Taking the plunge

I have “taken the plunge” in more ways than one in the past few weeks. Grab a drink, you might be here for a while. I apologise in advance, but you have now been forewarned.


I did a swim session today. 1000m. 40 x 25m laps. I had a rest after each lap but it’s the first swim session I’ve done of my triathlon training program since I signed up with my coach last June. I have skipped every single one. Until now.

There are three main reasons I finally did it.

  1. I’ve continued on with the lessons on the swimming DVD I bought. I haven’t done any for the past two weeks though.
  2. I was holidaying within a couple of hours of where my coach lives (she just sends me a plan by email and I give her feedback about my times and how each session felt etc). I arranged to meet with her one day for some face to face technique instruction. (It turns out riding a bike is supposed to be easy! – Who knew?) She could see a huge difference in my swimming technique from when she last saw me in April and gave me some additional tips. I came away from that day incredibly sunburnt but as motivated about my triathlon journey as I’ve ever been.
  3. I went to the pool even though I feel inferior (and I know it’s irrational and illogical) and feel that I don’t deserve to be there when other “more serious” swimmers are swimming laps. I especially hate holding up the people who have placed themselves in the slow lane. I was so hung up about it that I submitted a question to the bloggers at The WaterBlogged Triathlete. You can read their encouraging response here.

I am retraining my body to breathe on alternate sides. I took on a bit of water trying to breathe on my left but not as much as I used to. I can definitely add chlorinated water to the list of foods and drinks to avoid because they bloat me up. There are so many things to think about when swimming. Breathing. Rolling. Hand entry angle. High elbows. Bent arms. Timing. You don’t need me to tell you that. I certainly can’t think about all of them at once. I tried to pick one or two at a time to focus on each lap. I guess that’s why coaches and trainers recommend drills!

I will have to work out what to do with my goggles. They left deep red marks (not quite welts) around my eye sockets. It could just be that I’m not used to wearing them for 45 minutes at a time. Or, maybe there’s another way to make them not leak, that doesn’t involve quite as much pressure on my face. This photo’s not very clear and was taken about five minutes after I took them off. 12 hours later, the area just under my eyebrows feels bruised to touch although it is no longer discoloured.



I took my bike to a bike shop and had it serviced and fitted. This was the best $50 I’ve spent in a while. I had the seat raised about 3 inches, moved back a bit and the angle changed. The gears are also not making horrible noises anymore. I’m still working up the courage to ride on the road with my cleats. Tomorrow morning I have a one hour ride on my program. I think I’ll be sticking with my sneakers at this stage. One fear at a time thank you.

When I spent my day with my coach, I joined in a time trial she had arranged with several other triathletes she coaches. Most of them are training for full or half ironman races. They were cycling between 70 and 100 km on a 10 km loop. I did 1.5 laps. 15km! That was a long ride for me. I discovered that I’d been riding my bike in the wrong gears too. In the same way that I though my body was supposed to be flat across the top of the water to decrease drag when swimming, which is wrong, very wrong, I thought that when cycling, I should have the bike in the hardest gear I can still manage to pedal. I’ve struggled, even on the stationery trainer sessions, to reach the cadences dictated by my coach. I had it all backwards. I should be trying to maintain a consistent cadence and choose the gear that helps me do that. I had no idea that cycling was supposed to be easy! What joy!

Here’s the cadence chart for my 15km ride that day. I’m supposed to have been aiming for a cadence of 85-90. On the first loop I didn’t reach that even on the downhill stretches. (That’s a whole other story – I brake on the downhill because I get scared of going too fast!)

Can you see the increase after the five minute chat about gear choices?


I’ve got a way to go in relation to consistency. It will be interesting to see the chart after tomorrow morning’s ride. It’s my first ride since the fit and the technique lesson. I’m even looking forward to it.


I also went for my first couple of runs since tearing my calf. I still can’t do the number of calf raises the physiotherapist said I should be able to do before running but I can’t do them on my good leg either which tells me I didn’t have the “required” strength even before the injury. I have started with short runs. Day 1, Week 1 of the C25K app was the first one. 60 second runs with 90 second walks between.

I had a 5 minute running technique session with my coach as well. I now know how to “run” rather than “plod”. It has significantly increased my pace. I am consistently under 6min/km now when that was almost my sprint pace before. Having said that, I can’t sustain it for very long yet.

