Give it a Tri…

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See what I did there? Clever huh? This post is about triathlons, and how they are awesome, terrifying, and something everyone should try once.
For a little backstory of my adventure, this is the post I wrote the day after trying to ride a bike with clipless pedals for the first time. This is also my account of first deciding to do a triathlon. Another post would be this one which I wrote just before I had my first triathlon ever.
Rereading these and it is both amusing and encouraging. First off, how normal having my feet attached to my bike has become. I sometimes have those moments where it takes a few tries to get my foot clipped back in but for the most part it’s almost second nature. Also, describing a bike as an object that goes 15 mph…as that was a fast pace for me then. Now my average is usually around 18 mph. I no longer struggle to get water bottles in and out of their holders…I even use the aero bars with quite a bit of competence. Six miles is not even part of my shorter bike distances anymore. I go between 12-25 miles during an average bike ride. The gains I have made are amazing. The thing about triathlons are that they are both competitive and not at the same time. What I mean is…when the race starts you do your best and race hard against everyone. But everyone is encouraging, and never once was I made to feel less because I didn’t have the gear, the knowledge of the body of a triathlete. I had expert triathletes come ip behind me and cheer me on, telling me I could do it or that I was looking good. It is family friendly, and many have mini triathlons for kids so the whole family can participate. Everyone cheers everyone on, I get great tips at each race from more seasoned racers, and there people at all levels competing. I’ve passed 20 year olds and then had the smug look wiped off my face as some 70 year old breezes past me like I’m standing still. It’s fantastic!
Triathlons are much more about accomplishments than competition. I do them not to impress others but because of how awesome it feels to buckle down, work hard, and see results. To see my times drop each race, to see how comfortable I have gotten both in biking and running. It’s amazing.
I have now been in at least four sprint triathlons, earned metals in all but one, and I am now packing to head off to my first Olympic triathlon. This is longer than a sprint, but shorter than a half ironman. It’s about a .9 mile swim, a 24-25 mile bike, and finishes with a 10k run. This is the same triathlon I was talking about that Sir Smiley did last year, only the Olympic distance. I’m feeling the very familiar feeling of butterflies in my stomach. When I first started swim team a million years ago, I came home crying because it was so hard. The practices lasted for three to four hours and I didn’t think I would survive. My dad told me we paid for it, so I needed to stick it out until the first swim meet. After the meet, I was hooked. The energy from competing is amazing. Trying to best your old times, pushing yourself and seeing success, there is nothing like it. It was something I missed for a long time and have gained back in this. I’ve been training hard and now am in the midst of that nervous excitement. How will I do? What little bumps will happen along the way? I’m excited because it is up in the mountains and will be significantly cooler with amazing views…but also nervous about how the altitude will affect my performance. Excited because I’ve been working hard, but nervous since there is no Athena group so I will be competing against the teeny boppers my own age. I’ve been planning out each move and transition, working through all the areas I need to work on and reminding myself of what to do (or not to do). This excitement will last long after the race is done and launch me into planning my training leading up to the next big race.
I never considered myself an athlete yet here I am. Looking back at the gal who couldn’t even jog half a block and now thinking about the 10k I just jogged for practice this week I feel empowered and good. I’m actively doing something that will improve my health both physically and mentally, and it’s passing on a legacy to my kids that isn’t diets or negative self image but health and wellness.

Okay, rambly and somewhat preachy post is now done. But I think everyone should try out at least a sprint triathlon. It is an amazing experience. I’m off to finish packing.

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