Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Getting My Slice of the Action...Triathlon Style!

My husband began to train and compete in triathlons about 6 years ago.  Since then our home now houses his bikes, training gear and other 'essential items' that come along with this 3 discipline sport.  I still think that he owns more running and cycling shoes than all the shoes in my closest put together?!

I have a very deep respect for what he does; swimming great lengths, cycling across long stretches of road, up steep inclines for extended periods of time and then topping it off with running a few laps of whatever venue or area that particular race covers...all in the matter of a few hours!  Well, more like half a day if it's an Ironman distance.  Yes, he has competed in and finished 2.  Incredibly proud triathlete wife!

Yet, that is only what he does on race day.  People don't see what goes on behind the scenes; the hours spent on the bike, in the lake, in pools, running in all the glory that is our British weather system.  The blisters, the injuries, the recovery, the treatments needed.   Their bodies go through a great deal of (self-inflicted) torment.

I know what kit he needs, I know what time he should do for each part of the race and get worried if he is off by a second.  

What do I do when he races?  I'm the screaming, shouting, cheering wife standing on the sideline, chasing him around the course and making sure I'm at the perfect spot at the correct time to try and take a picture of him (if I can...don't ask...) and to show my encouragement and support while he strives to get the best time possible.  Our daughter takes part in all of this too and seeing the pure and genuine excitement in her face and to hear her shouting for her daddy is extremely rewarding.  IronKids starts at the age of 6 and I'm pretty sure she will take part in at least one race!

So, today being the Men's Triathlon in Hyde Park, I jumped at the chance to go along with hubby to watch it.  We arrived with friends at about 9.30 a.m. and found an excellent viewing point where we could see these incredible athletes on the bike and then as they ran past us to their glory.  What an incredible, electric atmosphere!    Unfortunately we missed the boat to book tickets to one of the local cafes in the park (one of my friends didn't though!  Booooo!) and so we didn't see the swim section as it simply wasn't in good viewing range.  

Being of dual British and South African nationality I cheered on the 3 British and 1 South African contenders with equal amounts of pride.  I think I even welled up at one stage.  Seeing them in the flesh was an experience second to none.

I find the sheer speed, determination, drive, concentration, perseverance, dedication and focus of all of these incredible athletes unbelievably inspiring.  I might not show it on the outside and may not actually want to take part in a triathlon but I find that if I ever struggle with something, I think about my husband, friends and these athletes and how they manage to simply push through the pain to reach their goal.

Hard work, dedication, hours of training and practise really do pay off.  You don't get good at something by sheer luck!  Well done to all the athletes that we saw today.  Simply amazing, every single one of you.  I'm Proudly South African today, and Proudly British too!


p.s. no snaps of the athletes as my iPhone battery went from 48% to 9% to 0% in record time....

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