First Triathlon of the SeasonLet me take you back a week or so to Good Friday. A bit chilly, you may recall. A good day for curling up in front of a log fire and eating lots of Easter eggs. Or in my case, a day for embarking on my first triathlon of the season.

The Good Fri Tri at Radley College in Oxfordshire was the scene of my previous attempt back in 2011 and I’d decided to return to the same race to kick off this season, this time stepping up to the sprint distance.

We had been told if the temperature dropped below zero, it would be turned into a duathlon (run-bike-run), so you can imagine my joy (with not a hint of sarcasm, oh no) when it was announced that it was officially two degrees and therefore ideal conditions to ride a bike in wet clothes!

Trigirl Swim AdviceSpring forward – into blind panic!

As the clocks went forward I felt a slight panic, as not only did that mean the kids were losing an hour of sleep, it was also the starting gun on the countdown to race day. It is not winter any more. We are not just running. We are now training. And it’s just 10 weeks until the Blenheim Triathlon. This slight panic quickly escalated, through all my rational thoughts, from slight; hurtling past deep concern; and headlong into full-on breakdown in a matter of one, hour-deprived, day! OH YES. NOW THIS REALLY IS PANIC.

I had big plans for this post. It was going to be helpful and inspirational. I was going to talk about the importance of rest in your routine. I was going to talk about believing in yourself and a positive mental attitude. But the wave of nausea is tidal and promises to consume me and all the good work I have already done. Instead, all I have for you is panic…

Chene-For-Trigirl-Triathlon-ClothingIt started gradually. I was running with a group of friends in the woods, enjoying the fresh air and challenging myself to keep up, when I noticed a slight stiffness in my right knee. Slightly annoying – not serious.

The next time I ran, it was there again. Not immediately, but after about 2km, the same niggling feeling. Again I kept running…

A few weeks later I set off to do my regular 5km Park Run one Saturday at 9am – a timed run in a nearby park which I was running almost five minutes faster than when I’d first started.

Hello, my name is Rachael and I’m delighted to be a Trigirl Ambassador for 2013!

Rachael-Triathlon-Ambassador-2013So how did I end up on the pages of Trigirl? I have always been ‘the sporty one’ – kickboxing, lacrosse, tennis, kayaking, running, cycling – so I suppose it was inevitable that I would fall into multi-sport at some point. I raced my first (and only) mini triathlon in 2011 and I loved it. After an injury setback in 2012, I decided I had unfinished business with the whole swim-bike-run thing.

While my focus may have shifted over the years from pitch to river to trail, what has remained constant is my love of sport and competition. I work as a personal trainer so I spend a lot of time encouraging my clients to enjoy the benefits of sport and exercise, to set goals, and to challenge themselves. So I thought I would ‘walk the walk’ by stepping outside my comfort zone and into the weird and wonderful world of triathlon.

Until a few months ago I wasn’t sure what exactly a triathlon was and the idea of ever taking part in one was about as likely as winning the X-factor.


As a 43-year-old mum of three, I’d resigned myself to slowing down, getting even softer around the edges and giving up on unmet dreams, of which there are many. I was doing Pilates, sporadic runs and the odd Zumba class – which had more to do with escaping domestic chaos and getting away from my home office desk than getting fit. I was as fit as I was ever going to get.

Then one of my friends started telling me about a local triathlon class she’d joined. I wasn’t interested, but as her shape and fitness levels started changing, I noticed a niggling little voice: “If she can do it…” Although I was terrified, I joined Jo’s tri-team for a few friendly sessions at first and loved it! Jo Lewis, in her fifties and a triathlon athlete in her own right who has represented GB, was a huge inspiration. Here was someone more than 10 years older than me, who clearly had no intention of slowing down, looked great and is still competing and inspiring men and women of all ages to get fit.

I’m over-the-moon and overwhelmed to have been chosen as a Trigirl brand ambassador for 2013.


When I heard the news I was delighted! Great company, great kit – recommended by my sister (a 2012 Blenheim finisher) – and, I confess, I shed a tear. This may seem overly emotional to you, but is quite a big deal for me.  I’m not very fit, you see. I don’t really do exercise.

Well, I didn’t use to do any. I do now. And it turns out I’m not as bad as I thought! This is a shame really, as I have spent my entire life avoiding being fit, or anything that might be construed as exercise. Being almost 6ft tall this came from a lifetime of, “You’re tall. You’re sporty. You can play/run/throw”. No. I’m just tall, you see. Now, at 36 years old, this seems a bit of a wasted opportunity. But – as they say – better late than never, so I’ve every intention on making up for my years of couch-dom by being an inspiration to my three daughters and a training partner for my husband and friends whose fault, I mean encouragement, got me to this fantastic point.

