Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A lonely road to travel

This is not a "feel sorry for me" blog entry.  This is simply a bunch of rambling thoughts.

Last night I found myself feeling rather down.  I was busy working on putting some content into my speech for Friday, reading parts of our old blog to help me work out what I could and should put into my speech and listening to one of my favourite songs:


It's funny the things that suddenly pop in your head.  The snippets you remember. The thoughts that pop into your mind.

Pretend to be strong
To smile
And laugh
And sing a happy song
But deep inside
I'm dying
Each time I see you cry
Each time you fight the fight
From late at night
Until the morning light
Your spirit trapped
In this moment
And longing
What lies beyond the gate
How do you pick up
The pieces around your feet?
Where do you begin
To find yourself again?
When it all seems lost
A never ending race
This moment that is now

One of the things I remembered feeling was how incredibly lonely the journey was for us.  In the whole time that Bianca was receiving treatment we very rarely heard from people outside the child cancer circle (there were a few really supportive people, but a lot of others simply disappeared).  This is now not counting blog followers.  I can count the number of phone calls we received during the 830 days on my one hand (okay maybe 2 hands at a push). One phone call in particular left me laughing at the end of it.  

We met this couple shortly after we arrived in Wellington (the first time we moved to Wellington in 2005).  And for a while it seemed that the friendship was going well (of course later on I did realise that it was very much a one-way street where I was very much taken advantage of, but anyway).  Within the first week that Bianca was diagnosed she called me up one morning wanting to get the full story.  And of course the usual "if there is anything we can help with, just let us know", but often you can hear in somebody's voice when they really don't mean it.  And to be honest it is incredibly hard asking for help.  I never heard from her again until probably a year later when she rang me up again. "Hi, how are you doing?  How is Bianca doing?"  so of course being asked I was explaining how things were going, how Bianca was doing at that stage and so on.  She then said "Uh-huh...anyway the reason I'm calling is that I'm selling these affordable phone packages and I was wondering if you would be interested in changing your phone supplier".  Just like that.  Subject changed.  It wasn't that she was really interested.  This was simply just to make some money off me.  It was all about her.

And this is really how it is.  When people ask you how you are, they are not interested to know how you really are, they simply want to know "I am fine" and then move on to another subject.  But I do get why this is.  Child Cancer is not something people understand unless they are dealing with it themselves (which I really really don't want).  And in fact the expectation is never that somebody must understand.  But simply listen.  Give the opportunity to talk and share or not (in which case just be there). When you are in the thick of it you sometimes wish people would look beyond your smile.  To be strong for your child and not show them just how scared you are you do a whole lot of pretend all of the time.  You smile and act happy and strong and after a while it really just becomes second nature.  Almost easier than really dealing with the things you are feeling and the fears that lurk in the back of your mind.  You kind of have to!

We are now at a different stage of the journey.  While many may assume it is all over because Bianca looks no different to another 8 year old, the truth is she is still not officially considered cured.  There are still sometimes fears and anxieties that catch you when you least expect it.  And sometimes it hits you when you realise all over again just exactly what you went through.  Now there are different issues that we need to look out for and worry about, things like how will the chemo affect Bianca's memory, her concentration, her ability to have kids one day, will she get another cancer because she received chemo - those kind of worries.  And nowadays more than before people really are not interested.  More often than not, they quickly change the subject or try to brush off your concerns.  And that is life really.  

When I was looking through our old blog it occurred to me again the complete loneliness and isolation of this journey was (and is) probably one of the hardest things to deal with.  Almost like an exclusive club (except not one you want to belong to).

But that is life really.  Simply just life!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

About the last minute and being rescued when I was lost

You know what they say about the last minute, don't you?  That nothing ever gets done if it wasn't for the last minute?  The last minute and I are very good friends indeed.  We know each other so well.  So here I am and I've known how long about the upcoming talks in March?  Well surprise surprise, my first talk is on Friday.  That would be this coming Friday.  The one that is just a few days away.  Right now I have an idea for an opening and ending and the bit in between?  Not so much.  So guess what I'll be doing tomorrow morning after I have dropped off the kids at school - that's right I'll be sitting down and working out my 30 minute talk.

