Taking the plunge and other firsts

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of riding with two of my running buddies, Shirley and Moana, who really are the two people who inspired me to take on the Ironman challenge. I opted out of the shortened bunch ride, to experience the 90 km Rotorua Half Ironman cycle course. The weather was almost perfect. Much of the course I had ridden before, but as always, I like to know what’s in front of me. Completing the whole course is another thing ticked off my ‘To do’ list for November. The bonus of Saturday’s ride was that I ran off the bike for the first time. We ran/walked the 5km around Lake Tikitapu. I did just a little more than I should have in terms of my foot rehabilitation programme. Fortunately my foot did not suffer as a result.

I took the plunge and swam in the lake for the first time on Monday evening. I talked with Moana and Shirley about it on Saturday and they passed on a few tips, including getting a homeopathic Rescue Remedy to take before the swim. As I’ve possibly mentioned, I had a claustrophobic feeling when I first swam in the pool in my wetsuit. As a result I had a fear of swimming in the lake in my wetsuit. Thanks to the support and encouragement of Max and Doris Bragg, I have overcome the fear. I actually enjoyed myself as I swam alongside Max in his kayak. I still found breathing difficult due to the tightness of the wetsuit around my neck, but soon discovered that if I relaxed, it wasn’t such an issue. Weekly swims in the lake will definitely be added to my programme from now on. It’s only three weeks until my first Triathon, and I need to be confident to swim 1.3km in open water by then.

Thanks to my new gym programme and the pushing by Jamie on bunch rides, I am getting stronger. Today’s time trial (30km around the lake) was a 4 minute personal best. I only changed to my small chain ring three or four times on the ride; considerably less than usual. Hopefully I will see a similar level of improvement when I do the Mountain Road hill climbs on Thursday.

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