Doing my first triathlon has certainly been an interesting and enjoyable (yet often not enjoyable) journey for me, from the day that I joined My Training Day all eager to get started, to the eventual plunge into the waters of the ski dam at Ironman 5150 Bela Bela 2019.
The mind job that this sport brings, is something that no one prepares you for. I don’t think that I have had so many stern conversations with anyone in my life, let alone myself, as I had had over the past 6 months in my head. I pride myself in being someone that enjoys to be out of my comfort zone, but this was another level, and a level that I am so glad to have jumped at.
How the hell was I going to do all 3 disciplines on one day! Especially that I am so limited to the time that I can dedicate each day/week for training. Surely I was going to die! Ok, that’s a little dramatic, but I would surely be legless a few days.
After booking the race, I knew that there was no turning back. I was told by a work colleague and triathlete, that I need to trust my training. Come race day, I had ZERO plan - apart from getting into my wetsuit quicker than the 27 minutes it took me the first time I tried it on.
Apart from my training, I had researched many different websites on what I needed to do on race day, the long list of items needed on the day for each discipline, how to execute transition and so many more elements to making sure my day was successful, yet I still felt so unprepared and was questioning whether I had officially lost the plot?
But the excitement of the event kept me going. I would finally be ticking off a bucket list item and pushing limits that I never thought possible.
As I got into the water for the swim, a calm came over me and that stern voice in my head had changed to an encouraging “You’ve got this!”. I knew that I need to focus on each discipline individually – being present – and not worry about what I had to do next. As my colleague had said, trust my training.
Off we went. The swim was interesting to say the least. I don’t know how many people I nearly swam over, into or upset during the swim. I was super happy to get to the end of the swim and was even more ecstatic about my time.
The Cycle? Although it felt like forever, I had fun - as that is what one does when you are on a mountain bike. But note to self - GET A ROAD BIKE NEXT TIME! Water was scarce on my bike and I learnt a very big lesson for next time. I only had Game and after the first 10kms, wanted to die from the sweetness of the game as all I wanted was water. Such an amateur!
Then, my worst discipline arrived. One thing about me is that I am not fond of running. I laugh a lot when I read the Meme about “if you see me running, start running too as its only because something is chasing me”. It the perfect meme describing how I feel about running. I felt like my legs were still on the bike and although flat, the run was hard, but the constant and awesome encouragement from the spectators, campers and fellow participants kept me going.
Although slow, I eventually got to about 200m from the finish line and then some random dude pushed my “turbo boost” button - which, for those who don’t know, is located on your shoulder! – and I started running as I should have been doing from the start of my run.
There is no better feeling than crossing the finish line. I was so excited and was on such a high, although still in disbelief that I had actually completed my first triathlon. Stoked beyond!
The euphoria that this kind of achievement creates is addictive and I can see why so many people love this sport. The fact that I completed the race has made me feel like I can succeed at anything that I set my mind to. I am my only limitation – I choose to be limitless.
CHEERS TO THE NEXT ONE AND SMASHING MY “RECORD”!
by Tobi Preston