Yesterday I had a very kind-hearted gentleman helping me.  He saw that I was completely lost and he smiled at me and told me he would help me. 

What happened was this - we had a blocked shower drain.  Terence then said that I should go to the local Mitre 10 and get some number 8 wire that he could use to somehow do what he needs to do to unblock this drain (quite frankly being a girl, I choose not to think too much about this and instead leaving it up to Terence to sort out). 

So yesterday afternoon I set off to Mitre 10 where they had this big "closing down" sale sign.  Walked in and asked the lady if they had some number 8 wire.  Which they didn't.  She suggested I go to the Farmlands store which is really a farming supply store of some sort.  Got there and the young girl behind the counter said that their Otaki store would have.  I wasn't in the mood to drive all the way to Otaki just to buy a piece of wire to unblock a drain.  She suggested I try Bunnings Warehouse.  Got there and the lady took me to the shelf where they had all their wire stock.  "Is this number 8 wire?" (as that was the explicit instruction - it had to be number 8 wire, nothing else) and we both looked at it and really had no clue.  To me wire is wire.  And right at that moment I realised that I was completely lost.  Terence's fault really for sending a girl into a hardware store. 

It is then that this kind gentlemen came to my rescue.  He smiled ever so sweetly and then explained that it was 12-gauge wire.  And I'm sure I must have had this vacant, lost look in my face.  He then pointed to another role which he said was closer to the number 8 wire I was asking for.  I looked at it and then said that there is no way I am going to be able to pay $68 for a roll of wire just so my husband could unblock a drain. 

He then came to my rescue.  He offered to give me a piece from his own stock (he's a farmer so that's something they use apparently).  Now the knight in shining armour didn't have a white horse waiting outside for him, he did instead have a blue ute with his dog on the back.  So Mr Farmer, whoever you are (sorry I forgot to get your name), thank you so much for helping out, you are very kind indeed!

Monday, February 27, 2012

And so the prep begins again...

On the 18th of March Rose, her sister from the UK, Sarah and I will be doing the Contact Tri-Women event in Palmerston North (click here).  Yesterday Rose took the lead and she registered us all.  So in less than a month I'll be doing my second triathlon event.  Seems unreal!  Rose has already started looking out for other events beyond this one just to make sure we don't become lazy again ;-).  Like this one (click here) where we will plan to do the half marathon walk.  Of course when I told Terence he asked "why don't you just run it?" - well that would be because I can barely manage a 4km run at the moment there is no way I could do a 21km run!!!!!  The other event Rose is looking at is this one (click here).  It would have to be the 5km event, but we'll see.  I'll get through the Tri-Women event first and then I'll think about the next one...

This morning I took advantage of the fact that Caitlyn is now in school and not at home on a Monday anymore.  I went to the Raumati Swimming pool where I did some swimming.  Apart from the senior aqua aerobics group it was really quiet. I have no idea what I did wrong, but the swim session was incredibly hard and I'm sure Val would have lots to say if she was there.  I'll have to work extremely hard if I am to do 6 lengths in a 50m pool in a reasonable time for the next triathlon.  Of course now I wonder just how I actually managed to swim 400m in the sea at the last triathlon...Perhaps the thought that I didn't really want to be a shark's next lunch was pretty good for the motivation to keep going... ;-)

After my disappointing swim session I did a bike ride.  At the next triathlon we'll need to cycle 9.5km and I wanted to get an idea of how long it might take me at this moment to do that distance so I have something to work against.  I ended up doing about 12km in total.  At the 9.5km mark I was sitting at 21.15 minutes and at the 12km mark was sitting at 27.34 minutes.  It was a bit windy so in places I found it a bit hard.

