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The start of triathlon – one small step away from chocolate

I have always run. And if I’m honest, I’ve always run so I could eat chocolate! I have been known to go for a “run” just to get chocolate. Who says running doesn’t have a point!

When I was growing up I religiously ran the 3km school cross countries and was pretty good at them too. As I got older I focused more on my studies and less on exercise. Big mistake! When I started working after university I had a bit of an epiphany and realised that if I was going to sit at a desk all day I needed to be more active during the other parts of the day. Luckily my employer was really good and paid for race entries.

I started running longer distances and entering half marathons. I had as a goal, and still do, of running a half in 90mins. My closest time to date has been 92mins.

Each year I looked for a new challenge. Spurred on by friend who wanted to enter “The Goat” I tried mountain running.


I don’t particularly enjoy mountain running, especially that course, but find it really hard to say no! Plus these events are always a great weekend away with friends.

I did these events for a number of years and got married in the meantime. After our wedding my husband, Scott, started to get serious about his own weight loss and goal setting.


In 2012 Scott brought up the idea of completing a half ironman triathlon. Scott had recently lost some weight and was beginning to find the joys of running. I was looking for a new challenge at the time and thought that a half ironman would be a fun thing for us to do together.

I had done some short distance (and very informal) triathlons when I was in primary and high school. However, I really disliked the swimming part. I remember my first triathlon in Flaxmere, Hawkes Bay (cue the jests) – Wikipedia says:

“Flaxmere was built to cater to the housing demand of Hastings. Flaxmere was intended to be an upper-middle class subdivision but because land was subdivided into smaller lots it turned into a low income neighbourhood. Flaxmere has one of the highest social deprivation index values of the Napier-Hastings metropolitan area, being exceeded only by the suburbs of Camberley and Maraenui.”

In this race the swim came last but was only one length of the swimming pool. As soon as I could touch the bottom of the pool I walked it!

It was a long time until I tried triathlon again.

But back to 2012. Around April, Scott and I entered the Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Taupo Half Ironman. It wasn’t until December but we were quite keen. Scott had done competitive swimming when he was younger. But I needed help so I joined a swim squad that meet at Karori Pool on Monday nights. I also did a lot of research on the internet to find a training programme that I could understand. That was not easy.

I also bought a road bike when the bike shops did their half price sale. I had in my head that I would be able to do the bike part of the event on my mountain bike. However, after a few road rides on it I was quickly disabused of that idea. I picked up this Merida bike for $1500.


It was much nicer to ride!

Scott found a good Merida bike on Trademe for $700, score! So now we were all set.


As it turned out Scott and I did not train together like I though we would. I prefer to get my training out of the way before work and at lunchtime so that if other things come up during the day I don’t have to worry about missing training. Scott prefers to sleep in and train after work. It also didn’t help that Scott and I were at completely different levels when it came to running.

Our friends also starting putting bets on who would complete the Half Ironman in the faster time. Scott was a better swimmer and stronger cyclist, but he would need a big gap on me going into the run to hold me off. Needless to say, things got a bit competitive in our household!

Race day came around soon enough. Before we knew it we were packing up the car and trying to figure out how to fit two bikes and all our gear into the boot of a Honda Civic. This presented its own challenge as, anyone who has done any triathlon knows, there is so much gear that goes along with it.

We couldn’t have really asked for a better race day. It was hot but the lake was calm for the swim and I don’t remember there being that much wind out on the bike. The swim course runs out and back along the shore of Lake Taupo. Transition is up at the Great Lake Centre and from there the bike heads out to Reparoa and back. The run also followed the footpath and paved walkway along the edge of the lake. It is a very good course for spectators.

Can you tell we are nervous! Or is it just cold?

Can you tell we are nervous! Or is it just cold?

Scott led out of the water by about a minute. But I was pretty pleased with my 44min 2km swim. With my quick transition into the bike I then overtook Scott, at least until he caught back up again. My goal for the bike was to complete the 90km course in about 3 hours. When Scott passed me after 45km it spurred me on to keep him in sight and not lose focus.

My bike time was 2:52 hours. I was stoked! I was also only about 17 seconds behind Scott, not that he knew that! Again, my quick transition meant I started the run course first and was fueled by my competitive nature. My bum and back were just so excited to be off of that bike! I probably ran a little bit to fast to start with, I was that excited, but I reined it in and finished strongly.

I cannot describe the relief that flooded over me as I crossed the line.

I cannot describe the relief that flooded over me as I crossed the line.

My total time was 5:32:42 and Scott put in a massive effort to run on an injured achilles. He finished in 5:58:05 and achieved his goal of finishing in under 6 hours.

I enjoyed the race so much that I have kept going with triathlon and that following year I entered Ironman for 2014. Scott completed his goal and has continued running making great improvements there. In fact he achieved a massive personal best in his 10km of 42:10 at the Wellington Road Champs in Wainuiomata this year.

The Ironman in 2016 will be my third one. I hope to not only better my time from last year but also make the top 2 in my age group. Let’s see how I go!

Achievable goals for achievable results.



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