This week Trigirl review Triathlon 20 Weeks to Success in 5 Hours a Week, by coach Mark Barfield, written to help any novice triathlon wannabe (with limited time) to become a race-finishing triathlete in 20 weeks.

Focusing on a pool-based, sprint-distance triathlon, Triathlon 20 Weeks to Success promises to get you ‘triathlon-ready in time for your race without your training taking over your life’ and in some ways, it succeeds in its mission.

Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t tick all of our boxes… Read our full review here.



Do you want to receive a gift that lasts all year? Our friends at Triathlete Europe Magazine have a special Xmas offer for triathletes everywhere.

12 issues for just £29.95 / €39.95. A 40% discount on newsagent prices, this subscription includes FREE Travel Pack of Xendurance – worth £10.95 / €13.50.

Or more confident subscribers can take a bigger discount

24 issues for just £49.95 / €59.95. A 55% discount on newsagent prices, this subscription includes FREE Travel Pack of Xendurance – worth £10.95 / €13.50

Click here to subscribe:

… and I did it!

Last Sunday morning (15th of July) was the date for my third triathlon of the season, the Hillingdon Series Race 3 in Harefield.  I had been quite anxious about it in the run up, as it was going to be my first lake swim of the year and the weather hasn’t exactly been kind!

I woke before the alarm and found myself squeezing into my new wetsuit at 5.45am.  I’d decided it would be better to at least get my legs into the suit before I left the house and finish off when I got there.  I’d followed advice and smothered myself in body lotion and then used an anti chafe balm around the points where the suit could rub.

I arrived at the venue around 6.45 and got in line for registration. Listening to the chit chat in the queue, I realised that this was different to other events I’d been to.  It was smaller and full of experienced, super fit men and women who were all raring to go! There were at least two triathlon clubs with a big presence, I wished I had some team mates to share some banter with.

… and Learning How to Swim

Newbie triathlete Helena Redshaw shares the story of completing her first triathlon. Though she insists it’s a bit wordy, we really enjoyed every detail of her experience and think you will, too. Short on time? Don’t miss the last two paragraphs where Helena’s words are sure to inspire you, no matter where you are in your triathlon journey!

What does it take to do a triathlon? Well of course all the inspiring stuff….you know….sheer determination, 100% commitment, being focused, overcoming your fears and setting your mind to something and making it happen. Then there’s the other stuff, being able to run, bike and swim. I had the run and bike down but the challenge for me was the swim. “Will you ever do a triathlon?” I was asked back in 2010 while busy cycling up and down the A1A and running a few times per week. My response “Er no, you have to be able to swim right? I can’t swim, so it’s not happening!” My mind was made up it seemed. No triathlons for me. I spent the end of 2010 and most of 2011 focusing on cycling and running. I completed some duathlons, a marathon and other various running races and while I was completely satisfied with those goals, I knew I wanted more.

Click here to continue reading Helena’s inspiring story.

If you live near the Bedford area (or just fancy a visit to Box End Lake for some open water swim practice), be sure to stop by Tri-Crazy’s stand at Box End Park. You’ll get the unique opportunity to try before you buy on an assortment of Trigirl kit!

Have your eye on a particular item? Email us and let us know – we’ll be sure that your colour, size and style are there ready for you!

Event dates are limited…

14th June Tri-crazy Box End Evening series
16th June Mass Start Swim – Box End lake
30th June/1st July V0two weekend Box End Lake
12th July Tri-crazy Box End Evening series
14th July Mass Start Swim – Box End lake
29th July Bedford Classic Triathlon
9th September St Albans Sprint Triathlon

I’m sitting writing this looking at a very grey and miserable day… Exactly a week ago, there was glorious sunshine and I was about to start my second triathlon of the season.

The event was at Shiplake College, just outside Henley on Thames. It was in a beautiful setting and even though I had to arrive at the ridiculously early hour of 7am (a 5.45 alarm), the glorious surroundings managed to put a smile on my face! The event was very laid back and quite small really. I loved the relaxed feel and would highly recommend this as a first event – there were two distances: Tri a Tri with a 300m swim, 14.5k bike and a 3.2k run and a Sprint with 400m swim, 28.5k bike and 5k run.