It is common knowledge that working towards a goal acts as a major source of motivation and increases productivity, highlighting that goal setting is crucial if we wish to succeed in certain areas of our lives.
Most New Year’s I’d conjure up a list of resolutions the length of my arm, most of which lacked substance and were forgotten by the end of January. More recently I began making sure my personal goals were more structured and achievable. In a way these goals act like a mini bucket list of all the things I wish to achieve by the end of the year, generally broken down into broad themes such as travel, work, culture, family and sport; the latter of which is my focus here.
I’ve always been a sporty and competitive individual, so when the opportunity to take part in the Blenheim Palace Triathlon came about, it was very soon added to my list. I must add there was some hesitation, as I had never attempted a triathlon before so the prospect of completing a 750m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run alongside thousands of other competitors seemed a little daunting.
As the big day approached my nerves were growing and I couldn’t help but think perhaps I should have trained more, but as a perfectionist this is often the case. It’s important to rest-up and eat nourishing meals in the lead up to any sporting events, so this is exactly what I did. Mindful Chef were in partnership with the Blenheim Triathlon to provide food for competitors in the lead up to the race and top nutrition tips to help prepare people for the triathlon.
On the actual day I tucked into a big breakfast, as I knew this was crucial to provide me with all the energy I needed. Upon arriving at Blenheim around 9am the event had already begun and I caught a glimpse of Olympic Triathlete Alistair Brownlee competing! I headed to the transition zone, once registering and receiving my race-timing chip, to set up my bike and lay out my much-needed race essentials, ready for my 11.35am start time.
Around 11am I had donned my tri-suit (leant from a kind friend) and squeezed myself into a wetsuit bought earlier that week from decathlon and headed down to the race start by the picturesque Lake. Less that ten minutes before we entered the water, I was putting my swim cap and goggles on before I felt a big ping – needless to say my goggles where broken beyond repair. So one learning point to take from this is if you “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”! Despite the goggle fiasco the swim was surprisingly enjoyable and complete in 15 minutes, followed by a 400m run uphill to the transition zone.
Wetsuit whipped off and trainers on I leapt onto my bike to begin the 3 laps around the grounds of Blenheim Palace. This was by far the most enjoyable section of the whole event for me, partly as there were long enjoyable downhill sections, which reminded me of the sensations of ski racing and allowed my legs some much needed recovery. By this point the heat of the day was peaking and I was rather thankful for the SIS energy gels and rehydration sachets I had managed to consume mid-event.
The final part of the Triathlon was the 5k run – this didn’t faze me too much as I run quite regularly and more often than not further than 5k. However, by this point I was fairly exhausted and it was a case of battling through an unfortunate stitch and a very dry mouth despite trying to keep hydrated. As the finish line approached I broke into a sprint using the last of the energy my muscles had left, finishing in a time of 1 hour 36, which I must say I am proud of for my first Triathlon.
I felt a huge sense of achievement and was fairly elated all afternoon, yes it was a mental and physical battle and yes it left me feeling exhausted but would I do it again? Sure! I really can’t stress enough how important it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while and take on new challenges. It definitely helped having an effective nutrition and training programme to follow and knowing I had my healthy meals delivered every week really relieved some of the pressure of thinking about what to eat.