Never ever have I EVER thought I’d be part of a triathlon club...not even talking about participating in Ironman races! I have friends who participate in ironman races quite regularly.. and they always seem to intimidate me a bit.. until I started dreaming about completing my own 70.3.
I could not swim, I did not have a bike, and I’ve never even ran any race. December 2017 a couple of my friends from church decided they want to do the Durban 70.3 the next year.. so that is when it all started, I started dreaming.. and I also completed my first 70.3 in June 2018.
Now to make a very long story short.. I did not have the best of first half-ironman experiences! Biggest factor contributing to this was the fact that I got lost on the bike route (those that know me will start laughing now, because they know I have NO sense of direction, and I get lost VERY EASILY..). I finished the race, I got my medal, but it was a semi-traumatizing experience to me, as at least 4 officials either yelled at me or got very upset with me.. I eventually had to restart the second loop of the bike leg, being completely alone on that high-way.. trying to catch-up from behind, and finished the rest of the bike and run route almost completely alone on the course.
After my race in June 2018 I read a Trivium blog post on Facebook from a school friend of mine, Hendrik, where he described his experience of joining Trivium, the coaching, and completing a 70.3 with them (compared to all the previous ironman races he did).
I started dreaming again... and I contacted Magda, asked if I can meet her for coffee. Initially I was a bit intimidated by telling a professional triathlete about my dream to participate in this sport, I thought the club was full of semi-professional athletes and that I would never fit in....
While writing this, and thinking back of all those early fears.. they seem so silly now! Joining Trivium was one of the BEST decisions I have EVER made!! One of our first group training sessions was at Tuks, on the tartan track – I was so scared, I have never even been on a tartan track. The first, and last time, I ever ran track was that first day in primary school where they make you compete to see who will go through to the athletics team. Luckily my fears did not even last 10 minutes, as everybody from Trivium made me feel so welcome, and I soon realised nobody is competing with each other, everyone is competing with themselves.. everyone has their own goals and own dreams.
This year, June 2019, I completed my second Durban 70.3, and it was such an amazing experience! Magda advised me to go stand in one of the faster blocks at the swim start, and it made such a big difference as I actually had people around me in the race this time, and I could experience the whole vibe on the bike and run route!! I think I was the happiest participant in that whole race, as I could not stop smiling and enjoying all the people around me! I regularly saw one of my fellow Trivium team members on either the bike or run route, or next to the road supporting, and that made it even more memorable!
Two weeks before our race I got very sick, and although I did everything I could think of to get better, I just did not get any better. Eventually I was a bit disappointed, as I was so looking forward to see what I can achieve, as my swimming, cycling and running have improved so much training with Magda! At that stage Magda was in the UK, participating in some of her own races, so she phoned me and convinced me that she think I can participate, but the battle will be the strongest in my head, so I need to be prepared.
I realised, just as in our everyday lives, sometimes stuff happens that we did not plan for, or that was not part of our dream... but the way we treat those changes determines what kind of life we have!!
We only have this one lifetime.. one time to truly LIVE! Joining Trivium and doing triathlons has teached me that we are capable of way more than we can ever dream of. This sport is extremely rewarding, takes up a lot of time, money and energy.. but you also learn so much about yourself in the process. One area where I’m still learning daily, and aiming to gain more wisdom in, is to live out dreams like these, but not let them consume me.. still prioritising my time with God, and staying close to His feet. I have so much respect for my fellow Trivium members who can balance work, their families, and training!
One last word: Coachie, I just want to thank you for everything! I have enjoyed learning from you so much, but even more than that, getting to know you as a person have been such a pleasure! I don’t know how you do it.. you are a pro athlete, but somehow you manage to meet me right at my level, you can relate to my dreams, and you know just how to motivate me! I look forward to many more adventures with my fellow Trivium family... bring on the next DREAM!!!
- Richa Wentzel
This blog is written by the coach and athletes associated with Trivium.