Last Saturday I did the C25K walk/run (3km), then climbed up to the lookout and back with some friends (4.5km). I backed this up with a short course triathlon at Tamworth Tri Club. I had managed to convince a friend to come along. It was her first triathlon and she’s going to go back for more too! I was sore on Sunday. I might have overdone the “first day back into exercise”. On Tuesday I did another run session. Fortunately Thursday and Friday were both rest days. My calves have been a bit sore. There’s some consolation in that they are both sore which means it is “oh, I haven’t used those muscles for a while before” rather than aggravating the (now healed) tear.


I rejoined Triathlon Australia. I’m officially a triathlete again. I didn’t compete in a single race when I joined a few years ago. I have now done two of the local ones and my current goal is a sprint distance triathlon in May. 112 days to go. I was most concerned about the swim distance but for the past few weeks I’ve believed that it just might be achievable. Yay!

I only have 3.1 km to go to get to Melbourne. I didn’t quite make it by the end of the year. I would like to think that if I hadn’t torn my calf I would have stormed home. I should manage the 3.1km during a 1 hour ride tomorrow.


I’m doing a happy dance. On the inside.

The waves had dried in an interesting way at the beach one time when I was there. (It’s hard to believe we’ve been home again for a week and a half already. I could sooooo live at the coast.)



Look what some people had taken the time to mow into their lawn. I spotted this while out on one of my rides.


This was my contribution to Christmas lunch this year. I first saw the idea here on Trainer Thought For The Day’s Facebook page. I couldn’t bring myself to include “snow” since it’s summer here. Presents had to do. I don’t like licorice so there was no temptation there for me.


My next race is the short course again at Tamworth Tri Club on 8th February.

As you can see, there have been a number of a-ha moments for me since starting this triathlon journey. I’d be interested to hear about your biggest, clearest or most influential lightbulb moment. Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end.

Until next time, Heather.


11 thoughts on “Taking the plunge

  1. I don’t have a lot of choice when it comes to goggles (I have very strong prescription ones), but I have found that the more I wear them, the less noticeable the marks on my face have become, so maybe your skin just needs to get used to them? I’ve also found that washing my face well straight after swimming and applying moisturiser (which I don’t usually bother with) helps. Perhaps you can borrow a pair from someone else to see whether it’s the goggles that are the problem, or something else. Good luck!

    • Thanks Tamsyn, it’s nice to know there’s hope for my face. 😉 I’ll have to go pop some moisturiser in my swimming bag. Thanks for the tips.

  2. mytravelmateblog says:

    Not all goggles are equal when it comes to fitting a persons face. They can be a lot like bicycle saddles.

    • Hmmm. Food for thought there. I’ve using the saddle that came with my bike. I’ve never tried anything else. And I bought the cheapest goggles with a brand name I recognised. If my face doesn’t “toughen up” in the next little while I might investigate other options. Thank you.

  3. I’m reviewing some new goggles right now – be on the lookout for my post about them in February. I really like them and they might be better for you!!! Thank you for contacting us with your swimming question. I hope you feel more comfortable with practice! Let us know if you have any other questions.

    • Thank you. Again. Triathlon sounded like such a simple thing to get involved with when I did my first one. I’m starting to realise just how many factors there are to consider. And I’m not even aiming to be a world champion age-grouper. I’m just in it for the fun of it.

    • *blushing* Not so amazing, just determined, and happy that I’ve finally found a sporty activity I enjoy. It’s taken me almost 40 years to find it. I tell my friends, when I’m trying to convince them to join me, that what I love about triathlon is you don’t have to be GOOD at anything. You can be OKAY at all three and still reach the finish line. And there’s no pressure because you’re not letting anyone down if you have a bad day. It’s not a team sport. I’ve almost written a whole post in my reply so I’ll stop. Right now. Happy running!

  4. I know your pain with the goggles. Mine do he same after long swimming sessions. Mine are a bit old and I was thinking maybe the rubber has gone a bit hard ?!?

    • Mine are only a couple of years old (is that old in goggles years?) but I honestly don’t remember what they were like when I got them. Your suggestion could also be valid. I might duck into a shop and see what new ones look like. 🙂

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