I never thought i could do it! Alisha’s journey…

These past 5 months have been one of the most incredible journeys of my life.   I secretly harboured the dream of being a triathlete for months; however, before I consciously knew it, my mind was made up…

It started over a year ago, when I pitched up for my 90 min spinning class at Gardens, eagerly looking forward to spinning with Steve – the instructor with the chilled music, laid back but intense spin, an awesome body and FABULOUS legs.  I wanted legs like Steve (that was my initial goal)… Not only was the class empty, Steve was not there and I was informed by the staff at Virgin that he was in East London for the Ironman race……Hummm….Ironman…..

When Steve was back, I sought his advice on purchasing a bike (he recommended a mtn bike) and started stalking the ATC website.   After shopping around for a mtn bike, I realized, who was I kidding! I was not going to be cycling all over Table Mtn alone and I wanted to be on the road….because maybe, maybe I would one day do a triathlon……

I finally bought a bike and Steve referred me to Adri, who was leading a girl’s ride from the Point.   I contacted her early February last year and she agreed to meet me one morning for a ride.  I could not sleep that night, I was so excited, worried that I would not find her in the parking lot, and nervous, as I couldn’t really ride my bike!!! Adri was AWESOME, she was patient, good company, showed me how to change the gears and stuck with me on the busy Victoria road.

Somewhere along the ride, I knew I had to face the call. This is what I wanted to do: triathlon.  BUT, the swim was a problem…. I could not swim more than 25 m…

I called Lourens to resume classes.   Before Otters December a year ago, I would slink over to the baby pool; one, so no one could see me; and secondly, because I couldn’t manage the 25 m of the big pool!  I would wade around trying to swim, looking over at the big pool with the ‘real swimmers’ wishing I too could be there with them……

I have learned to swim for 70.3, which has required me training 5 – 6 days a week in the pool and open water.  For the past 5 months, 4 – 5 days a week, I have left the house around 4.45 am in the morning to be the first person in the Virgin Active pool when it opens at 5 am.  These past five months have taken all the energy and motivation I could muster, but all I’ve known is that I want to swim, and I had to swim for 70.3.  I don’t know if I have ever put so much focused energy into anything.  I can now swim, I am not the fastest swimmer, but I now know: All things are possible when you put in the hard work and effort and good people are there to help along the way.

In the past 5 months, I have completed:

• 3 and 1/3 triathlons (didn’t make the swim at Jailbreak )
• 5 or more 21 km races/runs
• 7+ 80 – 100 km cycle races/rides and
• ???? kms of swimming

The Embarkers have been AWESOME.   I have been ‘saved’ along the way by so many, the patience, willingness to help and encouragement have been overwhelming to me:
• To Steve, who planted the seed and welcomed me to participate
• To Adri, who taught me how to ride my road bike, saved me my first canal swim and provided words of encouragement to me before races
• To Tara who pushed me up the bottom of Sukerbouisse when I couldn’t clip in my new clipless shoes AND saved me at Silvermine and swam by my side at Clifton 4 to get me read for the swim
• To Jay, who swam with me at Clanwilliams
• To Ali, for encouraging me to give Silvermine another go, and swimming by my side all the way
• To Stace, Layla and Sarah and all of you who always believed in me when I didn’t think I could do it.
• For our amazing swim friends Anton and Lourens, who have taught me how to swim!
Thank you to Steve for Embark………..For being an Ambassdor for triathlon, for leading us Rookies on an amazing journey – always knowing how amazing and addictive Ironman 70.3 would be, but letting us discover for ourselves.  Somehow you have managed to assemble an EXTRAORDINARY group of individuals who are so wonderful and share my drive and passion for fitness.    I have LOVED everyday of training and being with this group: the journey has surpassed the destination.  And with that, I share a quote I found way back in August when we started:

“If you take any activity, any art, any discipline, any skill, take it and push it as far as it will go, push it beyond where it has ever been before, push it to the wildest edge of edges, then you will force it into the realm of magic.”

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