In March this year I had the opportunity to be part of the volunteer Crew at Ironman NZ in Taupo. I was keen to see new running friend Louise, Shirley and Moana compete in their first Ironman. These awesome women were all triathletes who were also members of Lake City Athletics Club.
If you’ve never been a spectator at an Ironman I totally recommend it. You see people of all ages (some im their 70s), shapes and sizes, challenging themselves to their limit. At the end of that day, despite having only helped with the event I was exhausted. I commented that ‘This is amazing but I never want to do an Ironman.’
Not so surprisingly, by the following Friday I was Facebook messaging my new Ironman friends and suggesting we meet to talk about what Ironman training entails.
That was four months ago. I wasn’t ready to commit to training for Ironman until I knew that I would be able to see it through the hours of training. Only then would I make the financial commitment; entry fees, road bike, wet suit and all the other expenses which go with it.
My recent experience with cycling and swimming.
I am not a triathlete and have never considered being one before now. About 12 months ago I rode my Nana bike around Mt Ngongotaha with running buddies, Kerris and Vicki. I hadn’t been on a bike in about 26 years apart from perhaps 10 km of riding. I was a little overconfident on the downhill and ended up with a bump on the head on bruising which after three days went from my forehead down to below my cheeks. I also tried a few swims last summer, but lost motivation.
That was then and this is now.
Today I organised a meeting with an Ironman coach. I still haven’t entered the NZ Ironman in March 2015, but am moving closer to making that commitment. The first thing I did in beginning this journey was to purchase the book ‘Be Iron Fit’. It has been read and highlighted and read again. I began regular swimming with RATs ( Rotorua Association of Triathletes) who offer a range of swim sessions and went on my first bunch ride ( again with RATs) . The first ride was around 40km on my nana bike. People did look sideways at me when I arrived, as I was not at all kitted out like real cyclists. Nevertheless, I managed that first ride without too much of a struggle. On my second ride I realised that the nana bike would have too go. It was just too heavy for the hills. I had anticipated holding off on purchasing a road bike until I was certain I wanted to do this thing, but after two rides I was hooked.
So… off to the bike shop I went and within two weeks was bunch riding on a real bike. Two months later I have completed an 80 km ride and managed to get around Mount Ngongataha, Lake Rotorua, up Tarawera Road and back to town in 3 1/2 hours. The swimming is getting easier, but is going to be my biggest challenge.