I've learnt today that I really need to keep better record of my times because I was trying to find a recent blog entry or email where I mentioned I did the same 12km route in about 31 minutes, but I can't remember when that was.  I found my schedule I did before and on the 1st of November last year I did an 11.2km bike ride in 32.16 minutes.  So I'm pretty pleased that I managed the 12km today in less than 30 minutes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I've known it all along, but it occurred to me again today...

I have quite a few photos to download after Caitlyn's party today so will get to that soon and will then do a proper update.  Surprisingly we didn't have to rush this morning and I felt super-organised.  Not quite sure what we did differently to other parties, but anyway.  Nothing went wrong so I couldn't have forgotten about anything important and so I'm not complaining.  An update on the party will follow really soon!

In the meantime there is something else I feel I would like to talk about today.  Marcia has been doing some Friday features on friendship.  It has been pretty interesting to read her thoughts on this subject (click here for the latest post she did).

At the party today as I caught up with the guests as well as Paul, Rose and Sarah, it occurred to me just how blessed I am. 

Typically it is really really hard for me to make new friends.  I tend to take a while to get to know a person before I will finally learn to trust.  It is not you, it is me - I promise!  And I'm not one of those people that can go to a function or event, catch up with total strangers and leave as firm friends.  It is not that I'm not interested, but because I think I can be a bit reserved and guarded and because I'm a total introvert often lacking confidence I struggle to form connections sometimes.  It's just the way it's been for me.

The friendship I am most comfortable with is a friendship where I can just be myself.  Where I don't have to try and be somebody I'm not.  It is a two-way street for me.
“Friendship," said Christopher Robin, "is a very comforting thing to have.” - A.A. Milne (source)

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.” - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (source)

Last year I wrote this, which I thought summed up for me what a true friendship is all about (click here):

To be
To simply be
Without pretend
To smile
And cry
And breath
Without a care
To share
And know
That you'll be there
When day
Turns into night
Change the darkness
Into light
To be
To simply be
Without pretend

And then not long after I wrote this (click here):

There is something about you
Perhaps it is your smile
Perhaps your caring nature
That makes me want to stay for a while

There is something about you
I can see it in your eyes
The way they light up
Just like a sun rise

There is something about you
I don't quite know what it could be
But it is there
Even if I can't quite see 

We have a number of good friends whose friendship I really appreciate.

Three friends in particular have been absolutely amazing and who's never hesitated to support me with my crazy ideas.

Paul really deserves a medal.  He is usually the victim when I come up with my ideas :-).  "Hey Paul, what if we start a blog for you?" or "I need you to come with me to the hospital to entertain some kids...and you'll have to dress up like a pirate" or "I really need some entertainment at my Funrazor event" or "I need you to run up and down the street so I can take a video".  Paul is always willing to go along with whatever ideas take my fancy at the time (except the touch typing...).  When Bianca had her birthday she really wanted to invite Paul (that's how popular a teacher he is and was, the kids absolutely love him) and he came.  He even dressed up as Harry Potter. Incidentally this was the first time I caught a glimpse of the world that is Paul's music (and I'm so glad I did).  Yesterday I invited him to join us for lunch at Caitlyn's party and despite doing a 3 hour hilly bike ride this morning, he stopped by on the way home.  Without question Paul has been there for me to help out with all my ideas (even if at times I'm sure I am driving him crazy) or to listen when I share something with him, and what's more he actually took a poem I wrote and turned it into an amazing song (click here).  Since getting to know Paul, he has shared his music with me, introduced me to Elliott Smith, he puts up with all my silly music-related questions and countless emails and he is incredibly supportive as I'm trying to get fit.  He even waited at the finish line at the Kapiti Women's Triathlon to see me finish (which I really appreciated even if I really really don't like people watching me run).  It is really easy to be comfortable around Paul and it is easy to talk to him about anything.  And not just Paul, but his lovely wife Jo and his girls are just lovely people - really down to earth!

