Triathlete? Who me?

I had just finished the Gold Coast Half Marathon and was sitting in the apartment after a celebratory dinner with a glass of wine in hand (of course!). One of my BEXI Buddies, Vicky Dawkins, asked: “So Sue, what’s next?  A triathlon?”  To which I responded: “Me? Never! I could never achieve that!”.  “Of course you can!”, answered Vicky.

The brain went straight into processing mode. If Vicky (Queen of triathlon’s and all things running), thinks I can… then maybe, just maybe. The seed was planted.

I went to the BEXI Triathlon information evening and met the BEXI coaches. They were top class, I knew I would be in safe hands.

So, with zero triathlon experience or kit – I started my journey. Buy a bike, then bike accessories, followed by all the swim gear.

My first swim session with Coach Emma was a waves session at Manly Beach.  I managed the first set, was so out of breath and unconditioned, that I had to sit out the rest of the session. What had I signed up for?!?

My first bike session was around Terrey Hills with Coach Phoebe, I was miles behind the leader pack, had no idea how to use the gears. I was completely scared.  Thankfully I had a few ‘back-of-the-pack’ buddies, equally petrified of cycling on the open roads. We made it back in one piece.

Part of the program was to join a local swim squad to improve stroke correction and technique. My gorgeous training buddy, Keiren Barham, joined me for a weekly lesson. Learning bilateral breathing was a huge confidence boost – but I was still nervous about open water swimming.

Cycling was a huge challenge! Coach Debbie took me under her wing and guided me on a few cycle rides. I was then confident to join my BEXI buddies on the M7 cycle path – notching up 60km on my second ride. Forever grateful to my BEXI buddy, Kaye Chan for organising these sessions.

I trained 6 days a week and got better and stronger each week.

Race weekend at the Long Course Weekend in Jervis Bay consisted of 3-events over 3-days. Swim on Fri (750m), Bike on Sat (20km) and Run on Sun (10km). I did it!!! I even had fun. But… there was no way I could do it all in a row.

Chatting to an ‘Event Crew Member’ after the event, I mentioned how much I loved the event and that I would seriously consider doing a ‘proper’ triathlon. The crew member was none other than the owner of Elite Energy Events – Mark ‘Emmo’ Emmerton. He resonated with my journey and we were soon swapping stories of starting out with our triathlon journies. Emmo kindly offered me a complimentary ticket for my next sprint triathlon.

I had such an awesome time at Jervis Bay, there is something special when you train with an amazing group of girls, coaches and people who believe and encourage you.

I took up Emmo’s offer and signed up for Wyong Triathlon which was 2 weeks later, I was back of the pack, almost last but had the most amazing time.  I felt so accomplished…I had done it.  I had completed my first sprint Triathlon.

Yes, I am hooked and it is addictive.

The whole process of training for a triathlon taught me so much about myself – facing fears, discipline, determination, perseverance, discomfort. But perhaps the best decision I made was to surround myself with people to support my journey.


Sue Naylor
BEXI Triathlete 2017  (70.3 triathlete in-training)