So I survived.
I swam 750m in the Thames, cycled 20k and then ran a further 5k and survived. To be honest, half way through the swim I thought I was a gonner. Not nearly enough swim training and a nasty case of cramp in my right calf left me experiencing an unwelcome combination of pain, self-doubt and a-desire-to-just-give-up-and-sink. But I swam on and eventually hauled myself out of the water like a recently-reanimated corpse. I’d like to think it was inner strength and steely determination that got me there, but won’t discount the impact of a roaring crowd and my hatred of any sort of failure in front of others.
Several awkward and squishy minutes of wetsuit removal later and I was out in the East London air once more, cycling as fast as my little legs would carry me. Actually, that’s not quite true. Once I exited the murky depths of the Thames, I was so delighted to have survived that I relaxed into the cycle and treated it like more of a bike ride in the country than a competitive sporting event. I was possibly the only person singing Gershwin showtunes to myself as I cycled.
The run was always going to be my favourite part of the event and I managed a decent time for the 5k, considering what had gone before. I sprinted across the finsh-line, spurred on by the ease with which I could cruelly run past competitors far older than myself.
And then it was over. A medal was thrust into one hand, a bottle of Gatorade into the other. I welcomed both and drank the correct one.
Overall: a fun day out and one that I want to repeat in the future. Before then, though – lots more swimming practice. I’ve already signed up for the London Duathlon and another Clapham Common 10k. Slightly worried I’m getting addicted to competitive sport all of a sudden…
Could be worse…could be crystal meth.