On New Years day I went on a hike with a group of friends including the charming Leah. During our walk she told me about her recent experience doing her first triathlon. It was such a cool story I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing more about that experience and happily for us she agreed!😊
In December 2019, you did your first triathlon. What made you decide to give it a go?
Leah: I started to do regular exercise last winter (2019), I built my running up slowly to 3 km and then to 5 km runs. I started thinking… I’m keen to try something I have never done before! Around the same time I was introduced to mindfulness and I started becoming aware more of my thought patterns.
How did mindfulness influence you in the decision to give triathlon a go?
Before practicing mindfulness I had a lot of negative self talk, lot’s of reasons why I shouldn’t try something new, a lot of excuses too. But as I started to learn more about mindfulness and about noticing my (often self-limiting/negative thoughts) I decided to challenge them, and the idea of doing a triathlon took place!
That’s such a positive step! How did the triathlon go? What did you enjoy and what was hard?
The ocean swim was SO hard, because the waves were really big!!! The swim section was held at the Mt Maunganui main beach. I literally just stood there on the beach looking at the waves wondering how on earth I was even going to begin while watching the other competitors run into the ocean. My little girls who are 6 & 8 years old were standing on the beach watching me and they were crying because they were worried about me. As I stood there I thought about all the months of training I had done leading up to the event, I also wanted to show my girls that I am a strong and to be a good role model to them, to try even when it’s very hard or seems impossible! I thought I have to try! That was when a serendipitous moment occurred and I met Gene👼. Gene is a volunteer lifesaver from the Mt Maunganui Surf lifesaving club.
Gene asked if I’d like his help (yes!) and helped calm my nerves by talking to me, helping me to see a way that would make it possible for me to give it a go. He gave me his surf lifesaving board so I could lie on it and paddle, while he swam next to me- supporting and encouraging me throughout the whole swim.
His support and that of the other volunteers on the course was what kept me going. Thanks so much Gene 😊especially, but also to all the other volunteers on the day!
What I loved…I really loved the bike section, that was really enjoyable, and the run, although it was hard at the beginning it was also pretty good too (everything was easy compared to the swim!) My goal was to finish, get the medal and I did that so I am proud of myself for giving it a go and now I have ticked ✅that new thing off my list!
That’s an amazing! What a huge challenge that you overcame, you should be very proud of yourself! You mentioned you have a list of things you want to try, what else is on your list?
Later this year I intend to visit my family in Japan, where I am from and while I’m there it is my goal to climb Mt Fuji in Japan. It takes between 5-7 hrs to reach the summit and I want to be up there to see the sunrise! There are huts you can stay at on the way up. Another thing I’d like to do is walk the Tongariro Crossing to celebrate my 38th Birthday later this year. I’m also researching trail running events… and I’ve recently started learning the piano via YouTube!
That’s very inspiring! Do you think you will do another triathlon?
Yes, but not in the open ocean!
What advice do you have for someone considering doing a triathlon for the first time?
Once you set the goal, do what ever training you can fit in. Show up for yourself, but at the same time don’t overthink it, just do it!
😀Thanks so much for sharing Leah! Can’t wait to hear about hiking up Mt Fuiji!