For the past 12 months, most of you have got to know me as the chick on the end of the phone or email – well, over the next few months, you’re going to get to know me very well, and let me assure you, it ain’t gonna be pretty! As you might well imagine, the first question people always ask me is ‘so, do you do triathlons yourself?’ This has been met with a mumbling reply incorporating every excuse under the sun – mostly centred around the fact that over 40 hours a week of my time is devoted to triathlon already, why would I want to train as well? But I’ve finally run out of excuses, and it’s time to face the music……I’m biting the bullet and getting into training for my very first triathlon!

The rationale is this:

  • I’m sick of being tired all the time and having no energy
  • I’m sick of not just being able to ‘do’ physical activities like I used to
  • I’m staring 30 in the face – if I don’t arrest the slide now, it may be too late in a couple of years
  • I know what I need to be doing to improve my fitness (I did my Honours in Sport Science for goodness sake, you’d think I could write myself a decent generic program and stick to it)
  • I have access to the best people in the business for advice, training partners, gear etc.
  • I only have a job, a partner and friends to make time for, plus the occasional phone call to keep the family in Melbourne happy, so time shouldn’t be an issue
  • I watch waaay too much TV and my brain is atrophying.

Basically, my inaction has come down to a lack of motivation, and a poor body image. So I’m going public with my campaign, in the hope that the potential for humiliation will be enough to spur me on. With any luck (and yes, some hard work), the body will improve as well – but you can bet your bottom dollar when I’m out there participating, that bit between my waist and my knees will be well and truly covered!

So, here’s the plan. First, I’m joining a gym to improve my strength and general fitness, and I’m going to talk to every sporting (medical) practitioner that I know to make sure my previously unreliable body doesn’t break too much. Once I have started on the road to establishing a level of base fitness, the specific training will start. But let me make one thing clear from the outset – I will be starting at the Finish for Fun distance (300/10/3) and I am NOT setting myself a target event. For one, I know I have a lot of work to do. Two, I’m not setting myself up for a huge crowd to watch me drown. So whichever event it is, only those who happen to be there themselves will get to see me participate (there will be no competing, and definitely no racing involved).

Of course, there are a number of major flaws to my plan:

  1. I can’t swim very well at all (just ask Paul Newsome), and I have an inordinate fear of the open water. I think that comes from being a Melbourne girl, when we might have trekked to the beach (and yes, I use that term very loosely) once a year and every time I managed to get down there, I got dumped on the shore. Warren and Barry (Transition Wear) aasure me a wetsuit will help me get over my fear of the rips, so they’re going to look after me – thanks boys (because I don’t relish the river much either)!
  2. I still have bruises all over my legs from the last time I fell off, I mean rode, my mountain bike
  3. The last time I ran, some 18 months ago, I did a 10km fun run on no training (definitely not recommended). Why they call them fun runs is beyond me, as in my case, there was little fun, and not too much running either! And my reason for doing it? My mates talked me into it, and I didn’t see the point in getting up that early on a Sunday for only 4kms! Very warped logic, I know, but I’m sure you’ll see more of that in the coming months.

Kelly and I have had a few conversations about what to call this particular diary. For the past three seasons, you have been regaled with the exploits of Diaries of Ironmen/women and this season we have the added bonus of “Diary of an Ironmum”. All very inspiring stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. But now we need to have a look at things from the other angle. Everyone outside our sport sees it as extreme and elitist, and the competitors themselves as crazy nutters. While I can’t do much about you crazies, I can do my bit for changing people’s perceptions – after all, if I can do it, ANYONE can. So, I’ll be “Putting the TRI back into Triathlon” instead – corny, but apt.

Unlike the other diarists, I will not be giving myself a rating each day – I have resigned myself to the fact that this is going to hurt, regardless of how I might wake up in the morning. Maybe down the track when there is a discernible difference between a good training day and a bad one, I might rethink this approach. For now, let’s just assume I feel different shades of ordinary!

My apologies in advance if my diary entries over the next few months make it seem like I’m preparing for Ironmanl – I know my training load won’t even begin to compare to yours. But in some ways, this is my ‘ultimate challenge’, and at this point in time, I’m not entirely convinced I can achieve it. So in that way, the mind set is perhaps not that different.

And the next time someone asks me THAT question, I’ll be able to answer in all honesty, ‘No, but I’m on my way’! And along the journey, maybe I can encourage other previously inactive people to take up this sport you all seem to love and that is finally growing on me.