Sometime during our Friday night’s poolside drinking, some 12 months ago, someone came up with the brilliant idea of registering for a triathlon in early 2014. Up until now our Friday night group of about 10 friends were occasionally dabbling in an occasional form of exercise. Maybe a gym workout, maybe a run, maybe a cycle but really what we were best at is partying, drinking and having a good time socialising.
We range between 30 and 44 years of age. We are families with kids from all walks of life. We are Aussies, Canadians, Americans, English, New Zealanders and a variety of Europeans. Yes, we are all expats from English speaking countries although sometimes you wouldn’t know it given our different dialects, accents and colloquial expressions.
Anyway, nothing like peer group pressure and a jolly mood for most of us to say, “yeah sure, why not, I’ll do a triathlon”, followed very quickly by “what is a triathlon and how far do I have to go”.
And so the new year began, with a serious “holly Molly, the triathlon is in 4 months and I’ve yet to survive 50m in the pool and how far do I have to run” kind of questions, mixed with exclamations. A steady training regime ensued for every single one of us. In our own time, sometimes together and sometimes alone. It didn’t take long to note who were the swimmers and who were the runners. Everyone was a cyclist, it’s one of those things you never forget.
Unfortunately in the end only 3 participated in the triathlon. It was a tough one since neither of the 3 were natural swimmers but perseverance and a naturally competitive streak took care of the rest. The event was like opening Pandoras Box.
Within a month two of our members went from cycling 40km regularly to taking on the Wheels for Change Batam 100km cycling event. Most of us thought they were a little crazy but not as crazy as when they returned full of euphoria and signed up for the Darwin Gran Fondo 120km event. Since then other Gran Fondo events ensued along with the two-day 250km Tour de Kepri Training Camp in Batam and Bintan. Now they clock up 110km round the island cycling on Saturday morning before breakfast and we no longer think they’re crazy nor do we bat an eyelid anymore. What’ll they do next?
Come late May and there’s new talk about triathlons such as the SG International Tritahlon in August and the Trifactor Triathlon in September. This time registration has taken traction and 8 of us sign up for varying distances: a few entry level minis, a sprint and a standard. Swimming still a weakness for the majority, we finally adhere to common sense and engage a swim coach who can take us through weekly drills and open water swimming. It helped immensely as our swimming results attested to during the triathlons.
New bikes were bought throughout the year: some having their fancy racing bikes, some entry levels and some with whatever was available. Brick training was introduced although something I found very difficult given that at the time I had not yet started running. The muscles used for swimming, are different for cycling and different for running. I found it tough to switch gears in my legs coming off a bike and launching into a run. The triathlon day was no different and found myself walking a good deal of the distance.
In between Grand Fondos and triathlons, several running races were also completed such as Saffra, Trifactor Run Series, GEWR, SMU Mile, PassionNorth, Colour Run and Newton Challenge and these are only what I can remember.
To help with the training and motivation we have setup an FB training group, acquired training gadgets such as Suunto/ Garmin watches and connected ourselves to Strava to track each other’s sessions and accomplishments.
Our Friday night conversations are now often centered around races, sport articles, innovative sport gadgets and anything fitness related. But don’t think we’ve forgotten how to party. We just fit it around our training or is it vice versa? Sometimes it’s a little fuzzy.
As the year comes to a close, with the Standard Chartered race as our last event, we found ourselves as a tightly knit, supportive unit. We may have started a little haphazardly but we’ve pulled together enough now to create our own team with our own name. And Team Costa was born. With team tops in production, the colors were inspired by our condo’s swimming pool and it’s name translated as Coast of the Sun. The slogan on the back reminds us that: “It never gets easier, just faster”.
We have been so inspired by our personal changes and sporting milestones that Little League in our condo has been inaugurated 3 months ago where our children aged between 2.5 and 8 years, engage in various sporting activities led buy us as the parents. A roaring success it has since doubled in size with various games played, such as: soccer, tug of war, dodgeball, relay races, sack races and so on. The kids are learning sportsmanship, tolerance, patience and of course physical skills. Developing physical fitness along the way, several of these kids have already competed their own fun runs like: Cold Storage, Saffra Father and Child, PasionNorth, Jurong Lake Run and Standard Chartered. We are certainly training the athletes of the future.
And just for added extra fun, Team Costa has created its own Top 10 Running Series. It was inspired by an article from March 2011 entitled “10 Best Places to Run in SG”. Ideally we cycle to our destination, depending on proximity to our home, and run a predetermined route of varying lengths to allow for runner’s preference. A hearty breakfast post run should give our legs the required rest prior to riding home. The first one in the series took place on Saturday, 22 November but that’s another story.