The question I think I have been asked the most since I started running and cycling is: Will you ever do an Ironman?
My reaction was always no. It was a major fear for me to be in open water with so many people fighting to the finish line.
It wasn’t until Penticton challenge came that I found myself constantly googling.
I think it was because Penticton is a place I love to visit and I felt the race itself would be more welcoming then an Ironman.
I was totally right, the town of Penticton was such a huge factor of why I loved this event, there was probably 2 volunteers to every athlete.
The streets were filled with people cheering or standing outside of their homes with garden hoses to spray us down.
This is the first event that as soon as I crossed the finish line, I was signing up for next year! I really hope to bring as many people as I can with me!
How I faced my fear of open water, and made it to the start of the Penticton challenge:
There are some key people that I need to thank because without them I would not have made it.
In the fall I started swimming lesson and joined the Masters Swim program at Walnut grove pool. These were the best things I could have ever done as the coaching there was amazing. I honestly thought I could swim until I went there; apparently I was doing everything wrong.
They helped me improve my skills which lead to improving my stamina and speed. I swam at the pool 2-3 times a week, and once spring came I was at the lake 1 day a week training open water.
I can remember the first time Alan Novotny took me to White Pine, all I did was stand there and stare at the water thinking: how I could swim across a lake and then back. My wet suit became my safety blanket, you honestly float! I went from 60 minutes swimming 2km to 45 minutes on race day!
Despite all the training and open water swims I had done, all my fears came back in the water race day. As soon as the gun went off, I put my head under water and I could feel the panic coming on. There was people all around me, all I saw was arms and swim caps and I was in full panic. I was so happy the life boat wasn’t close to me or it would have been over! I would have asked them to pull me in, but instead I just stopped, I just stopped moving and talked to my self. “I can do this! Nothing is going to happen!” I then started to swim again and pushed my way through the crowd! I remember the feeling as I came to shore and looked up at my whole family: Mom, Dad, Aunty L-Anne and Jenna, Uncle Bill and Rick, my cousin Devin, my son Chandler, and of course my husband Robin!
I did it! I had already won because I faced my fear! I felt so alive and never felt so proud!
The rest of the race was amazing, even the road run was perfect because it was an out and back I was able to see my friend Kyle Conway and know that he was finishing too.
The highlight of my race was seeing my family at ever transition, kisses good bye, and of course my son Chandler running me in to the finish line.
I also saw my brother-in-Law completing his first Marathon in the full relay, my friend Kyle Conway finishing his first triathlon, and my friends Janet and Marc completing the half relay.
The finish line was a celebration of training all year together spending endless miles on the bike, running and learning to swim open water together.
Penticton challenge you brought me out of my comfort zone and challenged me in every way, but I will be back!!
The tri-kit I wore through out the whole race is made by our partnered company, C4! Click on our store to order your own Run Like A Girl kit! 🙂