Firstly, thank you to Brian and NewToTri for bringing me on board as a contributor. i hope to share my tiathlon experiences with you as they happen.
I’ll start by introducing myself and tell you how I got addicted to the triathlon game. My name is Darren and I’m 31 years old. I happened upon triathlon almost by accident. It was the chance remark from a work colleague who made me investigate the sport a little more. I had began doing a little bit of cycling on a Trek hybrid bike around the beginning of 2011 to lose a little bit of weight. I had shocked myself a couple of weeks earlier when i tipped the scales at 110.7kgs, not great a 5ft 10″ man! Eventually I started building up my distances on the bike and the weight began to slowly move. It was at that point my work colleague asked “have you ever considered a triathlon?”. Out came Google mobile and the research was on!!
While Google’ing triathlon, I came across TriAthy which caught my eye. It was ideal as it held the novice Try-a-Tri race which I felt would be a perfect race to try and see how i liked it. Two days later i was registered and rearing to go. So the cycling and weight loss continued and i soon ran into my first obstacle, the bike. While a very nice, good quality bike, it was slow and heavy and the bug had already started biting. It was time for a trade-in. The Trek was soon replaced with a shiny new GT road bike. Time to kick the training into gear!!!
The cycling was becoming easier the more I was doing it but soon it was time to begin run and swim training. At the beginning I found both disciplines quite tough due to my weight. I was suffering with sore joints and shin splints while running. Thankfully as time went on and the weight continued to drop I found these getting easier by the session. It was time to take it up a level as Athy was fast approaching.
By the end of April, start of May last year, I began training with the dreaded brick sessions. I vaguely remember falling in a heap in my front garden after my first one and beginning to question my sanity, and that of every other triathlete out there!!
At this stage the triathlon bug had well and truly bitten. By the end of April I had dropped almost 14kgs in weight, was much more energised and fitter than I had been in almost 10 years. I was devoting about 6 hours to training every week and thanks to a shift work roster, was able to get in training sessions in all 3 disciplines. So it was time to get kitted out properly. I added an Orca trisuit, Zoot Fusion wetsuit and a pair of Zoot tri shoes to my gear and already began to feel a bit more like a seasoned triathlete, without having even raced yet!!. I had already decided that win, lose or DNF at Athy, I was going to race again that summer so registrations to TriAthlone, the TriGrandPrix and Dublin City Triathlon were submitted. Definitley no turning back now! And so Athy arrived!!
Ive been nervous before, we all have, but this was a new feeling. This was a big step into the unknown. Gear was checked about 100 times on the day before and day of the race, Google was bombared for nutrition ideas and I was a complete bag of nerves.
When we arrived in Athy, there were what seemed thousands of triathletes everywhere. The atmoshere was incredible. Bike was checked and racked, gear layed out and all that was left now was to wait for the start. Thankfully I was in wave 1 so I didnt have long to wait.
Although only a 400m swim, it had the washing machine sensation at the start. Arms and legs were flying in all directions. The swim leg went well though and I exitted the water to T1 in 7th position. The bike leg was where I felt I was strongest and I was lucky that I made some progress here and I was 2nd coming back into T2. The run was easily the most difficult discipline on the day. I finished 8th in my wave that day but the sense of achievement was far more satisfying. The final standings showed that i had finished 9th in my age category and 37th overall out of almost 200 entrants, just 3 minutes behind the overall winner. It capped a truly incredible day and to say the triathlon bug ahd bitten, never to let go is a huge understatement!