Monday, March 04, 2013

I Tri'd

I you were looking for me on March 2nd 2013, you would have found me at Lake Tikitapu, Rotorua, for the Bissell Women's Series of sprint triathlons.

I know... if you'd told me that this time last year I would have said you were bonkers.  But back in January a friend created a Facebook group to encourage us to join in.  I mentioned this to Husband who laughed.  I'll admit, that made me a bit cross.

I've been trying to get to 5km in running for 3 years now.  It's ridiculous how long it's taking me but I have all kinds of excuses that sound perfectly reasonable.

So I joined the group and committed. I turn 40 this year so it seemed like a good way to welcome in the new decade.  I had 6 weeks to train; people told me that this was do-able.

And so it began.  The training I mean.  My plan included doing something everyday except Sunday.  I mostly achieved that.  I started cycling to work every day I could.  The weather has been brilliant from that perspective!  I got a concession card for the swimming pool. I ran with the C25K app.

March 2 dawned after a fitful sleep and by 7am we were at the lake setting up transition.

Chatting before the race

There were 8 of us in our group.

Our group before the race

After a brief warmup the triathlon participants traipsed down to the swim start.

 Heading down to the swim start

I was in Wave E. We had to swim 300metres. It's not a long swim and I'd done it several times in the pool, but the big red buoy seemed very far away that morning!

 Wave E starting the swim

This was the first time I'd done a swim like this and I found myself beginning to panic due to nerves, the proximity of everyone else beside me and behind me, and I couldn't see very far in the water. My heart was pounding and I couldn't get my breath or swimming rhythm right. The closeness of the other swimmers meant I swallowed several gulps of water instead of air. So I turned onto my back and backstroked for a while, then breaststroked most of the way. This slowed my swim time down but meant I stopped freaking out so much.

Reverting to breast stroke after having a panicky beginning

Heading out to transition I felt pretty bummed but had to keep going. Next was the bike part. It was 9km, the same distance I bike to work. We headed down Tarawera Rd and turned around at the Buried Village to come back up. There was a pretty steep hill part on the way back but I pedaled all the way up.  My time for this part was around the same time I do for the ride to work.

 Heading out onto the bike section

Back in transition again I gulped back some watered down powerade and headed into the running/walking part (5.5km). My plan was to run in 20 minute blocks broken by fast walking.

Heading off into the run/walk section

As it turned out I ended up walking about half, running about half. It is a lovely trail around the lake, mostly shaded with big trees and glimpses of the water. There are some uneven parts and small steps which I walked over because I was afraid of hurting my ankle again. As it was I nearly fell twice while running by tripping on roots. I was so happy to see the big red arch! The organiser of the Facebook group, CP (who had already finished 15th), ran with me part of the last stretch.

Carmen cheering me on the last few metres

And I made it!

 Finish line!

Will I do another? The answer is yes, but maybe not in the next few weeks! It would be quite fun to do as an annual thing. I'd like to improve my time, especially on the swim and run part.  Maybe you will join me?  The good thing about this kind of event is the nice non-competitive vibe.  Both DH and I commented on the huge variety of women participating.  There were all kinds of ages, shapes, sizes and abilities.  It was a very positive atmosphere with lots of encouragement.

My thanks to CP who got me motivated, the other girls in our group who gave encouragement, the 2 lecturers in sport from MPOW who gave me encouragement and advice.  And biggest thanks of all to my dear husband who despite his initial reaction gave me lots of encouragement, got my bike sorted out, drove me down there and back and took pictures. He is a keeper for sure.

Our group after the race


  1. And what a freaking awesome achievement that was!! You are an inspiration, it reminds me a lot of the woman's duathlon that they used to run until last year. As in the vibe of woman supporting each other. And at the end of the day that's what it is about. Challenging yourself but enjoying the day.

  2. So So impressed by you Penny! :-) (Breathing a sigh of relief actually I wasn't living in Auckland so I don't feel so guilty about not participating! hehee) ;-) You all look fab ... a bunch of super women for sure!

    1. Heh heh. Yes I would have been tapping you on the shoulder for sure. You had a narrow escape!

  3. Anonymous8:12 pm

    Awesome, Penny! What a great achievement. Well done, you should be very proud of yourself. YAY!! :-)

  4. This made my day! Way to go, Penny! Really impressive.

  5. Way to go Penny, that is awesome. I keep receiving emails about the Bissell Tri & I keep deleting them, maybe next year I might actually do one!

  6. Anonymous11:43 am

    Well done- what a great achievement! Will have a look around for triathlons in my area :)

  7. Amazing. Very inspiring!

  8. Anonymous9:43 am

    Well done! I'm impressed. :)