The countdown is on to the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon, with seven weeks to race day on Saturday, March 2.
Although the more experienced triathletes around town are looking forward to some friendly rivalry with their mates, the event is ideally suited to newcomers to the sport.
With two friends, anyone can take on the challenge of a complete short triathlon, knowing there's plenty of support.
In a new initiative this year, a coaching programme was set up with three experienced coaches and a physiotherapist, aimed at easing new triathletes through to the start line in the best shape possible.
Justine and Lou Perkins joined Suzi Hulme to form Team Evolve. They took on the training challenge and as a Christmas present won the draw to get the entire package and their race entry free, in exchange for letting us follow their progress in the next few weeks.
The team have now had their first swim session with coach Lionel Padial. Next week we'll see how it went, but first, an introduction to the team members.
Lou and Justine are married, with daughters aged 14 and 16. Justine takes up the story:
"Over the years we've dabbled in outdoor activity, tramping and some events. Lou has been doing laps twice a week at Riverside for the last four months and has been an avid mountainbike rider for the last five years. He took up running in 2011 when he trained for the Loop the Lake run. He then went on to do the six-hour Rollos and then the duathlon part of the Musselman. His biggest challenge would be the transition from bike to run as he tends to cramp up. He and I are very motivated to keep moving and improving so we can complete more challenges all over the world in the future. There's so much to do."
Since starting with the Taylor's Nelson Women's Triathlon in 2007, Justine's dealt with a severe back injury, but gone on to do a lot of trail running, including both Loop the Lake and Captain Cook's Landing twice and an event across Mt Ruapehu.
"My goal is about time management, with running the family day-to-day and work and learning precision training skills in each discipline (swimming being completely new), so I struggle less and achieve better results and keep focus," she says.
Suzi also has some time management issues to deal with:
"I live with my husband and 17-year-old son who is about to finish his last year of college and obviously pretty independent at this point in his life," she says.
"I am a midwife, which involves irregular and unscheduled hours. That means I have very little routine in my life. This sometimes makes exercise difficult to plan and I have to be careful not to overdo it so that I am not too tired if I get called in the night to work.
"The upside of this lifestyle of being on call is that it keeps me on the straight and narrow and keeps my alcohol intake to a boring low which has got to be a good thing for triathlon training.
"The driving force behind the entry into this event was undoubtedly Justine. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't know it was on. She is a great motivator and so far it has been fun starting out on our first week of training. Fortunately I am on holiday so I actually can commit to meeting times. We keep reminding each other that it is not a competition between us.
"Undoubtedly my biggest challenge is swimming, I have a tendency to sink rather than make any forward progress.
"In our first lesson with Lionel I learnt so much but it's putting it all into practice which is the challenge. It is exciting that I may be able to swim 300 metres of freestyle instead of resorting to breaststroke. This is definitely the most exciting part of the challenge for me. I had given up on the fact that I may be able to learn to swim freestyle but I know this will be good for my health. Just doing running was starting to give me some aches and pains so I knew I had to diversify.
"I like biking and am looking forward to making time to get out on a road bike which I don't usually do. What I have mostly done over the last about eight years is long distance running. I know a 3km run will be fast and so again a challenge.
"I will be trying to get to Eddie Saxon's Thursday night running training at the Botanics; he is very good at pushing you past your comfort zone.
"After wearing you down with speed training he then takes you through 15 minutes of core muscle exercises and stretches; he is a real inspiration to be around and provides this service free."
- Find out more about the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon at teamtri.co.nz.
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