My triathlon journey started out after a desire to get back to being more than a pregnant mom! Having had my last child 8 years ago, I fell pregnant for two years in a row to a beautiful baby boy and most recently a daughter 5 months ago.  Being a mom, partner, employee is tough and I had the urge to start a sport and to have some “me” time.

4 weeks after my daughter was born, I started going for daily walks and pretty soon after that I felt like going for a jog and continued to do so for two weeks at a very slow pace.   I’ve seen a lot of Triathlon posts on Facebook and I thought that might be a good sport to get into as I enjoy running and swimming and thought that it could be a nice challenge.

In August, I contacted My Training Day to enquire about their support systems and how they could assist me with a training program, this was the best decision I could have made. I met up with KZN coach Samantha Griffiths who explained everything to me and I was really intrigued that a personalized program will be worked out based on my heart rate.  I signed up immediately and bought a training watch, some training gear and a bicycle (haven’t cycled for 20 years).

Over the next 3 months, I followed the program which was loaded on Training Peaks app and have absolutely enjoyed every single workout; it has been great to track my fitness and see how I improved over the last few months.  Having a specific plan makes such a huge difference and really motivates me to train when I am supposed to and avoid having slow days on the sofa when I’m feeling a bit lazy.

Having got the training bug and starting to feel much fitter and stronger, I nervously signed up for my first Triathlon Tinman sprint race (500m swim, 21km cycle, 5km run) in October 2019.  I had never swum in open water before so I attended the MTD free open water clinic the day before the race and it really put my mind to ease and gave me the confidence to swim comfortably in sea.

What was great on the day of the race was how helpful the other competitors were and how much of the race stress that Samantha took away.  Having never done a triathlon, I was not 100% sure on how to pack my gear in the transition area but quickly asked someone to help me and all the athletes were really friendly and chatty.  Samantha was there with me and gave me some great pointers and help.

I had been to watch a race a few weeks earlier and the sea conditions were hectic so I was worried about that, thankfully the water was flat for the race and I had built my confidence with the clinic the day before so knew that the swimming would go ok and I enjoyed it, although getting out of the water I felt off balance and disorientated.  I took a minute to compose myself before getting on my bicycle and soon after I felt confident and really started to enjoy the race.  Cycling is my weakest point but managed a good time and kept a good rhythm.  The transition from bike to running was tough and my legs felt like jelly; this was were the training program really came into its own.  I knew that I had the fitness in my legs and stayed in the right heart rate zone so I was able to put in a strong run and finish well.

Crossing the line was a really proud moment for me, and it was amazing to have my family and coach waiting for me at the finish line… I then nearly fell over when I saw that I came 1st place in my age group and the 8th placed woman overall!!

I am now training hard towards the IronMan 70.3 and have today done a 1.9km swim race at Durban beach, coming in under my target time.  Having Samantha and My Training Day support my training is invaluable, I would never have pushed myself or achieved what I have done in such a short period of time; my program is updated every month based on the regular fitness tests and my goals and Samanatha is always available to talk to for advice or support.  As she has competed at the highest level of the sport, she is able to give expert advice and guidance – as well as being an awesome person who I really enjoy training with.

I’m really excited about what 2020 will bring for me, I am super motivated to achieve my goals and provide a positive example to my kids that nothing should stop you from pushing yourself, dealing with the bad days and enjoying successes.  The My Training day program and regular competition gives me great balance in my life, helps me meet some fantastic people and feel good about myself… I can’t recommend it enough!

By Marelize Le Grange 

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