My triathlon career started exactly 4 years ago at the Bela Bela 5150. It was my first triathlon ever. My goal was to do the half Ironman in East London the following year, but someone from the office advised me that maybe I should do this race first to get used to transitioning from one sport to another.
It was very good advice, as I could not really swim at the time and Bela Bela is a safe race for non-swimmers. This “someone from the office” was also at that Bela Bela race, and helped me with my warm-up swim on the Friday before the race. He started talking about having a race belt and I had no idea what that was, I thought I could swim with my race number. My support team, consisting of my mom and dad helped me to make a belt out of an elastic band, as racing belts were already sold out at the expo.
I loved my first triathlon, even though I got a flat tire, struggled with the swim and did an average run. My finish time was a PB! And I was hooked, even though I still had a big fear of open water swimming.
I started cycling with this “someone from the office” and he told me that he is not waiting for me. I either have to speed up or get left behind. He is so much of the reason I became the triathlete I am today. That “someone” is now my husband and my number 1 supporter.
When I started working at Stanlib 2 years ago, I met Travis. He told me he coaches this running group at Saints and I must come join them as running in the dark and alone was not a good idea. After much procrastination I finally rocked up on a Wednesday in May last year. I have barely missed a session since. Going to track on Wednesdays and Fridays changed my running significantly.
Before the race at Bela Bela this year, I felt strong and ready, but got more nervous as race day approached. We have put in some solid training hours in the last 3 months with May Madness, followed by Jolly Jog June and then Operation Michael Phelps. I felt more confident in my swimming than ever before, and for the first time, lined up at the start line not feeling any anxiousness about the open water swim.
The ladies started in the middle of the day and in the last wave. This meant that it was bloody hot and you had to fight for space on the course during the cycle and run.
I finished my swim in my best time ever and then started with my favourite part of the race. The bike at Bela Bela is tough and Travis told me beforehand to push on the hills as there was enough time for recovery. I gave it my best shot and it paid off. I had the fastest bike split for the day.
Going into the run, I knew I was in 3rd spot but the 3 minutes I had to make up was just too much. I ran as fast as my jelly legs would let me and I was very happy with the result.
But all of this would not have been possible without the big support system I have behind me. My husband is always there to tell me to go faster and harder and how proud he is. My parents are my big back up team and are at every race that they can be. And then there is the MTD squad. As much as triathlon is an individual sport, you need the teammates and camaraderie to make it all worthwhile. My coach changed my life, and I am forever thankful for the changes he has made to my swim, cycle and run. The continued support from the rest of MTD is overwhelming. Guys and girls coming through just to watch and cheer the team on, makes it worth the pain to give it my best at every race. Thank you team MTD!