Ready, set, go!

19 07 2009

It’s hard to believe it’s here.

I will race in my first sprint distance triathlon in the morning.

After spending most of last year on bed rest while I was pregnant with sweet Zephaniah, I was out of shape. Little things – and little people – left me completely exhausted at the end of each day. I wanted to be stronger and healthier, but the I should really work out feeling was not enough to get me off my rear.

I needed a goal. Something to get me out the door more than a few times a week. I had always been curious about doing a triathlon. Triathlons seem intense and challenging. I am very competitive and I was up for something like this. So in March, I took the plunge and signed up for my first triathlon.

And then – gulp – realized that a lot was involved. I had not been on a bike for at least a decade and the last time I rode with any frequency was when I lived in Boulder, Colorado more than fifteen years ago. Although I know how to swim, the last time I swam laps was in elementary school.

Not to mention the gear. The only things I owned at that point were running shoes and sunglasses. Mark and I set out to find good deals on the gear I would need. Bike, helmet, shoes, pedals, bike shorts, tri suit, wet suit, swimsuit, cap and goggles. Thanks to some amazing deals on Craigslist and Sierra Trading Post and at our favorite local bike shop (Veloce Velo in Issaquah), by April I had everything I needed.

For the last four months, I’ve tried to swim, bike and run each twice a week. When I first got in the pool, I could barely remember how to swim. The first few times I tried to clip in to my pedals on my bike, I fell over and now have some cool (according to my boys) scars on my legs. The first time I went running it took me maybe 40 minutes to go about 2 miles.

While I am not as fast as I hope to be eventually, I have improved. I can swim 100 meters in about 1:40 and hopefully will finish 400 meters in open water in under 10 minutes. I have not fallen off my bike since May and I am planning to bike 13 miles in about 42 minutes. My running has improved dramatically. I am now able to run 1 mile in 7:50 and hope to run the 3 miles in about 27 minutes. Add 4 minutes for transitions and my goal for the race in the morning is 1 hour 23 minutes.

As I’ve told people about training for a triathlon over the past few months, many of my friends have said that they could never do a triathlon. For those of you out there who think this, the main thing keeping you from doing a triathlon is not that you can’t swim, bike or run – it’s your head. Seriously. When I began training, I could not swim, bike or run (I didn’t even know how to spell triathlon), but I was determined to learn how, to stubborn to quit, and competitive enough to want to win.

While the winning will probably have to wait for another season (and a lot more training), I will finish in the morning. And I’ll look cute doing it too.

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