I’m a Triathlete! My Day at the SheROX Triathlon
The first time I met Coach Joe about 8 weeks ago, I knew that as crazy as my decision was to sign up for a sprint and an olympic triathlon this summer, it was probably the best thing I could have done. The first race on my docket was the SheROX Triathlon in Naperville, and I only had two months to prepare! Though I’ve been involved in sports my whole life, I was never a distance athlete and actually loathed running until I actually gave it an honest shot, so my ambition to take on a triathlon was a lofty one. However, armed with an extremely supportive family consisting of friends, family, Experience Triathlon coaches (especially Coach Joe!), and my fellow triathletes, I knew that “impossible” was no longer in my vocabulary!
After two months of swimming, biking, and running, I was astonished at what I could do! Nobody would know that last summer I was struggling to run one 11-minute mile and hadn’t ridden a bike in the past 10 years! I felt empowered, strong, and confident, and I looked forward to pushing myself to the next level. I suppose that’s why on the morning of the SheROX Triathlon in Naperville, I was not nervous, but rather excited to take on the course!
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that standing in the water with the 60 other women in my age group before the foghorn went off wasn’t nerve-wracking, but as soon as I was submerged in the water, it was like I went on auto-pilot. While I had some issues maneuvering around the traffic, I kept my head down, focused on my breathing, and was singing the “Just Keep Swimming” tune from Finding Nemo until my fingers were scraping the bottom of the lake and it was time to get up and run through transition!
After nearly falling over as I lunged for my helmet, I managed to pull on my bike shoes and dash to the mount line. Considering that the bike segment was what I was most worried about, I was thrilled that the course was so flat, and I cruised along at a nice clip. Before I knew it, it was time to get off and tackle the 5K run!
I think that the run was the most challenging part of the race because I had no concept of how long I had been running or how much distance I had covered, but every time I turned a corner and saw one of the beautiful aid stations, I knew there wasn’t much left to go. One of my favorite parts about the run for me was getting to hear the crowd cheering as other people finished, which seemed to happen every time I needed a little boost in my run! More than that, I finished the run with a PR and said goodbye to my 11-minute mile!
I think that the best part of the race was that all of the athletes were so polite and encouraging, either cheering an enthusiastic, “You go, girl!” as I passed or an encouraging, “You got this!” as they passed me. It was apparent that for the majority of the athletes competing in the SheROX Triathlon, this race was not about who was the best or the fastest, but about camaraderie and overcoming adversity. It was about fortitude in the face of life’s challenges, whether it be a half mile swim or ovarian cancer, and sticking out the hard times to be the best version of ourselves.
When I came around the final bend of the run course, I was greeted by all of the other ET coaches and athletes on the sideline cheering like mad! At that point, I no longer cared if I reached a new personal best or how I placed in my age group: I’d finished my first triathlon!
Thank you, Coach Joe, for all of the support and encouragement over the last two months. I really don’t think I could have done it without you, and I’m looking forward to a long, fun triathlon career with Experience Triathlon Coaching Services. I can’t wait to do my first Olympic triathlon at Bangs Lake! I really can’t put into words how much being a part of the ET family means to me, but it finally feels like I’m home.
Thanks for everything!
Congrats, Amanda, on becoming a triathlete! You rocked the SheROX!! Welcome to our family. We love having you with us! 🙂 – Coach Joe