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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

You don’t have to win, you just have to TRI

Raising over £1,500 for Cancer Research

This May I completed my second triathlon in East Grinstead, East Sussex. Well, the factor 50 suncream wasn't needed as was forecast, but the rain didn't dampen my spirits. I didn't complete it in record time, but I made it over the finish line and raised a whole lot of money at the same time.

Thank you to everyone that so kindly sponsored me. I've raised £1,500 for Cancer Research UK which is a phenomenal amount. I've been blown away by people's support and generosity. It kept me going throughout the last few weeks.

I never thought five years ago I would be doing this in my 40s. I must admit I’ve found training this time round harder suffering with cramp and knee and ankle pain. But the pure euphoria and the sense of achievement you feel when doing a physical challenge make it so worthwhile. I've also found exercise a great form of release and the perfect way to unwind when not working.

It's all in the preparation

I trained 6 times a week for 14 weeks, many times in sub-zero temperatures, juggling the children and Sharp Thinking. I clocked up over 10 miles of swimming, 300 miles of cycling, and 100 miles of running. I won't lie that it has been easy fitting in 80 training sessions, but determination got me through it.

The last two weeks of training didn’t go quite as planned. I was told to rest for four days after a painful deep tissue massage and I had physio on my knees and ankle.

The day before was all about preparing for the race mentally and physically and the part I was looking forward to the most, carb loading! Steak, pasta and lots of baguette!

Some people say you don't need to take much to the triathlon, but I'm not known for travelling light! I spent a long time getting all my kit ready.

Keep calm & triathlon on

The night before the race, I hardly slept a week. My alarm went off at 4am. I did try to limit myself to one coffee, but the temptation was just too much, so I did have two! I forced myself to eat breakfast and proceeded to drink two pints of water and later had an energy bar and an energy gel. After 90 minutes of intense exercise your body is depleted so it's vital you replenish with the right food and drink.

We arrived at the venue and went straight to the transition area to lay out all my kit. The sky got darker and darker and I prepared myself for the rain. I had only trained in the rain once. No turning back now.

I went to the pool and had a safety briefing, this was it. I was called into the pool. The atmosphere was incredible, the cheering and support from my family, other families, and the wonderful East Grinstead Triathlon Club. I proceeded to swim.

After the swim, I ran to the transition area and got ready for the cycle. The professionals do this in under one minute - I took over six minutes!

I was off on my bike, and soon afterwards it started to rain, but I took some deep breaths and told myself I would be fine. Half an hour in, I got cramp. The last thing I wanted to do was stop. I started to drink my electrolytes and took some more deep breaths and gradually it eased off.

The route is beautiful through Ashdown Forest. 16 miles later, I was back in East Grinstead and met by the cheering crowds. I went back to the transition area and dropped off my bike and began the run. This was the hardest part. Your legs feel like lead and don't want to move. I passed some firemen who were running the race in their full uniform, and this spurred me on, knowing how hard the run was for them running in their heavy gear.

After two laps, the finish line was in sight, I managed to sprint to the end.

I’m now looking forward to a lie in and rest!

It isn’t too late if you still want to donate.

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