Tuesday, 12 March 2013

I Tri'd Again!

Sometimes in life we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Push the boundaries of what tests us. What scares us.

For me, that was swimming.

When I was young I did the customary swimming lessons for school but then that was it. Swimming "laps" never appealed to me and the most I did was frolic in the water and do "bombies" from the side of the pool.

Last year I watched from the side lines as my 2 friends participated in the 2012 Women's Triathlon here in Perth. I was so angry with myself for backing out at the last moment but the thought of needing to be rescued from the ocean simply because of my inability to swim scared the absolute crap out of me. Not just a little bit - terrifying heart pumping fear! I couldn't swim.

Late last year that all changed when I started adult swimming lessons. My initial thoughts of "OMG that's embarrassing at my age" went straight out the window with a "Screw being scared of being embarrassed! This is fucking awesome - I am a swimmer now!!!"

My plan was to start small and get to 100m and work my way up to be able to swim 300m without stopping. I quickly smashed past all the distances I set myself until low and behold I was swimming 750m freestyle without stopping! Huzzah!

300m was the distance of the swim leg in the triathlon I had my sights set on. It was meant to be my first ever triathlon until I snuck a sneaky little tri in on Australia Day this year. Turns out it wasn't so little as it was the toughest course in the Perth area! Eeeek! You can read about it here.

So on Sunday 3rd March I set out at some ungodly hour in the morning for the long trek to Whitford's Nodes Beach Park, Hillarys with my sleepy support team in tow.

We arrived early, met up with my triathlon BFF in the car park and headed towards the excitement.

Our bikes were racked, our little area prepped for transition and we began the wait trying not to let my nerves take hold.

The weather was in our favour and the water looked pretty calm. Could have been calmer. Pool like even.

My awesome friend Sarah arrived to join my support crew.

Pretty soon it was time to head down to the beach for the briefing and the start of the short course waves.

My tri BFF was in wave 6 and I was next in wave 7.

The swim was 100m out, turn right at the buoy, 100m along the beach, turn right and come 100m back towards the shore.

Even though I know that I can swim now the nerves were ripe. Swimming in the ocean is much different to the pool. But mostly the feeling of swimming in a huge crowd, I'm talking in the middle of 100 other people, is horrible. Really horrible!

I just kept telling myself to chill, swim my own race and try to block everyone else out. Easier said then done yeah?

My tri BFF headed off on her swim and moment later I was off.

The first 100m were easier than I expected. I found a nice spot not too close to others and managed to stay nice and calm.

Until I turned at the first buoy....

..... and copped a kick to the head....

..... and went under....

..... and panicked....


I quickly got my shit together after hanging onto a nearby surfboarding chicky for a couple of breaths and took off again....

I found my rhythm again.

Until the turn at the next buoy and regretted my decision not to wear the mirrored goggles as the sun was rising and I couldn't see anything each time I sighted to make sure I was going in the right direction.

I picked some feet just in front of me and hoped that they were at least going in the right direction!

Thankfully they were and I was soon running up the beach to the sounds of "Go Toni! Go Mami" from my awesome support crew. Sarah can yell really loud!

I ran through to transition. Threw on my number belt, shoes (without sitting this time thanks to elastic laces), helmet and glasses, grabbed my bike and ran towards the bike exit. 

During this time my support crew had made it up to the start of the bike leg and were there to scream out to me.

The bike leg was 7km and a lot easier than the 7km from the Australia Day tri thanks to no huge hills. Just some gradual ups and downs. Nothing too bad and I managed to make up some time and passed heaps of people.

Back from the bike leg and being spurred on from all the shouting of my name I ran back into transition to rack my bike and helmet and head out on the run.

3km this time and although my goal was not to walk at all during this I failed miserably and had a few mind f*ck moments and a killer hurty knee. Still managed the run in 18 minutes though which is 10kph so I can't be too hard on myself since I just swam and rode too.

The run was 1.5km out along the path with a turn around along the same course. 

Coming back I could hear the crowd, could tell I was close and hit the speed to sprint it home to loud applause from my awesome support crew.


My tri BFF was there with a big hug waiting for me.

Afterwards we drank champagne and toasted our awesome effort.

Can't wait until my next one. I'm officially a "triathlete" now. Apparently.

Hopefully I don't have a "near drowning" experience in the next one.

Crappy Swim - 12:35
Ride (includes T1 and T2) - 22:34
Walk Run - 18:04
Total - 53:14
Feeling of accomplishment - timeless

Do you tri?

Do you like washing machine ocean swimming?

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If you've been following me on facebook you may or may not know that I have registered for a 220km bike ride  for the Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2013. This is a cause close to my heart as I have lost some very special people to this horrible disease. As part of my entry I need to fund raise a minimum of $2500 to take part in the actual ride. I really hate asking for donations but I've been told that it's the only way! Do you have a spare $2? Every little bit helps. All money raised will go directly to support cancer patients and their families and all donations $2 and over are tax deductible. Thank you!!


  1. This is amazing! Well done. Swimming is my panic area too - you're braver than me!

  2. Toni you're an inspiration and I LOVE that photo of you in the surf, freaky but fun I'm sure. I hope once my kids are older I can get into triathlons, I have the determination, just right now I have no motivation! Em x

  3. Toni there is no stopping you! Less than an hour on your second tri is brilliant. My hubs used to do tris, and the swim is a shocker. SO brutal - there are no manners in the water. Can't wait to see what you do next!

  4. YAY TONI!!! Congratulations on your Tri! I know you worked really hard for it!! Your body is an AMAZING machine... :)

    Hell no would I go in the ocean even to dip my feet.. I am not a water person.. blergh!! hahaha love ya!!

    #teamIBOT xx

  5. You are amazing! I have loved following your journey. Our swimming journey is so similar but you have seriously kicked some ass taking it to the 'washing machine' level.

  6. Oh this is amazing!! I'd love to do a triathalon one day. This has made me want to even more!!!

  7. Congratulations!!!! Go you, so inspiring. Keep at it :)

  8. That's amazing Toni, I would love to add a tri to my bucket list, but I don't think I could do it. Ever!! Congratulations!!

  9. Incredible effort. Congratulations.

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