Thank you Southland Triathlon and Multisport Club for the event (and the event photos!) I had an absolute blast!
I wanted to try this as soon as the event came up on the local club page: but I had all sorts of apprehensions about it. What if I can’t walk that far? How will I get through transition? What do I need the handler to do? What if my legs are toast after the bike ride and I can’t do the second run?
Listen as a podcast
I have a friend (thanks Mary!) who is heavily involved in the tri club and is also an ITU technical official. So I talked to her and asked was it ok if I walked instead of ran. Once I got the ok (and the offer from her to be my handler) I knew it would actually be possible after all.
🎯 The goal: to have my first chance at practicing a transition as a para-athlete with a handler and start learning how it works / best ways to do things.
⛔️What I did not care about; how long it would take, if I would be the only walker, if I would be the only para (because I had the feeling I would be!) I didn’t even care if I didn’t finish. Transitions were the focus.
🏃♀️#1 (1km) A friend walked the first 1km with me, my goal here was to walk as fast as I felt I could sustain. I wanted to push myself, but within my own boundaries. 12min/km was my pace for the first kilometre walk (5kmph… we only JUST started adding intervals in at this pace two days ago in physio!)
🚴🏼♀️ (10km, 4 laps) Again my goal was sustainability. Being on a mountain bike instead of my race bike, I didn’t give a stuff what the speed was. I was trying to catch my friend (who got through transition way faster due to my leg situation 😂) I was actually catching her slowly but she had too much of a head start on me to catch her up before the end of the bike (but it did make her run all of the last section instead of walk!) I wasn’t actually last on the last quarter of the last lap, but clearly the 3 people behind me on bikes were NOT allowing a one legged cyclist to beat them (😂) and they all came motoring past puffing and panting before the lap was complete! All throughout the 10km bike ride I got tons and tons of cheers and hollers and gasps of amazement from the other cyclists / runners on the course. I had a feeling (later confirmed) that they had never had an amputee at this event before!
🏃♀️ #2 (1km) My friend was still out running the last leg when I came through transition so her husband (thanks Ross) walked my last km with me. I was amazed how good my leg felt after all it had already been through – considering I had not demanded this of it before 😂 but I did start to feel it towards the last 200m or so, with ham string and glute fatigue on the left side. But.. I made it through – and boy am I proud!
👏🏻 Thank you to all the competitors who shouted encouragement to me, young and old, you were all amazingly supportive
👏🏻 Thank you Mary, for your support and for being my handler for the very first time!
👏🏻 Thank you Liz for coming along, bringing your cheering squad and walking the first section with me
👏🏻 Thank you Southland Triathlon and Multisport Club for an awesome (incredibly inclusive) event, it was fabulous to be back in a Multisport event for the first time in almost a decade.
❤️ Baby steps lead to big goals, and this baby step was a very important milestone for me. ❤️