My First Triathlon
June 9, 2013 has finally arrived. I have been working toward this day for 1 year and 6 months. I started this journey the last week of December 2011 with a new friend by my side. I wanted to do triathlons but I really couldn’t swim and I was still mainly walking 5Ks. I joined Experience Triathlon and Coach Suzy for my first workout on December 28, 2011, a swim workout. I look back at that first workout and wonder what I was thinking. I couldn’t swim, I could only try to keep myself from drowning in the pool. Coach Suzy spent the next 9 months breaking down the steps of swimming and teaching me how to swim. Being something of a perfectionist, I never wanted to move on to the next step until I felt I had mastered the one I was on. Coach Suzy picked up on that trait of mine from the very beginning and we moved at my pace.
Looking back over the past year and a half, there have been many accomplishments that I never would have thought possible when I started this journey. My first love has always been riding, but I never would have thought that I could ride over 50 miles in one day, let alone 98 over two days – but that happened in June of 2012. In September 2012, I completed my first ever multi-sport event, a sprint duathlon, with a wonderful ET teammate who I now consider a great friend (she knows who she is). In January 2013, I ran my first half marathon, in Miami no less, and a second in May 2013. I may run slowly but I run more than I walk, something that to this day still amazes me. I spent a great 5 days in California Wine Country at ET Spring Camp … I still can’t believe that I did a triathlon training camp, yet I still didn’t consider myself an athlete. The part that that shocks me the most: I can swim and I love to swim. I may not be fast but the love of the water is a feeling I never expected.
I am significantly overweight and very slow at all three phases of triathlon. Somehow though, triathlon isn’t about being fast or a great athlete for me, it is about pushing myself to my limits and no one else’s. I love the feeling of consistently amazing myself at what I can do. I try very hard to set no limits and no expectations. I just want to enjoy every workout and be amazed at what this body I have can do, not what it can’t.
Today I completed my first triathlon. Was it perfect? Some would say no because everything did not go perfectly, but I would say yes. I did what I wanted. Following some great advice from Coach Suzy, I stayed present in every leg of the event.
Once I finished the swim, it was on to transition and what happened on the swim was now behind me. Once on the bike I enjoyed every pedal stroke, even if I did start out in the wrong gear. Then once back in transition with the bike behind me, it was time to run. Seeing fellow ET teammates as volunteers on the run course gave me that extra “something” to keep putting one foot in front of the other and finally cross that finish line for the first time. My ET Batavia Triathlon medal around my neck, I finally feel like an athlete. It’s a feeling I can’t describe but for any athlete out there I don’t have to.