Me ? Do a Triathlon ? Yes I did !
Read his story ….
Well I am coming up to the end of my first season in Tralee Triathlon club and what a year it has been!
My journey to become a triathlete began last Summer when I was out in Fenit and I had my first look at what a triathlon involved . Fancy bikes, wetsuits were order of the day but overall what I liked was the support of the crowds and fellow club mates that seemed to will the competitors on. That was in August and it was not until December I plucked up the courage to make contact with the club to get started. The reason for the hesitation was my very poor swim background. I could only muster one or two lengths and in my head you had to swim like a dolphin before you could even consider joining the a triathlon club. How wrong I was ….
After a few emails to the club’s committee I joined the club last December. The running sessions on Wednesday evenings was where my first steps towards my first triathlon began. The next hurdle to overcome was the big one for me and that was the swim. I signed up for coached lessons on Friday evenings and once these were finished I also signed up for 7 am morning training sessions. My first goal from these sessions was the obvious, not to drown, and this was achieved
What I can say to anyone reading this and thinking of joining the club or completing a triathlon is join in coached swimming sessions. To say I was nervous on the first lesson was an understatement but it is simply amazing with some encouragement and some simple hints and tips how quickly you develop and after only a few weeks 10 lengths is difficult but possible. The support from all around you at these sessions is just fantastic and there are swimmers of every ability in the club and there are even a few I believe were dolphins in another life. The sessions are fun, even with Mary roaring ” Did I tell you to stop swimming!”. The good news is that after only a few weeks my goal was not alone not to drown but also to get a Sprint distance triathlon completed.
The running and swimming sessions continued during the week and there was also a cycle on a Sunday. The training was going so well that in the New Year I signed up for my first triathlon. It was the Joey Hannon triathlon in Limerick. A sprint distance event; 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run. This was a great triathlon to start as the swim takes place in a pool and not the open water. It’s a big event and lots of cub members take part so there is great support . It’s during the run up to the event and on the day of the event itself that you realise how important it is to be part of a club. The support, advice and encouragement that you receive is just remarkable.
Triathlon is an individual event, you have to get into the water and swim, you have to get on the bike and cycle and you have to put on the runners and run but the support of club members in the build up and on the day of the event is what makes it memorable. From traininig nights, social nights out !! , equipment advice there is always someone there if you need any advice or support.
The Joey Hannon triathlon takes place in Limerick on the UL campus. I was nervous in the run up to the event. Had I done enough swimming? Would I finish? Would I embarrass myself? How would transition go? etc. I was very fortunate to be asked to take another member of the club with me to the event in Limerick. I had never met Suzanne before but she helped me to register, set up my transition and settle the nerves on the day. The event was a large one with hundreds taking part but again the atmosphere was just fantastic. When my tri a tri wave was called I entered the pool and before I knew it we were off. All the training had paid off and before I knew it I was getting a tap to say one length left. Out of the pool and then on to the bike and lastly the run around the UL campus. I can honestly say that the sense of achievement when you cross the line for your first triathlon is truly unique and worth every tough training session.
I was now hooked and I took the next step of signing up for my first open water triathlon in Valentia. Swimming in the open water again for me was a tough hurdle to overcome. I had never put on a wet suit and gone for a swim in the open water. It all began with the Sunday swimming sessions in Fenit.
Again it is a credit to the club the way that new starters are looked after in these first few swims. All the new swimmers are paired up with experienced members. Some of the new swimmers went only up to their waist and some ventured out beyond but always with and experienced swimmer in tow. After all of these sometimes cool swims there was tea, cakes and banter was a great way to get to know club members and make the training a very social occasion. Again within a few weeks of persistence and training I was able to complete 750m however slow.
Once I got confidence in the open water I went on to complete the Valentia IslandTriathlon, the Landers Tralee Triathlon (our own club event in Fenit), Little Bo Peep Triathlon an Olympic distance event (1500m swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) in Kenmare and the Killarney Triathlon an Olympic distance triathlon for my 40th birthday.
This was beyond any expectations I had when I joined the club in December and would not have been possible without the support of many people in the club.
I hope that anyone who reads this will see that anyone who wants to complete a triathlon has the ability to do so. You may have never ran a kilometer or cycled a bike or even swam a few lengths of the pool but if you are willing to put in a bit of effort and put in some training, with the support of the Tralee Triathlon Club it is achievable.
Can’t wait for my second season …
Damian Morrison – Tralee Triathlon Club Member
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