When I told people I was participating in the Aquathlon in the run up to the race, the responses ranged massively from, “That’s great! Brilliant - good for you!” to something along the lines of, “Are you nuts? Surely that’s dangerous?”
Coach Ben picked me up just as it is was getting light and very kindly gave me a ride to the race. Once we were there we both saw so many familiar faces, chatting, greeting, milling around. We didn’t really talk about how I should pace the race – we’d done that last year and I was really just going to see how I felt.
This time last year, at the same race I was running sort-of-pregnant, carrying a tiny embryo that had been dead for about three weeks already. This year, I was carrying another, much bigger, 24 week old foetus that was definitely alive, wriggling and kicking! As we waited in the start pen my bump was really quite obvious under my stretchy, stretched to the max, trisuit. I had been looking forward to the race for ages and was just so, so happy to be there!
The first wave was small, I think there were only about 10 of us, which was great. It was cooler, the water wasn’t crowded and we had a 3 minute headstart on the men. I thought I would be able to swim fast enough – still at a fairly moderate effort – that only about 4-5 of the guys would pass me before the end of the swim. Turns out I was a bit slower that I had thought and I think about 10 must have passed me before I made it to the sand at the end of the M shaped swim course!
The run to transition was a little longer than in previous years and of course, uphill from the shoreline. I whipped off my goggles and cap as I was running and then pulled on my shoes, grabbed my race belt and sunglasses and put them on as I was making my way out of transition.
As soon as I got out onto the run course, Jacob and Trine were there cheering! It was great to see them, a really nice lift. Love Team Mates!!
There were lots and lots of men passing me, which made me feel even more like I was lumbering along more than actually running…
Winnie came past after a kilometre or so and as I was running along Tanjong Beach, I saw Claire coming back the opposite way towards the finish with a good few hundred metres lead on the nearest man and (almost literally) a mile ahead of the second woman. She looked soooo comfortable, absolutely killing it!
I kept plodding away, cheering on everyone I recognised, and breathing as best I could through the grin that was plastered on my face the whole way. I took a drink at every aid station and where it was water, tipped the remainder over my head in an attempt to keep cooler. It was really OK though, the sun was still quite low in the sky, there were a few clouds and quite a lot of trees shading the course.
As I crossed the finish line, the commentator gave the pair of us a special mention for finishing. I had a few cold drinks, chatted to a few more people and then went off to find Ben and my bag. My legs were burning from the sea-lice and I hadn’t seen my husband or the boys yet, so I thought I could quickly shower before they arrived. Of course, they arrived just as I got in the shower! I went back to the beach to meet them, just in time to see my friend and colleague Mark finish his race, then very shortly after, the women’s prize presentation started. Despite not placing particularly well over all, I managed to take second place in my category - bonus!
This has to be one of my favourite races. It's such a festive atmosphere, with party music and tents all over the beach and so many families playing on the beach and in the sea along the edge of the course!
We took the kids to a nearby theme park for the rest of the day. Then, so quickly, the weekend was over.
Thanks to Trine Wissum, Running Shots and JTDream for the photos