By: Nicole C. (’21)
Last year, Annabelle W. (‘22), who was only 15 at the time, participated in her first triathlon. After having watched her family members and friends participate in the triathlon, “Challenge Taiwan”, in Taitung for the past three years, she finally decided to compete. Much to her surprise, Annabelle placed second in the women’s triathlon relay race in her division.
She completed the race with her mom, Mrs. Marjorie Tsai, and her sister, Charlotte W. (‘24). “The whole race is a great memory for my family,” Mrs. Tsai said. “Especially [when I saw] Annabelle dash 850 meters to the transition tent [where] I waited [as] the cyclist. I knew she was trying her [hardest] to hand me the chip after [coming] out of the water.”
Annabelle also sees her first triathlon competition as a success. “It was an accomplishment, and it felt really nice,” she said. “[Which is why] this year I invited my friends and asked them if they wanted to do the relay together.”
In a standard triathlon competition, racers first swim 1.5 kilometers, then they bike for 40 kilometers and finish off by running 10 kilometers. However, in a relay triathlon race, three people each do one part of the race. Annabelle did the swimming portion while her friends Allison S. (‘22) and Lauren H. (‘22) did the biking and running portions of the race, respectively.
During the competition on Nov. 15, Annabelle faced some difficulties. The hardest part for Annabelle was swimming back to the starting point. Since the swimming route was “like a loop,” she had to go out, turn around and swim back to the front of the lake after swimming half the distance. “I think it was hard because by that time most people were pretty tired so they started doing breast stroke, [and] pulling on other people’s legs. It kind of bothered me since I got kicked in the face a few times and many people tried to pull my legs to stay above water.” However, Anabelle kept going. “During the swim, I had a point where I wanted to give up, [and] what motivated me to continue was the fact that my friends were waiting for me at the other side ready to bike and run,” she said.
Despite these hardships, the end of the race was rewarding and her team placed fourth in their division. In a triathlon relay race, team members normally meet at the “Team Meeting Point” to dash the last 100 meters of the competition together, which Annabelle and her friends were able to do during this triathlon. “The most memorable [part] was the very end where we ran and finished with the runner through the ribbon and finish line,” she said. “It really felt like an accomplishment [and] it was pretty fun.”
For those students that are considering taking part in a triathlon, she recommends not focusing on the results of the triathlon but on the process itself. “Even though we all want good results, results do not really matter,” she said. “It is more about feeling good about yourself and having fun.”