Rose and Mike.  We first met them when we moved to Waikanae and Terence met Mike on the train every day.  They are the kind of friends who would move the earth for you.  Once Mike called to find out what we were up to and I told him Terence was busy with the lawns at the time and without question Mike came to give Terence a hand. When I needed a hair shaving buddy for my Funrazor event Mike didn't hesitate to join me.  He was amazing at organising spot prizes and Rose and the kids ran around collecting money for us.  They are the people who would help you out with cleaning at the end of your child's birthday party.  Speaking of which Mike is amazing at entertaining the kids.  For some reason he attracts kids like a magnet.  All that is missing is the clown face :-).  Rose and I are training buddies and have just done the Kapiti Women's Triathlon together.  We have our swim lessons together and will continue with our Saturday training sessions so that we can can prepare for the next triathlon we will be doing in March. Rose is another friend who is incredibly easy to be comfortable around and to talk to (usually in the form of Skype chats when we are not catching up in person).

Sarah found me.  One day I got a comment on my blog which she left asking that I contact her.  I'm so glad you did Sarah!  You have been an incredibly supportive friend.  Coming to help me until late at night to prepare for my Funrazor event when I was in the middle of panicking about it all, wondering what I was thinking and what did I know about events like that.  Running around at Funrazor to help with whatever needed doing.  Coming to help me today with Caitlyn's party.  And now joining Rose and I at our next triathlon. 

I really am blessed with such wonderful and supportive friends! Thank you Paul, Rose and Mike and Sarah for getting to know me and for letting me get to know you!  For always being there, without question!  You three definitely hold a special place in my heart!
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (source)

I'd like to share these two songs with you (one I've borrowed from Paul, hope you don't mind Paul!)

How about you too join in with Marcia's friendship feature and share your thoughts on friendship! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rambling thoughts on a Saturday

Finally got my triathlon time - 1:17:53.  I'm really proud as I was expecting it would take me about 1 hour 30 minutes. So now I'll need to work on trying to improve this time for next year.

Tomorrow is Caitlyn's birthday party.  She is so excited and right now I'm busy getting her cake sorted.  The party will be the same as last year because it worked well. Will share photos after the party tomorrow :-)

As I sat here making lots of teddies we'll be using for Caitlyn's cake I had quite a few thoughts running through my mind.  Just some random thoughts really:

Knocking on the door
With gentle steps
Across the floor
A risk perhaps
What were the odds?
But it was there
A flickering light
Beneath the eyes
Not quite sure
Of the what and the why
But no regrets
No looking back
It's constant
At least for now
That it might last
Afraid it might not
This moment
That rests in my heart

I'll be adding this to my other blog along with my other attempts because I thought it is good to have a space where I keep them all.  So if you are interested you can click here.

I better sign off as I need to get this cake done.  I hope your Saturday was a good one :-)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Music and swimming

This afternoon I helped Paul with some YouTube recordings.  Paul has his own YouTube channel and for a while now I've been recording him playing some of his music.

Recently Paul introduced me to the world of Elliott Smith and I became hooked from the first time I heard the incredibly beautiful Waltz No 2.  Since then Paul and I often caught up on email discussing which of Elliott Smith's songs we liked most or discussing some of the CDs Paul gave me to listen to or discussing our thoughts on what Elliott Smith's lyrics might mean or represent.

I recently wrote this poem.  I've had some thoughts running through my mind since starting to read a book on Elliott Smith that I borrowed from Paul:

Wish I could've known you
Could've seen inside your head
Live the world through your eyes
Hear the words that you shared
In the songs that you wrote
That at times you spoke
A tormented soul
Forever looking for reason
And answers
In a world that moved too fast
And never understood
(I've added this poem along with a few other new ones I wrote on my other blog, if you are interested, feel free to click here).

