Tri, tri and tri again

15 12 2014

I’ve been challenged lately by the lack of a challenge. Having something to aim for gives me motivation and helps me achieve. Without a goal, I feel less of a need to try harder.

So with my decades ticking over, I decided I needed a bucket list item to push me forward. Enter the Scorching Bay Novice triathlon. Just a week before my 40th birthday, it provided me with a different goal. But something I’d never dreamed of doing.

My journey over the last two years has certainly been one of discovery and pushing my boundaries. Once you start to achieve things, where you once might have doubted yourself, you gain confidence. You start to realise that you are capable. You have what it takes.

Sometimes, things don’t go exactly according to plan. But it’s important to learn that’s all. Part of the process. If it doesn’t work the way you hoped, learn from what happened and give it another go.

I started my triathlon journey with a novice distance. Just a tiny one to dip my toe in the water. And really just to say I’d done it. The swim was always going to be the hard part for me, not really being a swimmer. But I wanted to do it so badly.

I did ok. But the transition to the bike screwed me up. I couldn’t get my wetsuit off. My tired body struggled to get my socks onto my wet feet. The singlet I was putting on got stuck on my soaking sports bra. Seconds ticked on as I tried to prepare to get on my wheels.

Once I was on my bike, things got easier. I managed to overtake a few of my opponents on the bike leg. I wasn’t wearing bike shoes, so my bike to run transition was smooth and easy. And my run was so much faster than I thought it would be. Even after already having completed a swim and cycle. Yes they felt tired and heavy. But my mental strength kicked in and kept me going.

I wasn’t going for a time, it was just a matter of taking part. I’d done a triathlon. And I’d survived.

But it has become a bit addictive. The cross training of disciplines means your body gets variety of training. It’s the ultimate mental test of endurance. It’s you against, well, you. You’re not necessarily racing anyone else because you might have strengths in different disciplines. If you’re a strong cyclist, there’s not much point trying to keep up with a speedy swimmer, as you might completely wear yourself out before your own strong leg.

So you have to learn what your limits are, and race yourself.

Coming from a running background, this is quite a strange feeling. You’re basically racing all of those around you. You’re all running at roughly the same pace, so it becomes you against them.

Multisport is therefore very much mental training. It’s about pacing yourself out of the starting blocks to give yourself a good chance of finishing. It’s very much about discipline. Something I need to train in.

But I did come back for more. I went back to Scorching Bay less than a month later and did a duathlon. So I forwent the swim section and went for the run, bike, run option instead. That meant I avoided the swim to bike transition altogether! But I did go up in distance.

My plan is to hone my cycling and running legs, including the transitions, as they’re my stronger disciplines. At the same time I’ll start to build my time in the pool to progress my swimming skills. After all, it’s all about training. Because practice makes perfect. Or at least gets you a little closer.









2 responses

12 03 2015
I would really like to complete a half ironman | A little old blog, by little old me

[…] given this triathlon thing a go before. But it was only a baby one. I guess you could say I dipped my toe in the water. Or my whole body. […]

19 03 2015
Race recap: Sovereign Kiwi Tri Wellington | A little old blog, by little old me

[…] my first tri, I’d not taken to the water as part of a multisport event, basically because I’m rubbish at it […]

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