A triathlon at 40

I ventured into the world of blogging nearly four years ago as I was verging on the big Four Oooooh Birthday. I was already reasonably fit but felt the need for some new challenges. Even after losing 25 kg (through lapband surgery) I was still considered “extremely” obese with a BMI of 40. I wanted to share my journey of being Fat and Fit with the world and whoever wanted to listen.

I had been seeing my personal trainer for about five years, sometimes up to four days a week (before children) and then once or twice a week (after children). He was passionate about the indoor rower and I would say I was “row fit”. I still constantly struggled to lose weight because as they say “you can’t out train a bad diet”. He always encouraged me to eat better and we’d talk about food choices, but I was stubborn and didn’t like to be told I couldn’t have a little bit of an entire block of chocolate. One day during our time together, he said to me, “I’m not going to talk to you any more about food, I’m just going to train you”. Wow, that gave me a reality check, I guess everyone has their limits.

During a group session one day he said let’s go outside. He sent us all for a run around the block for about 300 metres. I had to walk quite a lot during that lap. Then we did a few other exercises and then we were sent for another lap. It wasn’t any better.

These sessions went on over a few weeks and one day I managed to run the entire lap – an epic 300 metres. I was astounded with myself. As the weeks progressed, not only did I run further in my sessions but I got out and started running on my own, gradually hitting 1k, 2k, then 3k. I would even pack my running gear when I went on holidays and would venture out on holidays and explore whilst running. One day after a run I came home and exclaimed to hubby that I had just done 4k non-stop, I was so excited I thought maybe I had 5k in me somewhere, and the next week I DID it, BAM. It took me three to four months to go from zero to hero 5k. My pace was very slow, over nine minutes per kilometre, but I was doing it.

Action shot

My trainer was not shocked with my progress, he said “I always knew you could do it, now let’s get you doing a triathlon”. I went home and signed up for Triathlon Pink and rather than going with the shortest distance I went for the longest distance of 300m swim, 9k bike and 3k run. Once I signed up I was committed and terrified all at the same time, I didn’t know if I could do it but I wanted to try.

My daughter was two years old when all of this was happening and I was juggling work, family and training. I had a very supportive husband who would give me time to venture out on the weekends to do my training. I was getting about one of each swim, ride and run sessions in each week and I really didn’t have any idea of what I needed to do so I just kept plodding along. Occasionally I would selfishly drop Miss 2 off at daycare early to get in a workout before work. I wanted to get to Triathlon day and say I’d made every effort to train when I could, not “I wish I’d gotten out of bed earlier”.

I was capable of completing all legs of the triathlon distances individually but didn’t know if I could string them all together. My training in the months leading up to my first Tri was derailed with a never-ending cough, full on man-flu, two funerals, hubby away for a few weeks and a badly sprained ankle. These challenges were sent to test my commitment to the goal.

In October 2012 the day came and I successfully completed my first triathlon. It took me 1:09.57 and I came 681 position out of 774 competitors for my distance. That season I went on to complete the Illawarra Aquathon (swim/run) and then on the weekend of my 40th Birthday I did Husky Enticer Triathlon. That’s right, a triathlon for my birthday, no wild party. Who had I become? I finished out the season with my local Tri the Gong and a few weeks later found out that I was pregnant and would have been during that last event. So here I was 40 pregnant, fit and happy.

I continued on my fitness journey throughout my pregnancy (modified accordingly), had a beautiful baby boy in November 2013 to complete our family. Seven weeks after my caesarian I was back at the gym.

 40th Birthday Tri

I focused back on my indoor rowing and in December 2014 competed a Half Marathon on the rower (just for fun and charity). The following year I had my Lapband removed due to medical complications and had to recover before settling back into training. I went on to compete at the NSW Indoor Rowing Championships in July 2015 and then Australian Championships in November 2015 and finished out the year by rowing the most painful of things, a full Marathon 42,195m on the rower in December 2015.

After that mammoth three hours and 45 minutes of horror I decided to turn my focus back to Triathlons (I couldn’t even look at the rower). So in 2016 I completed three triathlons each time with a friend who either had never done a Triathlon or had not Tried for 20 something years. I wanted to share that feeling of accomplishment and the sheer joy of crossing the finish line at an event like that with as many people who were crazy enough to have a go. 

Since my Lapband has been removed I have put on about eight kilos and whilst I still want to lose this weight plus more, I never lose sight of the fact:

You don’t have to be thin to be fit!

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