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My first proper triathlon: Amsterdam Nieuw West olympic distance

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Topic: Sport  |  Series: The Lowlands
I remember the day as if it was yesterday. The Day when I decided to become a triathlete. It was an early November Friday noon and I was on a soon-to-become regular training with Janine in a swimming pool in Amsterdam Oost. Finishing the session being full of endorphins I made a sudden decision: Let’s tri-race! (Actually the decision sounded more like Let’s complete a HalfIronMan in 2014! which turned up to be a rather brave decision.)

First month and a half that followed went smoothly as I jumped into 10 hours/week training schedule. However, by Christmas my body went on strike signalling its doubt about this tri-thingie by a strong pain in my groin. Three months later, when I have eventually killed that leg pain by an excessive use of massage spiky balls, it was my shoulder who started to get mad from my efforts to follow some of Janine’s IronMan swimming sessions. With a month to go to my first tri-race in Amsterdam my body was half dysfunctional again. I was wondering if I can ever be in a full tri-swing. However, I continued the training as hard as I could finishing it with the two-weeks-pre-race-off.

All this time I was randomly telling people that "I do triathlons." Which was only half way true as my first tri-race to complete was still about to come. The day D of the tri-debut finally came on Sunday 8th June with the Amsterdam Nieuw West olympic distance triathlon to conquer.

I was really glad to arrive two hours in advance as I spent half of the time before the race figuring out where to pick up the chip and hunting the transition area. Once both found I could focus on getting the racing stuff ready. I was a mixture of emotions: excitement, joy, jitters, confusion. Checking with the others I prepared my bike and running accessories and put on the wetsuit. Someone asked me if I am a professional triathlete... Haha, no way – a newbie instead!

And here we come – a crowd getting into water! I don’t expect to swim any fast, so I stay rather in the back of the field. Hell, its exactly as I was told: arms and legs everywhere hitting me as the racers start to move forward. And I flow with them. Getting over the bodies of even slower swimmers I gasp. After some 200 meters I find my pace and keep focusing on breathing. For my record, sighting is definitely a thing to improve for the next time! Shoulder does not disappoint me even thought the right arm feels somewhat weaker.

I am getting out of water on the wave of adrenalin and endorphins: Wow, I made it through the swimming! After first running steps I stumble on my feet. Running after hard swimming is apparently not that easy especially when you have a rubber wetsuit to take off. I make it to my bike. I get on the helmet, glasses, shoes, gulp down a bite of an energy bar and rush out of the T1.

Hop on the bike and off I go pedaling to the bike course. I knew bike would be my strongest discipline and I do feel pretty good. Eight laps to complete. Someone mentioned we have to count the laps ourselves so I attached my Garmin watch on the handlebar just before the start. Lucky me I realize as I am lost with the counting after two (or so) laps. The track is quite technical with lots of curves. Too many people so not-drafting approach is almost impossible. I cheer up every time I pass the ATAC team supporters. These folks are doing amazing job!

Garmin shows 42K – time to move to the transition area again and change the shoes. I don’t feel very tired when putting on my runners but after first few steps in those I know it’s gonna be the longest 10K ever.

4 laps. Fortunately the ATAC cheerleaders are standing next to the track and I pass them twice every go. I try not to surrender to the pain in my heavy legs and smile to convince my head I am having great time. Meanwhile the Sun is working on a proper tan. Body getting warmer making the run even more challenging. The last turn and am heading to the finish. The ATACers along the track are just amazing and I actually AM having great time as I am passing them last time on my way to the finish line. So cool being there! I love this enjoyable exhaustion! Finally I can say it: I do triathlons! :)

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