Today I suggested that Paul does a few Elliott Smith numbers for our recording session.  In particular I love this one that Paul did (click here).  To read Paul's blog entry on Elliott Smith, click here.

Sadly Paul and I couldn't finish our recording session as Rose and I had to rush off to swimming so we'll need to schedule another session soon!

Tonight's swimming lesson was really good.  Rose and I decided to carry on with our swimming lessons as we are making some progress (even if it doesn't always feel like it) and we'll use it as preparation for the next triathlon now in March.

I think finally Rose and I are starting to understand some of the technique and in tonight's session Val took us back to some of the basics to help us focus on keeping our bodies straight, arms slower and more effective breathing.  It made a huge difference for me as I was way less exhausted than I usually am after these sessions. 

Unfortunately I am going to miss next week's session as I have to go off and do the first of my 3 talks for CCF.  So this coming week I'll need to start preparing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A bit of a nervous time ahead

In just a bit more than a week I will be a public speaker.

This is a role I actually never thought I'd be in. Right now I have a million ideas running through my mind as I try and work out the different parts of my talks. 

I feel honoured that the Child Cancer Foundation has asked me to be a speaker at 3 of their fundraising events - the 2nd, 16th and 21st.  This is huge for me because it will be the first time ever that I will get up to speak in front of a large group of people at a formal gathering. I will be speaking for about 30 minutes.  Terence says that should not be a problem for me because I never stop talking :-).

The one on the 16th I'll need to see if I can find somebody to look after Bianca and Caitlyn for me as it finishes at 3pm and I'll need to come back from the city after that. 

I have to admit I am incredibly nervous.  At the same time though I'm also very excited because I like being part of things that help make a real difference.

March is definitely going to be an interesting month for me.  Certainly quite different to the usual boring mundaneness of my life most of the time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The end of a chapter and the start of a new one

With your eyes so bright
And your beautiful smile
With your excitement for life
No time to rest for a while

You're growing up way too fast
No longer a little girl
A big 5 year old
Ready to take on the world

I feel so blessed
That you are here
Am so proud of you
There is nothing you have to fear

Live your dreams
Do amazing things
This moment is yours
So start spreading your wings

Happy birthday Caitlyn!  Happy first day at big school!  We are so proud of you and we know you are going to love your new school!

First I just want to give a "virtual hug" to Paul and Jo as their daughter Kate is off to uni today.  It must be incredibly hard for a parent when their kids leave home to make their mark in the big world.  Of course she will do great I'm sure and they are great parents so they raised her well, but it can't be easy when your kids are suddenly all grown up.  So today especially I'm thinking of you!

It was a bit of a bitter-sweet moment for me.  Yesterday was the very very last day Caitlyn went to Chelsea House (her daycare centre).  She was so excited.  She helped me decorate a cake to share with her friends and she shared the book I made for her with her school visit photos.  (I make books like these for 2 reasons really - for one the kids love having stories where they are the main character and where it is about them and also because it is a great way to let them share something special that happened.  Oh and a third reason - it helped with preparing Caitlyn for her official start at school).  Rather sad that the teachers who were so good to Caitlyn will no longer be her teachers.  So while Cailtyn felt extremely excited and on top of the world, I found myself feeling a little bit sad that this particular chapter has come to an end.  When did my little girl suddenly grow up?

Here are some of the pages in Caitlyn's book:

Caitlyn with the cake she decorated to share at daycare.

Good-bye Hazel, we'll miss you!

Showing Hazel her book.

Good-bye Ann, we'll miss you!

It feels like yesterday that Caitlyn arrived to join our family.  And she'll never fully grasp how much we needed her.  She kept things normal when we were right in the middle of dealing with Bianca's leukemia.  She smiled and brightened our day when it felt incredibly dark.  Bianca loved being a big sister from the start.  Even when Bianca spent long hours in a tiny hospital room, her face would light up when Caitlyn would come and visit.

In one way this seems like a lifetime ago, but in another just like yesterday...

