I am a triathlete. These four words are not something that was ever on my wish list or bucket list, but here I am, in my 40’s and saying that for the first time. Sometimes, I am still in awe that I can even say those four words.
How did I get here? In a roundabout way! I was hitting my 40’s and realized that exercising the same way that I had for years was not working anymore for me. I decided to try something I had never done before…running. But, I also knew that as I had never done this and was a bit older, I should join a class and get a coach. I joined an multi-week class starting in September 2013 with the goal of running my first 5k for a Thanksgiving Pie (3.14 miles) race (see post about that journey). I completed that race!
After three more 5k races, friends called me up to say, hey now that you can compete in 5k races, you used to swim competitively, and you know how to bike…join us at trying a sprint triathlon. I may have laughed at them, but then really considered it. I thought back to my friend Pete as he completed his first Ironman in Lake Placid years before and knew I didn’t want to do anything that distance. But I looked at the various levels of triathlon. Brock Bigard does a great job at putting together a chart of the distances:
|Sprint||0.5mi (750m)||12.4mi (20km)||3.1mi (5km)|
|Olympic / 5150||0.93mi (1.5km)||24.8mi (40km)||6.2mi (10km)|
|ITU Long||1.86mi (3km)||49.6mi (80km)||12.4mi (20km)|
|Half / 70.3||1.2mi (1.9km)||56mi (90km)||13.1mi (21.09km)|
|Full||2.4mi (3.8km)||112mi (180km)||26.2mi (42.195km)|
Bigard, B. (2015). Triathlon distances. Retrieved from https://totaltriathlon.com/triathlon-distances.
In addition to what Brock included, there is a superprint which includes a 0.23 mile swim, 6.2 mile bike, and 1.5 mile run (Chicago Triathlon Website) and indoor triathlons held at fitness centers and high schools.
After viewing these distances and being honest with myself about time available for training as I work full-time, I chose a sprint triathlon and said yes to my friends and we all signed up! In June 2015, I completed my first sprint triathlon with my friends, partly in a rainstorm. I may have been in shock that I had completed it (see post about first triathlon). The moment that they put that medal around your neck? Wow! Very emotional moment that I was not expecting.
I enjoyed the training (lost 17 pounds) so much that I decided to continue in this journey. This website will share what I learned while training for the first triathlon and beyond. I will share the ups and downs (and there were many). I am now training for my third outdoor sprint triathlon.
Yes, I can say I am a triathlete. Still sounds strange to say this, but I am so happy I took this journey and look forward to seeing where it will take me.