I recently completed my first ever endurance event; the Rottnest Sufferfest Half Ironman Aquabike.  Hopefully the name lends a clue that the event is a half ironman distance with a 2km swim plus an 80km bike ride but no running.  This story is about my Aquabike inspiration and DNF.

When I registered for the event, I had virtually no swimming or biking endurance and certainly none for running.  But I did have 17 weeks to prepare, so I set my goal for being able to finish the distance.

In my “youth” I sorta tried training for triathlons.  Unfortunately,  I always came up short and never entered one because of injuries, illness or lack of will that developed during the training.  I always found the running bit really discouraging and hard for me to gut through.  In fact, for years I have felt that a duathlon type event with swimming and biking rather than run-bike-run would be a great option for non-runners.  So when I saw the Aquabike event, I was instantly encouraged.  But to be brutally honest, I wasn’t in very good shape, so my primary goal for the Rottnest Sufferest Aquabike was to be fit and confident enough to at least make it to the starting line.

Once I started to build up my confidence, my goal evolved and became more focused on completing the entire course and earning myself a Finisher’s Medal.

That in and of itself would be a big win for me.

As you scroll through the post you may notice that there are not any photos of me dangling a Finisher’s medal with a shit-eating grin on my face.   So, no, no medal for moi’ this time around.

Instead I got the character building, resilience training, lessons learning, and humbling DNF, ‘Did Not Finish’.

Damn that hurts.

I really, really wanted to finish.

When it became apparent that my race was over, I was overcome with the disappointment and emotion that comes from falling just a little bit short of achieving your goal.  I wanted to keep going because I wanted to be able to share my success here with you and, most of all, I wanted my 9 year old daughter to see me cross the finish line and be inspired by her Mom.

Is that ego?

A little bit.  But here’s the thing.

Eight months ago I was feeling low and struggling with missing some deer friends.   I dug into those feelings and journaled on why I value their friendships, why I was missing them, and how their presence in my life lifts me up.

I then asked myself these questions,

“How can I give this to myself?”

“Where can I find those qualities within myself?” and

“How can I be that for those around me?”

So what is it that my valued friends give me?


They INSPIRE me to do better, be better, to try harder; and to open my heart, to give it my best and to trust.

How else do they inspire me?

  • I enjoy their company and enjoy being around them.
  • I feel safe being myself without fear of judgement
  • Their encouragement makes it easier for me to push my limits than when I am alone.
  • They inspire me by living the example.
  • They help me realize that big goals are achievable.
  • Their presence in my life makes me feel closer to being the person that I aspire to be.

Who is the person that I aspire to be?

I want to inspire others to explore their movement potential, gain confidence in their abilities and take action towards being closer to the person that they aspire to be.

This is what I want for myself as well as for my…

  • Daughter
  • Family
  • Loved ones
  • Friends
  • Clients &
  • For those who need a positive word or encouragement, a non-judgemental space and inspiration to explore new possibilities.

How can I rally myself and inspire those around me? 

By doing what ignites my spark, following through on my dreams and inviting others to join me.

This is why I registered for the HBF Run For A Reason and organized a LEAP n2u Fitness team of awesome families last year and also why I will do it again this May.  This is why I registered for the Rottnest Sufferfest half ironman distance Aquabike and why I have already sat down and established my goals for returning and smashing it next year on 9 November.

So yes, I got the DNF! 

But I prefer to call it the “DID NOT FALTER”.

Because I ran my race and kept going until I no longer could.

(Not to drag it out, but there is a lot to tell, so I will save the race details for another post.)

A couple of my valued friends also contributed these alternatives to “DNF”;



which, I also love.

It has taken me a couple of days to start processing all of the lessons.  I have been tempted to wallow in the murk of the word “FAIL”.   I’ve had to pull myself away from it several times and my hubby has given me a few pep talks as well.   I am human, after all, and human nature tends to focus on the negative.  But, woman!, there are so many positives from this experience that the only failure would be in wallowing in self-pity, giving up and failing to see the lessons learned and the successes gained.

 I can’t wait to dig into them!

Let’s stay closer in touch…

Like my Facebook page @LEAP n2u Fitness and join my closed Facebook group Fitness and Lifestyle Mojo for Daring women. I can’t wait to see you there!

    6 replies to "Aquabike Inspiration and DNF"

    • Diane Heiss

      Your blog is so inspiring for people.  Your blog was interesting to read.  I will admit I used to bike ride and swim alot.  I can still do the swimming but, I can’t do the bike riding that much since I am now disabled.  However, reading your blog has made it so that I want to start exercizing and maybe join a gym and swim once a day.  Will you be doing another race anytime soon?

      • Tammy Martin

        Hi Diane, Thank you for your comments.  I’m glad to hear that you are motivated to start up a renewed exercise habit.  The key is to start with what you know you will do consistently to start and build from there. 

        Yes, I am planning to keep training and racing.  I was registered to do a shorter event today even, but I have a blasted cold and had to sit it out.  

        Let me know how you go with your exercise!

        Cheers, Tammy

    • Dave

      Oh man does this post ring home for me. Last month my wife who has done a triathlon before decided to do a duathlon. While she finished the tri, the du was an entirely different animal. She did the run/bike/run piece but never made it to the run. Her initial 5k was fine but the 22 mile bike ride was on a terrible course just after a storm. She ended up with a flat tire on mile 21! And she had no repair kit. Like you, she got the DNF and was told she could run the last 5k for fun but she was done. Very demoralizing. Keep at it my friend, you will have your time to shine!

      • Tammy Martin

        Oh my goodness Dave!  Your poor wife, she must have been so disappointed.  She gets points from me either way for taking on a duathlon – running twice!  

        I think it may be tougher to get so close to the finish only to be denied than to have to drop out early on.  Maybe my perspective on that will change if I ever have to stop a race early.  In any case, good on her for putting herself out there and for keeping at it.  

        The other kicker for me is that there were only 3 women in my aquabike category.  Which means that if I had finished, I would have automatically gotten a 3rd place medal.  So Close!!

        I just started building a new website yesterday.  She might like my first post https://aquabikenewbie.com/my-first-half-ironman-aquabike-and-rookie-mistakes/  

        Thank you for your comment!

        All the best to you and your wife.


    • Raymond Lepkowicz

      Love your site.  It is an inspiration and even though you didn’t finish the race you gave it your very best.  

      Great idea for a site, especially in that you are promoting something that we all need inspiration to do more about – fitness.

      fitness is important and when you get older it is harder to get started and stay motivated.  I like the idea of a site that not only gives help and motivation but also shares great finds in products that help you perform.

      Will recommend your site to my facebook friends.  Great job.

      • Tammy Martin

        Thank you Raymond, I really appreciate the positive feedback.  You got it right on the nose.  My goal is to give empowering information and motivation for living a healthy movement based lifestyle and to provide insights into products that I like for that end.  

        Many thanks for the share on Facebook!

        Cheers, Tammy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.