When my friend Leigh and I were training for our first marathon, she had some issues with her knees and our coach suggested we spend time in the pool (both aqua jogging and swimming as our cross-training). During this time, I also had some car problems and was spending a lot of time riding my bike around town. Because we were already running and I was already biking and we were now going to add swimming to the mix, I suggested we give a triathlon a try.
For me, the beauty of triathlon was that I could do two things I love (biking and swimming) and mix them with something I really dislike (running). Now, when I set my mind to try and do something new, I research it to death.
One day, when I was in the book store looking at all of the triathlon books, I came across a book called “Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now” by Jayne Williams. Let me tell you, I LOVE this book. It was so great to read a book that wasn’t written by some elite triathlete. This book was written by someone like me, someone who was overweight but didn’t let that stop her from getting out there and trying a triathlon. Williams told her story with a great sense of humor and I really related to her.
After reading this book, I was ready to give some triathlons a go. And I did. In the summer of 2007, I did a super sprint tri, a couple of sprint triathlons and attempted an Olympic distance triathlon (which I was not prepared for). In 2008, I started the season with Team in Training with another Olympic distance triathlon (which, thanks to a great coach, I was totally prepared for) and a few sprint distance triathlons. In 2009, I completed another really rough race. My first ever half Ironman triathlon (for those who don’t know what a half Ironman is: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run and yes, those are all completed back to back to back in the same day).
Triathletes are some of the greatest people. You are cheered along the whole race by others out there with you. If they see you are struggling, they are going to encourage you. We love this sport and we want to see it succeed and we want to watch it continue to grow.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that another half Ironman is in my future. Right now I’m working out a schedule for what races I will be attending in 2010. I love triathlon season and I am proud to say I am a triathlete. Even if I don’t win my age group, even if I am not at my ideal weight, even if I am the last one across the finish line, I AM A TRIATHLETE