Qwik Kiwi is all about challenging oneself. Ok so this week’s challenge is writing and how can I live up to the great stories I love to read from others on the team. I can’t, but here goes anyway and I’ll start with my first chat in November with Ray when I was contemplating returning to the team.
I was working towards my second attempt at a marathon. After putting in a lot of effort, I made the disappointing decision to drop back to the 1/2 in Auckland due to an injury, which in hindsight was probably the right decision. I needed to work through that and I also mentioned I was going to do the Pegasus triathlon at which I didn’t think I had much hope of qualifying for the Triathlon World Champs (TWC). I do remember Ray saying that I might surprise myself, which in itself was a surprising comment. I do tend to lack confidence in my abilities.
The swim was a little embarrassing as I was last out of the water by 7 minutes. Cringe factor when the marshal said at least I was still smiling (probably more like laughing with embarrassment at myself for going twice around the 10-foot high buoy (or so it seemed) and wondering why the next marker was nowhere to be seen. The bike was hard work, even though it was a flat course and the run was a nice little push (usually my preferred discipline).
I think quietly I was hoping I wouldn’t qualify, knowing all the hard work that would be ahead if I did. I gave it my best shot anyway and did surprise myself to beat the benchmark. Damn, now I really had to knuckle down, although the focus was more on the Rotorua marathon and my first ever 3km sea swim until they were out of the way.
Looking back I’d think the training had been quite tough, but really it wasn’t. It was more the elements that were a challenge. Being on the bike in sub-zero temperatures in the pouring rain for 3 hours at a time, it seemed like every week over the winter made it tough going (Ray called it “building resilience” LOL!) I always think that getting out the door is the hardest part of training (I can procrastinate with the best if I have the luxury of time) then it was just a case of following what was set. Next most difficult was getting my head around my incredibly clever watch which earned me a place on Ray’s list of TCPs (Technically Challenged Persons) but he has been super patient with me.
Fast forward to the Gold Coast
What an awesome experience to represent New Zealand again. This time the field was 4 times bigger than the DWC in 2015, triathlon was seemingly so much more popular than duathlon.
Ray got me to the start line much stronger and faster than my qualifying race. Serious stuff now and completely focussed – I sliced 3:13 mins off the swim – (it helps when you don’t do extra loops around the buoys!). I was delighted to have 3 behind me at the swim exit and met my goal of not being last.
On the bike section, I felt “on fire” and thought it was because my bike had been lovingly washed and oiled with a new race tire, but no I just felt so strong. I kept picking off one rider after another and even managed to briefly utilise the drafting I’d been practicing with Tasman Wheelers. I usually ride on my own so learning to bunch ride was a new, rather unnerving experience where I just needed to trust those riding around me. My time was 8:14 mins faster than qualifying – yee ha!!
On the run, I stopped to go to the loo which my teammates were horrified to hear. OMG, the alternatives they suggested of peeing in my wetsuit or on the bike were just too gross for this old girl to consider. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that so I’m obviously not dedicated enough. The other thing that slowed me down was I stopped to help a fellow athlete who was suffering from heat stroke and I got her some assistance. I dropped at least two places but no regrets. I’d do it again, although I probably disappointed Ray with my time:38 sec slower [your compassion and consideration for other people do NOT disappoint me Janne, we are all part of the same HUMAN team – Coach Ray]. With the training I’d done, I should have done better.
Overall I was a massive 10mins 49sec faster than Pegasus, all thanks to Ray.
Would I do it again? Probably not as it’s a very expensive exercise and there were serious flaws in the uniform sizing, making for a stressful departure. My “medium” swimsuit that they replaced last minute was smaller than the original “small” that I received. I paid to get it altered and by using the straps on one I added 20cm to the other, which then meant I could actually breathe! I picked this up from the sewing shop on my way to the airport!!
I think that you pay for the privilege of representing your country with massive entry fees, compulsory insurance, hotel, travel, uniform, etc. It’s the experience of a lifetime at such a well-run event that I’d highly recommend doing at least once given the opportunity, but there are so many fantastic events out there these days you can be very choosy.
Thanks, Ray for being there for me on the journey, increasing my confidence, and getting me race ready.
Ok coach onto the next event(s) on the bucket list!
– Janne Falkner
If like Janne you have got a big goal you need assistance to complete, apply to join Team Qwik Kiwi.
Click here for more information: https://www.coachray.nz/get-coached-coach-ray/coaching