I recently joined a research study that asks participants to document their training and experiences leading up to the CapTex triathlon on Memorial Day. It has prompted me to do some thinking about how I got started in this crazy sport in the first place. Here is my story.
About 6 years ago, I went on a Spring Break trip with my family and returned to find out that my boyfriend had started seeing someone else while I was gone. Always an awesome feeling. My family didn't like him, and I think I knew that he wasn't a good one for me anyway, but it still stung quite a bit. I was pissed, and for whatever reason decided that I needed a way to prove to myself, and anyone else who cared, that I was strong. Some how "being strong" parlayed it's way into fitness. I was already running then, but that didn't seem like a big enough challenge. My brother had been a cyclist for awhile at that point, and I always thought that biking sounded fun. So I started saving some money and eventually bought a bike (Bleu) from my brother's friend for about $600. I didn't really know anyone else who rode though, so I didn't get out there as much as I wanted to. Months went by and I still hadn't really decided the direction I was going in, until I came across information about the CapTex "First Tri". The distances didn't sound unreasonable, so I decided that I would sign up and make it my goal.
I had no idea what I was doing back then. I did as much reading as I could, but really I just got out there to train when I could, with no real focus. A teacher's salary did not afford me the option to sign up for any training groups either. But each week I found a way to swim, bike, and run, and took pride in each little accomplishment along the way. My brother's girlfriend at the time decided to do the race with me, so we would often email each other during the week with the work-outs that we were doing. It was definitely nice to have at least a virtual training buddy.
As timing would have it, I started dating a guy shortly before the race who's mom was a pretty hard-core triathlete (talk about intimidating!) She gave me some pointers though, but when I think back to that first race, it's hard to believe I didn't drown or face plant at some point. But I was hooked, and there was no turning back. I wanted more, and I wanted to do better. I completed at least 3 more races that season, and several more over the next year.
My job transition 3 years ago from teaching to technology (and a life on the road) did not allow me to continue training with any consistency. I also started dating The Professor around that time and just stopped training. I continued to exercise, but not at the same level leading up to that time. A few years went by, and then entered the year of Frans. I really don't feel like it's necessary to dwell on that- we all know how it ended. But the one good thing that came out of that was my rekindled interest in triathlon. Of course it helped that (he who really shouldn't be named) was an Ironman, and heavily involved in that lifestyle still. We volunteered at a race together and again I was hooked- I wanted to be participating, and not just watching.
Even though I was traveling extensively, I still found time to fit training into my schedule, and signed up for a race last Labor Day. Of course, we also know what happened shortly before the race. It only motivated me even more to train harder and kick butt. I ended up signing up for two more races to finish out the season and was really proud of what I had been able to accomplish given all the different circumstances and hardships I faced during that time period.
And here I am today- still not knowing exactly what I'm doing while training, but feeling good about it nonetheless. I am stronger than ever and in the best shape of my life. At age 35, that's a pretty awesome feeling. When I first started this journey, I thought riding 12 miles on a flat surface was a challenge of epic proportions. Now I can ride 50 on killer hills. Six years ago, the thought of running 6+ miles sounded like crazy talk. Surely I would have a heart attack. While I'm still not as fast as I would like, I can run 7 miles (and counting). I have met some great people along the way, and still enjoy the challenges each week as I continue to find ways to get better, stronger and faster. As long as it stays interesting, I plan to keep at it. Yes, it's time consuming, hard, sweaty, exhausting and often expensive. But if it were easy, it wouldn't be any fun.
The Weekend Dish: 5/18/2013
3 hours ago