim was OK, the bike ride was great, and the run was awful, but overall I think I loved it (I didn’t decide that until it was over though!)

That wetsuit….

My biggest concern had been the wetsuit and the swim. I’d been worried about there being a big crush at the start and me getting kicked, or swum over (apparently quite common) but I managed to avoid all that. I think because I was in a “woman only” wave and we were pretty much all beginners so there was lots of “after you”, “no, after you”. The wetsuit was actually fine.

I was a bit self-conscious about how I looked, but I was with 100 other women of all different shapes and sizes. So I was glad to see I wasn’t the one token tubby triathlete, and that made me feel much better. Despite taking lessons and practicing crawl for hours on end, I did end up doing mostly breast stroke. Mainly because I was so nervous that I ended up taking really short panicky breaths for most of the swim, and I was convinced I’d drown if I tried to swim crawl

tubby triathlete triumphs- the swim

not the token tubby triathlete I was worried about being


The clock is ticking

My second biggest worry was the timings. There were strict deadlines around when you needed to be through each discipline. If you were still on the course when it got to those times you were stopped and not allowed to continue.  I was convinced I’d be close to the cut-offs and spent most of the week beforehand worrying about how embarrassing it would be if I got pulled off the course. Then a friend said to me; ‘Did Not Finish’ is loads better than a ‘Did Not Start’” which actually make me feel much better.

As it turned out I was comfortably ahead of the cut-offs.  The transition between swim and bike did take me a pathetic 9 minutes. Partly because I had to run 0.25miles in a wetsuit & bare feet to my bike, but mostly because of an embarrassing incident when I was trying to get my wetsuit off in a hurry, got both my feet stuck, fell over and rolled around on the grass like an upturned turtle as I couldn’t stand up again.


The easy bit

Once I’d eventually got out of my wetsuit it was onto the bike. I loved the cycle ride. It was really fun to ride through the streets of my hometown, with no traffic and the roads lined with people cheering. I may have to take up pro cycling as I’ve now decided I’m not riding anywhere unless the roads are closed and I’m cheered the whole way – it makes riding up a hill much more acceptable!

tubby triathlete triumphs - the cycle

I definitely didn’t feel a tubby triathlete smashing through the cycle

The hard bit

The cycle course was great, really fast and with a lovely downhill run into the city centre, but that probably lulled me into a false sense of security. I rode into the final transition from bike to run thinking I was nearly done, “just” a little run and I’d be finished. Then I got off my bike!!

I’d read about “jelly legs”, the phenomenon where your legs give way when you go straight into a run from your bike but, despite practicing the transition loads of times, I’d never actually experienced it. I can safely tell you- it’s horrible. I knew that all I could do was run through it but my legs felt like they wouldn’t move and I could hardly drag them off the floor. I kept remembering what Jennie had been drilling into me for months about keeping my head up and breathing properly and somehow I got round. Probably my slowest ever time and there were bits I walked but I got round!

Tubby triathlete triumphs

the run was the hardest part, but I managed it

The not so tubby triathlete finally triumphs

And then I was finished. My final time was 1hr 30min and 5 seconds. I was 62nd out of 128 in my group, comfortably in the middle of the pack and a long way from being last (another worry!) I’m really pleased I did it and I’m massively proud of my achievement, it really does show that you don’t need to be a size 8 to be fit and healthy.  I was probably one of the biggest people competing (not the biggest though) but I was far from the slowest. And thanks to the fact that I’d trained properly it wasn’t as physically demanding as I feared (apart from the run, and I felt fine the second I finished) and I’m really proud of that.

I cant finish without saying a massive thank you to all the people that helped me along the way. Whether it was training advice, moral support , running with me, sponsoring me, coming along on the day to cheer me on, or just convincing me the wetsuit wasn’t as awful as I thought. I really appreciate all the hep and support, and would never have done it without you all.

A special huge thank you to Jennie for putting my training plan together and convincing me I could do it when I doubted myself. And all my thanks to David for listening to me talk/complain/worry about triathlons for 6 months and for cajoling me/shouting at me/supporting me as necessary.  I especially appreciated the glass of champagne he brought me when I was relaxing in a hot bath afterwards!

What next? 

So now I’m thinking what next? Will I do another one? There’s a big part of me that very much wants to be the sort of person that does triathlons, but I also realise I’m not a natural cardio bunny and, apart from riding my bike, I actually much prefer doing gym type stuff. So who knows, but let’s just say I’ve been sent a £25 off voucher for entrance to next year’s event, and that 5 seconds over the 1hr 30 mark? That really bugs me……

tubby triathlete triumphs

Tubby triathlete triumphs


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