All night Anouk Alexander could hear the waves crashing and the high winds roaring.

The next day she was facing one of the biggest challenges of her life.

After years of no exercise, living the commuter's life heading into Wellington and sitting in an office all day, Anouk was stepping out of her comfort zone entering her first triathlon.

"I had seen the signs along the highway every year advertising the Kāpiti Women's Triathlon, but always way too late.

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"And then one year a few months before the triathlon I saw they invited people to apply for scholarships.

Anouk Alexander on the home stretch. Photo / Lynley Allison
Anouk Alexander on the home stretch. Photo / Lynley Allison

"I thought this was a great idea as I could get help with training," she said.

"I didn't know how to swim or even have a clue of how to start training because I was a couch potato.

"So I sent them a letter applying and I had an interview.

"It was probably harder than some of my job interviews, but I was really lucky to get it and be awarded a scholarship.

"So I started training four months before the triathlon.

"It was a really terrifying thought that four months later I was going to be doing a triathlon.

"They taught me how to swim.

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"I didn't even know how to blow bubbles under the water or anything."

After a sleepless night, Anouk arrived at the beach. The seas had settled but her nerves had not.

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"The morning we arrived at the beach for the event it was a really flat sea, it was perfect.

"But the minute I got out on the water my heart rate was high and I started panicking.

"I forgot everything I had learnt and did the whole thing on my back, but I completed it and went onto the bike and run.

"I don't think I've had a prouder moment than doing that triathlon.

"It's such a community event.

"Being only for women it makes it less scary for us, and there were people of all ages participating.

"Young and old, big and small, it didn't matter — everyone was just doing it."

Receiving a scholarship seven years ago gave Anouk the motivation she needed to change her lifestyle.

"I didn't consider myself an athlete — I was a couch potato."

But now she has gone on to complete bigger events, including three half ironmans.

"The fact that you have to train for three different disciplines makes it quite hard.

"It's the challenge and the fact that you're probably never ready that makes it exciting.

"I would probably get bored if I was just training for one thing the whole time."

With the Kāpiti Women's Triathlon there are many options for you to try, short distances, long distances, group options and fun runs, she says.

There is something for everybody.

The Kāpiti Women's Triathlon first began in 1983 with the aim of encouraging women and girls to get out and have a go focusing on fun, fitness and health.

The event is run by women, for women, and will be held on February 23.

For more information and to sign up visit www.kwt.org.nz