Westport Triathlon 2019 – Joanne Reilly

I never had a chance to go to the Hell of the West triathlon weekend away but the stories are legendary. Always on the look out for a bit of craic I headed off to Westport to see if we could bring back the spirit of the Pulse Away race weekend and I think Westport put on a pretty good day out.

The race itself starts in a fantastic location. With the sun shining we entered the water and had a good 5 -10 minute warm up and then we were off. The Marshall’s gave us good advice on landmarks to sight off so it was easy to keep a straight line but there were lots of people who maybe hadn’t listened to the tip. This sort of knowledge is so valuable. It also demonstrates how lucky we are with our open water coaching that most of the Pulse contingent were happy they had sighted properly and not gone off course like so many others seemed to have done. The water was a bit choppy when we got further out but a nice start to the race.

Into transition and out onto the bike where it’s an out and back route. The first half felt hard and I was hoping that the wind was doing the damage and hoping that it wasn’t just tired legs. I passed a good few people and was passed by a few but with two waves it was hard to tell where I was. There was never too many people on the course which was good but the roads weren’t closed so you needed to be aware of the odd passing car. I got to the turnaround point and the marshal let us know that we now would have a good tail wind “head down arse up and drive her home” he shouts. So I did. I had given myself permission to go all out on the bike.

I had a slight ankle niggle that had been getting worse so I wasn’t sure if I would do the run. The return leg of the bike was fast but coming close to the town I got stuck behind some cars who had slowed for cyclists in front. But it wasn’t a significant time delay. The course is a bit short which is a pity. Into T2 but as soon as my feet hit the concrete I realised I was practically numb from the knees down.

I have bad reynauds but strangely and luckily I rarely get it in my fingers when I’m racing but my feet are usually numb. I struggled to get the runners on but left T2 putting one foot in front of the other but with no idea of how I was running.

I was two km in before the numbness started to dissipate. Straight away I could feel my ankle. I jogged on a bit with my head trying to make a decision on whether I should stop or go on. I walked on the uphill sections and as usual I stared getting passed one after another. 4 km in and a girl behind me started shouting “come on Pulse keep going”  I was feeling really sorry for myself now. I jogged on another bit as she passed .. she was from wicklow tri and she dragged me along for a few more minutes.

Half way in I had a look at my watch and thought despite my starting and stopping I was doing an ok run and if I actually kept going I’d prob have a new Olympic pb. I also decided that my ankle won’t be doing a half marathon in three weeks time at sheephaven so maybe I just get this finished and assess the situation after. So I kept it going. By km 9 I had absolutely nothing left. I tried to lift it as I passed the Pulse tent to the finish line but there was nothing more in the tank. I was happy with my time of 2:38:10

It was only by chance I later found out I had an age category placing. It was a total surprise. I had figured so many girls had passed me on the run that I couldn’t have been anywhere near it. It turned out that they had all started in the wave before me. Lesson learnt… keep going…every second counts.

Then for the Pulse post race celebrations. The craic was great. The finish line is in the grounds of Westport house and the beer garden at Gracys bar was full of triathletes. The sun was out and pints were flowing. It was a great chance to meet some of our newer members who put in some pretty impressive performances in both the sprint and Olympic.

We went into Westport after for more celebrations and after the meal our local tour guide Hugh O’Malley led us to a great bar where the celebrations continued into the wee hours.

Hopefully we can do it again next year with many more new faces. Weekends like this are great for mixing with members that don’t do your favourite training sessions or for learning something new about racing. The variety of ability and experience that Pulse has is brilliant and the support and encouragement from your fellow members really is uplifting.

As the events officer I also wanted to thank the committee and the attendees at Westport for a super weekend! Thanks also to Chris and Dee for their work in the lead up to our first club championship race.

Pulse Triathlon Club: swimming, cycling, running and socialising since 2003

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