Today there is more excitement in our house as Caitlyn's day started with presents!  Other than going out for dinner tonight (our tradition is that when it is your birthday you get to choose what you want to do for dinner), today will be low-key because on Sunday Caitlyn will have her proper birthday party. So I'll share lots of photos then.

Of course the big moment also arrived.  Caitlyn started big school.  Officially.  Oh the excitement!  I made cupcakes last night that Caitlyn could share with her class today and first we stopped off at Paul's class as Caitlyn wanted to share some of her cupcakes with him. 

Starting school isn't entirely new as Caitlyn already had 2 school visits and so she has a good idea of what to expect each day.  In the 2 days that we spent in Caitlyn's class during her school visits I must have taken about 400 photos (thank you digital technology).  Yes, I know I take lots of photos.  It's what I do :-).  So today I thought I would share some of these photos with you to give you an idea of what Caitlyn's days at school will be like.  Enjoy!

Caitlyn with her new bag and school stationery

Bianca took Caitlyn to her new class.

A special place to hang her bag.

She was so excited to find her seat.

Caitlyn's teacher - Mrs MacKenzie.

The class has some really nice things on the walls

The computer area where the kids will be doing Letterland and Mathletics

Playing Happy Sticks

Caitlyn got her space man - this is a piece of cardboard to help keep the spaces when they do writing.

Her very first writing.

She did really well!

Caitlyn was excited to catch up with her Chelsea House friend Iain who is in the same class.

Caitlyn loved the story of the Greedy Cat.

Caitlyn's very first learning to read session.  Reading "Bumper Boats".

Another friend from the previous daycare centre, Castle Kids.  Caitlyn loves doing puzzles.

The library corner is a favourite.

Lunch time.

Playing in the sandpit with a new friend.

Caitlyn working on the computer.
The school visits were great in that it not only gave Caitlyn a chance to see what school was all about and become familiar with the routines, but it was neat as a parent to see what they will be doing each day at school.

It sounded like she had a great day today and so begins a new chapter in Caitlyn's life.  I cannot believe she is in big school now!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It is official - I am completely nuts

Thank you so much for all the supportive and positive comments on my triathlon update (click here).  Have to be honest it all feels a bit unreal that I have actually entered and completed a triathlon.  Me doing a triathlon???  Who would have thought!

It is official now though that I am completely nuts.  Crazy.  Insane.  I'm sure there must be something wrong with me. 

But here I am and I find myself reading up on other events that will be happening.  Yes, that's right - I'm actually looking at what other triathlons / duathlons there might be.  Now who would have ever thought I'd actually be actively interested in these?

But I blame Paul and Rose for this.  It is all their fault! :-)

Rose and I are definitely looking at doing the Palmerston North event (for info click here).  It is another triathlon.  I'm particularly keen because it will be a pool swim rather than a sea swim and I am more confident in the pool.  By no means am I a fast or very good swimmer, but at least I've had more practise in a pool.

I'll need to limit my running somewhat for now though in the hope that my legs will start recovering from the injuries I've been dealing with for a while now, so I'll mostly focus on swimming and biking for now I think.

Today Caitlyn is so excited.  She has her very last day at daycare today and helped me decorate a cake to take along to share with her friends.  Last night I made a little story book for her with photos of her school visits which she'll be sharing for news today and tomorrow with her new teacher. Today is the last day I will have a 4 year old...  

Just a heads up - tomorrow's post will have lots of photos - so I hope you like photos!

How was your day today?

Monday, February 20, 2012

A sad day

I had a whole update planned on what I will need to do this week.  But in an instant my update just seemed so unimportant.  So small.  So insignificant. 

Yesterday a little girl turned 5.  Just like Caitlyn will on Wednesday.   But unlike Caitlyn, little Hope will never start big school for the very first time.  Hope spent most of her birthday quietly sleeping and this morning early passed away.  Hope had neuroblastoma.  A type of cancer.  Child cancer sucks!!!!!

