From Knee Reconstruction To Triathlons

beginners race report

In July last year, my short-lived football career as captain of South Melbourne Bloods came to a sudden halt with two meniscus tears and one blown ACL in my left knee.


As a result, I had a knee reconstruction and for the first three months, I could not weight bear let alone walk… and I lived at the top of a four-story house with only stairs!


Needless to say, with two years of rehab ahead of me I quickly realized that for both my mental health and my relationship’s sake, I was going to need some kind of shorter-term goal and a physical outlet.


Apparently, triathlons are good for knees...


I did a good google search and found TriChicks. It was the middle of winter, and coach Amy said she was a few months away from running the Beginner TriChicks Course, but to come down anyway and start training. 


I still remember the first session I came to, it was an outdoor pool session in the middle of winter at 5.45 am. I didn’t know anyone.


It was pretty nervous, especially because I still couldn’t run, I hadn’t swum in maybe 10 years and I only had a crappy hybrid bike (which felt like I was on a Huffy BMX trying to keep up with the girls).


But, it was the friendly faces and amazing feeling I got jumping out of that first pool session that had me hooked and I kept coming back.


Now fast forward about four months (or 15 months post-surgery)... 

Signing up and committing to my first Sprint Distance Triathlon was a massive feat, months earlier it was unfathomable to even think of running 5km!


So when I got to race day, I had one goal — never stop and finish this race. My number one tip, low expectations definitely help settle the nerves. 


After a few novice errors (like trying to enter the bike transition area without a helmet and no stickers), I stealthily tried to copy other people setting up their transition without getting caught.


I also got fellow TriChicks Annabel and Jess to give my transition the tick of approval – I felt ready!


And then, it started pouring down with rain. Like really pouring. Thankfully, as soon as we stepped out for the first race, it stopped and the sun continued to shine for the rest of the day.


The race…


The swim was really hard, like way harder than I thought it would be. Thankfully, the water was calm, but with lots of legs and arms on top of each other, it made it hard to get into a rhythm. I have never once done breaststroke at training, but all of a sudden, I felt compelled to do a few strokes to keep calm but I got through it.


Next up was the ride. There were cute little sheep along the side, lots of green fields and the sun stayed out.


On the way out, I was like “Yes! I’m killing it”, I even overtook someone (just quietly he was wearing green and gold triathlon suit).


However, little did I know that as soon as we turned around and started heading back, there was a shocking headwind and I swear I almost got blown over. But I made it through and got onto the run. 


Far out, people can seriously run fast with heavy legs!


It was awesome passing the other TriChicks on the course, those smiles and cheers made a world of difference. Annabel and I even nailed a high five as we ran past each other that would have made anyone proud!


It’s super lame, but every time I was struggling (especially when people were overtaking me), I had to remind myself that I am so grateful to be out here and that a lot of people are not as lucky!


I think it’s a nice reminder for us all.


My first triathlon was way harder than I ever thought it would be but way more rewarding too.


Finally, a huge thank you to all the TriChicks who made the effort to learn my name, lent me gear, smiled when I turned up, patiently rode with me at the back of the pack, and kept encouraging me!


I couldn't have done it without you!


Always wanted to do a triathlon but don’t know where to start? Do you feel intimidated about joining a triathlon squad without any knowledge of the sport? Then our Beginner TriChicks Course is just for you!  Be guided by Amy Johnson - Founder of TriChicks, in all things swim, bike, and run! Not only will you join a group of like-minded women, but you will also walk away with the skills, fitness, and confidence to complete a triathlon.  

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