Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sometimes you just gotta Tri 3 times

Tri # 1, Tri #2, Tri #3.  Finally got it right.  No more tear stained faces.
Any long time readers of my blog would know something of my first 2 triathlon experiences.  Those with any care factor of me would probably be inclined, if they had the opportunity, to kindly suggest that I don't put myself through that torture again.  The first 2 didn't go so well.

I came very last in both Triathlon #1 and Triathlon #2.  That didn't matter as much as the mortifying feelings I felt and the support that I didn't feel.  Both were fairly horrific.
Packed, snacks ready and early night the night before :)

So, as I do, I signed up for a third one. 

I know - I do these things to myself!

My one and only goal for the day?  Was to get through it without having a crying breakdown.  Happy tears were ok, but sobbing and shivering and rocking and hysteria were not.  I'm not as silly as I sound.  This time, I had a hunch that I'd be ok because of a certain pact that I made.

See the first two triathlons I did alone.  Aside from friends I knew at T#1 and lovely people I had just met at T#2 calling out words of encouragement, I was by myself.  A wise friend said to me after T#2: "you don't need to do these alone."

And she was right.  Call it determination, call it stupidity, call it Ever Try Ever Fail, but I decided to try just one more time to get it right.  See the reason I do these tri's is not about being fast, it's about challenging myself.  The mere fact that I, ex-morbidly obese Kate, talk about 'triathlons', mini
Fun run done, now for a tri!
or not, in plural, is pretty insane enough.  I learnt a few things from my first 2: I need a better bike, I shouldn't put my head under water in the swim, and I need more support.  I knew what to expect, what to wear, what to pack, I just needed to make it through...with a little help from my friends.

I borrowed my friends magical bike (thanks Sarah!), got really prepared the night before, and even had an early night.  But the best thing I did to get ready for this day, was to meet some amazing girls who wanted to do this together.  There were 5 of us doing this event.  5 from a larger group of amazing 12WBT SE QLD 30+ women we call The Striders who have a common goal: to support each other in events like this.  Perfect!  The 5 of us: Lyndall, Courtney, Ange, Tracey and myself, made an absolute pact that we would not leave each others sides through this tri.  We would start together and finish together.  No
matter what.  Together with our amazing cheerleaders who jumped up and down for us all day: Paisley, Sharon, Joe, Luke, Charlotte and Oliver, we really had it made from the start :)

Because I'm a weirdo of sorts, I decided to fit in the Pink 5km Fun Run in the morning, before the tri.  It was great!  It felt like a warm up - (another thing I never thought I would be saying about a 5km run!)  I had slight breathing anxiety again but I pretended I was running with my friend Nic
Us before the tri started.  L-R: Tracey, me, Ange, Court & Lyndall
who ran the Brisbane Twilight Run with me (another story yet to tell) - and this helped me along - thanks Nic!  And the cheers from my friends as I neared the finish line were just amazing and I strided through that banner!  One medal down, one to go!

I had Nikko'd my arms, sunscreened my face, pink swimming capped my head, photographed with the girls, racked my bike, prepared my shoes in the transition area and done all of the prep work...and suddenly I was lining up for the swim leg.  And that's when I had a little flashback.  The stress and anxiety of T#1 and T#2 came rushing back to me.  All of the girls were surrounding me
I was scared!
and pepping me up for the leg that holds the biggest fear factor for me and I almost broke into tears.  I held it together though and managed to get through it.  It's just an adult developed breathing anxiety thing that I hold.  I didn't have this issue when I came 3rd in my Year 7 swimming carnival freestyle relay! ;)

The beautiful Lyndall stuck by my side throughout the whole thing and kept me going.  It was such
There's always time for a group shot mid-tri!
a relief to have her by my side.  Physically she kept me encouraged but mentally it was just so nice knowing that even if I was the last one in the pool this time, she would be next to me and I wouldn't be alone.  We weren't the last by any means - and the other girls and our cheersquad were amazing when we got to the end. :)

We transitioned and then it was onto the bikes.  So a few posts ago I wrote about how I hate cycling...well I have now changed my tune.  I only hate cycling when I am slow on my bike!  I love cycling on Sarah's bike!  My bike holds great sentimental value - but in all honesty it is a slow bike and as much as I would like to think otherwise, sentiment doesn't hold up in triathlons, I'm afraid.  Cycling on a road bike was just the hugest difference.  I was flying on Sarah's bike and I loved it.  That is why I used to like cycling!
My like of cycling was rekindled

Unfortunately though, poor Courtney had done a late night bike swap with me the night before - hers had an issue so she grabbed mine in the darkness of the night.  And the tyres were flat. :(  My fault and I felt so bad.  They weren't punctured, I would have known that, but they were pretty flat!  I remember saying "this is why I struggled at my last tri!"  I just didn't realise how flat they were.  We needed help to get them pumped up and aside from that, it is a really difficult bike to ride.  But Court was a champion and just powered through.  I know how hard that bike is to ride in a triathlon - it's best suited to other cycling - but she didn't complain, she just gritted her teeth and kept going.  Tracey and Ange waited for us to return to transition and then we were all in the run together.  

And we did it.  As if there was ever any doubt.

The most amazing feeling
But what was cool was at the end.  We had all waited for each other after each leg.  Some of us could have blitzed through the tri a lot quicker.  Some panic while swimming (!)  Some had tyre issues.  Some it was their first tri.  Some had sore legs when it came to the run.  We are all different speeds in each leg.  We are all at varying fitness levels.  We each had our own fears of the event.  Some had only just met in person that day!  But we all had one thing in common and that was understanding the importance of mateship.  We had made a promise not to leave each others side on this day.  And those who couldn't join us made sure we were supported by the sidelines all day.  We each realised the value of team work and support over getting a good 'time'.  When I was last in my first 2 tri's, it felt like I was last and I still talk about it when discussing them.  This tri though, yep, physically we were last - even the short course tri (the entire tri) overtook us.  But it didn't feel like we were.  That doesn't even come into the equation.  We linked arms and ran through that banner, all together and each of us grinning from ear to ear. :)

You can't be last when your arms are linked with people by your side.

I tri'd once, twice, and on my third go I finally got it. :)

There comes a point when you realise what is important.

That's what it was all about.  Thank you Striders.


I learnt from last time to bring an extra safety pin so I wouldn't lose my timing strap!

Supporting my trainer

Ange and I

My bike and stuff ready in transition

All done!

Happy face post tri this time!

Note left on my windscreen from lovely girls I met in the carpark!

Two medals today!  We love events with medals ;)



  1. Reading this made me cry. Not sad tears but tears of joy for you & your team for having the courage to do this. You guys are just so brilliant. xoxoxo