Rest in peace beautiful brave little girl!  My heart is broken and I'm so incredibly sad.

Ali, Bec and Jonas - I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you must be feeling.  Know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers.  Hope will always be an inspiration!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mission Accomplished!

At the start of all of this I had 3 goals:
  • Don't drown (obviously I didn't because I'm here updating my blog)
  • Finish the event
  • Don't come last

And I'm happy to say I achieved all 3 goals.  I'm exhausted and still standing so that is a good sign I think!  I don't yet know what my finish time was as for some reason I wasn't showing up on the preliminary results.  But my friend Rose had a time of 1 hour 25 minutes (I think) and I came in before her - somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes before her (hard to judge for me and Terence wasn't looking at the time at that stage).

This was the biggest thing I've ever done.  Well this and the Funrazor event I did last year.  I think from a stress point of view they were both up there, but this particular event took a whole lot more effort from me.

I was incredibly pleased to see the sea was nice and calm.  You don't quite realise how far 400m is until you see the buoys spaced out in the sea.  I think the sea swim was by far the hardest for me.  I was tired by the time I got to the first buoy and by the time I got to the second was horribly dizzy.  But I did it.  I managed to overcome my fear (mostly because of the lack of large waves). 

Another thing I was pleased about was that it was a cooler and cloudy day making it far more comfortable being out and about in this kind of setting.  What I was not pleased about was when it started raining quite a bit.  Didn't matter so much in the swimming, but riding a bike out in the rain was just plain miserable and thankfully it eased off by the time I started the running part of my event.

I couldn't run when I got out of the sea because I was incredibly dizzy and thought it would just be incredibly embarrassing if I was to fall over in front of all these spectators.  Bad enough that they make you start your run right next to the barrier where everybody is watching.  And because the sea swim for me was going on forever and felt like it was never going to end I really pushed myself in the bike ride to try and catch up a bit.  I really enjoyed this bit and didn't find it too hard or exhausting.

The run as usual was the hard part for me.  I ended up catching up with 2 ladies from our Saturday training group and it was rather nice running with them.  Well a combination of running and walking to be honest.  

And going over the finish line was an amazing feeling of relief that I was done and feeling really proud of myself for actually doing it.  And I actually did enjoy it.  The sea swim not so much, but the rest of it was amazing.  It was also incredibly supportive which was really nice and helped keep us going.

A few of us are keen to keep going with our Saturday training sessions and hopefully we can find a way to make it happen.  Also Rose and I are thinking that maybe we'll give the next triathlon in Palmerston North a go (yes I'm nuts I know it!).

Then this afternoon we visited Paul and his lovely family and had a BBQ dinner.  Thank you Paul, Jo, Kate and Alice for having us over.  Was so lovely to catch up with you!

Here are some photos of my day:

Feeling rather nervous at 6:50am about to leave to pick up Rose

Starting to set up
Signs everywhere
The lovely Joanne who is the triathlon sponsorship winner and part of our training group

Rose and I ready to take on the event! (Well at least we're smiling even if we didn't feel quite as brave)
2 of the lovely ladies who were part of our Saturday training group.

Feeling relieved the sea was pretty calm.

"Let's take a victory photo now in case we can't smile at the end"
A lot of bikes!
The piper arriving to lead us down the beach.

With Linley one of our Saturday morning coaches!

Getting ready to face my fear
Rose and I heading off to the briefing.
Down the beach we go

The first wave going round the buoy.  They were soooo fast!

No way could I run at the end of my swim.  I was so dizzy!
Getting ready for my bike ride

Caitlyn got to meet some spectators

Tired, but happy with how my bike ride went
Off for the running part of the event.  I was hoping my legs would not get sore
The finish line is in sight!!!

My cheer squad waiting for me

So relieved to be done.  Lovely to do this with older and new friends!

Having fun on the miniature trains.

Paul showing off his cooking skills