Last Sunday I groggily fell out of bed at the disgusting hour of 4:30 am, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, and crawled to get some food. Eating isn’t much fun that early in the morning, and my toast tasted like I had dropped it on the floor, which unfortunately I had.
Why was I crawling around on a Sunday morning at 4:30 in the morning? It was to compete in a triathlon. Triathlons are a painful cocktail of swimming, cycling and running, with some chafing and bleeding thrown in for flavour. Last Sunday I found myself, for the fourth time of the summer, at the start line of another one, at 6am.
While poised to start my triathlon, I wasn’t thinking about the hour and a half of pain in front of me, or the fact that my tight black suit made me look more like Cat Woman then Batman, but the unfortunate presence behind me. I had made an “Essendon-esque” error (too soon perhaps?) and failed to properly relieve myself during my jaunt to the powder room. So when the British-sounding starter bawled: “GO”, I clenched up and flung myself into the water.
Swimming with 100 hundred frothing bodies in a very confined course means that the first 150 metres become a vicious cock fight. By keeping my head on a swivel, I managed to avoid any long-term injuries while doling out my fair share of face kicking, feet tickling and some lethal elbow to face action.
This particular triathlon contained an anomaly. There was a brutal 3 kilometre run between the swim and the ride. So when I finally stumbled out of the water, I had an enormous hill between my bike and I. Midway through the run an excitable male sprinted past me and yelled: “RUN WITH ME”. As I struggled to match his pace he kept up a long, shouted stream of encouragement. Thinking I might have a friend for life I followed him all the way to the transition area where, after I get on my bike, I screamed past him without so much as a goodbye.
After losing my running friend I embarked on the first of 6 laps of a course featuring roundabouts, speed bumps and numerous competitors. Luckily, my irrepressible father had parked himself near the roundabout and each time I went round he made a very loud “Vrooooom”, laughed and waved his hands around like a monkey.
Family issues aside, I clumsily hopped off my bike and slid into my wet shoes for the final leg of the race. My feet slapped so hard into the pavement that the guy in a two piece in front of me looked back expecting to see Big Bird running after him, instead he probably saw a masculine Cat Woman.
I chugged into the finish line and my dad made a final, triumphant “Vroooom” and chuckled quietly to himself. I couldn’t laugh, as I was doubled over trying to breathe again. With all the excitement over by 8am, we had time to grab some breakfast and be back in bed by 9am.
Why, you must ask, would you punish yourself to do such a race, with the ultimate achievement being the ridiculous 3k swim/180k ride/42k run Ironman? Who knows, but if you want to give it a go, look up ANU Tri/Friends club on Facebook for more information.