Last Sunday I took part in my first triathlon at East Coast Park. Granted, it was a mini event – 200 m swim, 10 km bike and 2 km run – but it could just the mini impetus I need to get me started in the world of triathlons! I think that there is something quite mysterious about triathlons. It’s quite easy to find runners and cyclists in Singapore but it is quite rare to find people who are willing to compete in three events in one go. I think it’s because the swimming portion tends to put people off. I mentioned the event to several of my sporty friends and the response ranged from “I can’t swim!” to “I can swim but not that far!”
I am extremely fortunate to have very close friends who enjoy sports and are willing to indulge in my newfound interests with me. When I ran 10 km for the first time at the Yellow Ribbon Run, Serena accompanied me. This time, it was Barbara who kindly agreed to join me at the Cold Storage Triathlon. This is a friend whom I have known since I was seven years old. Her boyfriend Ivan also came along to take photographs for us so we have amazing shots of us in action!
Triathlons are a lot more complicated than just running events because of the equipment involved. We arrived an hour earlier because we had to stamp our bib numbers on our bodies for the swimming portion.
I know I’m only doing a mini but I feel so cool already with my arms all stamped. My mother kept telling me to buy 4D, which is the lottery in Singapore.
I was actually quite grumpy when I first arrived. I complained to Barbara that there was so much logistics involved. First I had to decide what items to take from the car, then I had to decide what to wear to swim. Then I had to put my cycling and running gear at my bicycle. Then I had to take off my shoes and walk around barefoot and get bitten by insects in the grass. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I didn’t own a bicycle and had to pay $35 to rent one from the event organisers. That being said, the bike rental went smoothly and took little time. The queue for the arm stamping also went rather quickly.
I soon forgot my grouchiness when we gathered for the first leg of the mini triathlon – the 200 m swim. We were pumped up by the DJ who got us dancing and waving. The green swimming caps you see all around me are the women in the mini race. Men had different cap colours.
And off we went! It was a mad rush in the ocean. I kept getting kicked by people and in turn, I kicked others in my attempt to stay close to Barbara.
The swim was over before I knew it. When I stumbled out onto the sand, I turned to an official and asked, “Is there another round?” I was in disbelief that 200 m was so short. It felt like it was half that distance.
I bought a Zoot triathlon top specially for the event. It served me well for the swim leg. I didn’t feel like there was too much drag. Now to see if it would hold up well for the other two legs!
The next portion of the race was a 10 km cycle. I really dislike cycling because I tend to get backaches and bum aches from being in the same position for such a long time. Most people I know really enjoy it but it’s just something about the static position that bothers me. I wore my Vibrams for the cycle and the run. They were really great because then I didn’t have to force my wet puffy feet into socks and trainers.
Here we dismounted outside the transition area. It was a 5 km circuit that we looped twice. Barbara was so much faster than me on the bike but she waited for me while I huffed and puffed along.
I felt my legs turn to jelly after we dismounted. But we zoomed off quickly for the last leg of the race – a 2 km run. This was the most relaxing part for me because I have been jogging at least twice a week. Falling into the rhythm of placing one foot in front of the other, I was able to catch my breath after the cycle. I wore my New Balance Lightning Dry shorts just to see if they were really quick dry.
When we approached the ending line, I heard the announcer congratulating various people for finishing the race. I thought that these must be professional triathletes he recognised or maybe Cold Storage staff. But as we ran past him, we heard our names being broadcasted as well. We broke into broad grins as we heard our names and cheered. It was so nice to be given encouragement even though we were just doing a super small triathlon and nothing like the actual Olympic distance.
Our muscles were so stiff after the race that we had to do stretching. Here is Barbara practising her headstand.
Here I decided to stretch my upper back in a Dancer’s pose. I was so surprised I could do it – it was the first time I was able to touch my toes! Barbara, if you’re reading this, you should definitely become a yoga teacher!
This was the food that came with the goodie bag. Suffice to say, this must be the best goodie bag I’ve received. There was so much food in it. There were even a packet of rice! I gave almost everything away because naturally, there was no paleo food item. Apart from food, we also received a green swimming cap, a Cold Storage Triathlon T-shirt (pictured above in my yoga photo) and two packets of tissue. I kept the last four items because they were useful.
To sum up, it was a really good experience. The mini distance was a good taste for a newbie. Even though it was a short race – it took us 50 minutes to complete, including being slow in the transition area – we still had to make a huge effort to think about logistics and clothes. I’m looking forward to my next one – either a sprint distance or relay would be fun I think!
What I love about the Cold Storage Triathlon: Amazing goodie bag, short queue to rent bike and get arm stamped, was handed medal right after race. Emcee cheered us on! Great atmosphere, transition area was huge so there was no jostling. My first triathlon 🙂
What can be improved: No easy way to get from transition area to the start of the race, crossing while other people were racing was dangerous for everyone. The swim was definitely not 200 m.