5 years ago I arrived in Australia with big aspirations of changing my life for the better……what I actually did was live in a backpackers hostel for 4 months and get wasted every night on boxed wine which may or may not contain egg and fish. My exercise routine consisted of running/walking 1km on the beach once a week.
Following a stern talking to from my father, after he’d picked me up on Christmas Day with a hangover and I slept for 2 days straight, I figured it was perhaps time to think about that life change.
As much as people moan about Perth’s lack of entertainment, it was my saving grace, and so I discovered running. A 3km loop around Cottesloe, a 4km loop around Mt Lawley Golf Club, a 5km loop around Lake Monger (yes, I get around!), two loops of Lake Monger, a City to Surf entry.
My first triathlon was the BRW corporate event at Barrack St. A 400m swim, a 10km cycle and a 4km run. I borrowed a heavy yellow Zeus road bike with cage pedals. I have no idea what times I did but I know that I loved it. Even the attractive Swan River beard.
Despite me having to brush the rust and dust off the borrowed bike when I gave it back, I decided that I would buy a bike of my own. Here come the famous words “I only want to spend around $500”. I blame Jen 100% for my cycling addiction, as he bought me my beloved Malvern Star that Christmas.
I VERY reluctantly went along to my first novice SPR ride after running out of excuses; oh I don’t think the weather is very good this Saturday, oh I cant I have breakfast with friends, oh im not fit enough. You know them all.
Welcome to SPR Shorty Shorts.
This time last year, my Dad announced that he had entered the Port Macquarie Ironman 70.3. My initial feelings were of pride and admiration, my second was ‘sh*t, I gotta do one now’. With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I watched my Dad cross the finish line in 6hrs 30mins. However, as much as I loved watching him race, I’m not a spectator, and so along with 2000 other people I hit that ‘register’ button at 10am on the dot to enter the Busselton 70.3 Ironman.
And so it begins. Preparing your body to endure a 1.9km swim, a 90km cycle and a 21km run, without two days rest in between! How do you do this? Well you can either remortage your house and join a tri club, or give it a go yourself. I went for the latter.
My goal: To not drown, not puncture and not walk. To finish.
The best advice I ever got whilst preparing for this event was to never lose sight of that goal, no matter what everyone else is doing.
I think the week prior to the event was the worst of all of them. I was hormonal, I was tired, everyone in my office was sick, and it was a full moon (they send me mental I tell you). I was not feeling race ready.
Friday 4 May 2012 – Jen and I rode the bike course. Road was immaculate, no wind, this was going to be a fast treat. Went for breakfast at the jetty, ocean flat, people swimming, even the swim was going to be good. Friday night……thunder, lightning, and rain that sounded like a flock of birds hitting the roof of our house. I didn’t sleep well.
Saturday 5 May 2012 – I have never waited so long for a single day to come around…and now I wanted to wait/train a bit longer!
The rain had stopped but the wind was coming in and the ocean can only be described as a giant washing machine, which I was sharing with 82 other people. I couldn’t sight the buoys, my goggles got kicked, I fed the fish my bacon and egg muffin breakfast, and I couldn’t get into a rhythm breathing bi-laterally. It was a long 41mins for me.
I love cycling. I only had two concerns on the bike; maintaining a 12m gap, and making sure I saved enough for the run. I got off the bike with a 34km/hr average feeling that I had left some energy still in the tank.
Now, for anyone who knows me well, one of my biggest concerns in this event was racing for 5hrs+, eating Gu, and having to stop for the toilet. My fear is not without reason!
Lap 1 of the run, 34mins. Not bad. So lovely to see some familiar faces; Megs, Lennie, my Dad, Mary and Jaz. Pass ‘Best Boyfriend in the World’ Jonno Bolton with his Go Emma Go flag.
Lap 2 39mins, I probably didn’t need to chat to that girl about her polkadot race belt. I didn’t look at my Garmin for my time as by now I just wanted to finish.
Lap 3, I’ve just been over taken by my triathlon nemesis who I was so excited to have overtaken on the bike, but she is still within sight, so I will just pace behind her……….and then the Gu hits the fan! Lap 3 took me 40mins, even though I was sure I felt faster.
Finishing shoot, Ironman carpet, under the clock, cry, hug my family, get my medal, eat, drink and go to watch Jen finish his cycle leg for a team. ‘Best Girlfriend in the World’!
I can now confess that I secretly wanted to do it in 5hrs however, 5hrs 21mins and 12th out of 82 in my age category still gives me goosebumps.
I said ‘never again’ when I finished but today I am saying ‘what will I do differently next time’.
The moral of my story is that yes there are people who are born with natural athletic abilities, but it is possible for everyone to achieve their goals with a bit of hard work, determination, and love and support from the people around them. I encourage you all to set yourself a challenge and make it happen. Life is too short not to.
A HUGE congratulations to everyone who competed in the individual and team event on Saturday, it was so lovely to see you and your families down there:
Jen Siah, Emma Goodwin, Sarah Bolton, Kat Buckley, Jerard Ghossein, Mike Bonner, Michelle Bonner, Jen Watkins, Ryan Fynn, Brendan Nicol, Jess Huston, Louise Crawley.