Lessons learned from a first triathlon

Poppy Sports fan and dear friend, Sarah Hardman, shares the experience of her first triathlon late this summer in Kent, UK.

Lessons learned from my first triathlon – 7 Oaks Sprint Triathlon
by Sarah Hardman, Runner, Cyclist, Swimmer and now Triathlete, oh and Marketing Guru at The British Library

Swim
Swim over… show me the bike

Pacing on the swim. Full of race anticipation and adrenalin I got a bit over excited and overtook the person in front of me on the second length – I had to stop to catch my breath half way through the forth so that I didn’t drown.

Transition. I had heard so much talk about the importance of “the transition” and had meticulously laid out all my gear. Unfortunately my top took on the form of a straight jacket as I wrestled to get it on – frustratingly adding a minute to my time.
Note to self – wear tops without arms.

Wheels. I was quite impressed that my 14 year old mountain bike passed the safety test (imagine the humiliation of being turned away!) but boy did I wish that I had a younger and lighter model when I was peddling up those endless steep Kentish hills.

Sevenoaks area. Cycled past a pretty country church as it chimed 8am and looked out over the beautiful rural view – since I had time to admire the view I wonder whether I was cycling fast enough…

The Run
Running strong in the Kent countryside

Legs of Lead. Nothing prepared me for the feeling that follows the cycle of having lead weights strapped to your legs while attempting to run through treacle – up hill.

I love Knole Park but even the deer gamboling across my path didn’t do much to distract me from the unbelievable effort it took to run the first 2 miles.

Saving a bit for the end. Thankfully I had been advised to walk up the very steep pathway leading up to the car park and the finish line – and managed an energy bean fueled sprint to the finish.

A huge feeling of achievement – and all before 9.30 in the morning.

And finally. Watch out for the lurking photographers – and try and look perky as you swim/cycle/run past them!

Triathletes All!
The victorious group!

The day saw a strong turnout from Oxted Runners with the following also competing:

Wendy Wilson, Glynis Doyle, Maria Adaway, Cathy Hayes, Mick Hayes, Barrie Fox, Paul Bowen, Paul Bryne
More info at: http://www.7oakstriclub.co.uk/7oaks-tri-race.html