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Beginner Sprint Member Profile

Me ? Do a Triathlon ?

Read his story ….

This time last year it had not even remotely occurred to me that I would be partaking in a triathlon within the coming year. I had joined up with the Born to Run club in Tralee and I was happily putting in the miles on weeknights and heading out early every Saturday morning for the long run. As the months passed I was running distances I had not thought possible.

It was a fantastic confidence boost and made me understand that the only limits were those that I placed upon myself. All of the training was leading up to the first Tralee International Marathon and it was within my sights. Then I got injured with three weeks to go. I had put in all of the training and had even completed the last long run, 21 miles! All that was left to do was my lap of honour on the big day. I was, needless to say, gutted.

The nature of my injury meant I could not run for the next ten weeks but I could do exercise that would have a low impact on my foot. I didn’t want all of the hard won gains over the previous months to go to waste so I turned to cycling and swimming. I picked up a second hand road bike from a friend and started out by heading from Tralee to Fenit and back. I took up swimming in the Sports Complex two days a week and gradually built up from there. But what I missed was training in a group. So I reached out tentatively to Tralee Triathlon Club and was invited to come along to one of their cycling training sessions. I joined the club the following week.

Over the following months I gradually built up my fitness and stamina and even started running again. I found that training in the three different disciplines was good for me in that I could train more often with less of an adverse impact on my body. Through training I picked up loads of tips from fellow club members and instructors. In May we started open water swimming in Fenit and soon we were doing “Brick” sessions, two disciplines back to back, e.g. a swim and a cycle, a cycle and a run. I bit the bullet and signed up for my first triathlon, Sneem on June 29th.

It was a Sprint distance (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run) triathlon. On the day I met up with other members of the club who gave me great support by helping me set up my gear properly and assuaging any fears I had. For the swim I went out in the second (slower) wave and concentrated on pacing myself so I wouldn’t overdo it in the first leg. From the swim I went into the transition area and changed out of my wetsuit and into my cycling gear. A quick run with my bike from the transition area and then onto the saddle and I started peddling for all I was worth. About a mile down the road I realised I had better slow down or I’d burn out pretty quickly. I settled into a good rhythm and made it back to the transition area in a reasonable time. I racked up the bike and now I was into what I considered my strongest discipline. I was only five minutes into the run when I realised this was going to be tough. From now on it was all about putting one foot in front of the other and grinding it out. I did it! All of the training had paid off. I was delighted. I really felt I had achieved something special.


I continued to train throughout the summer and did one more triathlon, Tri Kingdom Come, in Fenit on August 14th. All in all it has been a great experience so far and I would highly recommend you try it for yourself.

Norman Fitzgerald

Sprint Triathlon Finisher 2013

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