Well–Completing a triathlon can be officially marked off of my bucket list! To celebrate the occasion, friend and fellow blogger Kristin interviewed me about the experience.
1. What made you decide to do the triathlon?
I am an audacious individual– I figured it didn’t sound too hard; I’ve competed in swimming, biking, and running events throughout my life (much less biking and running). But I needed a goal. A real one. Not the proverbial New Year’s resolution of “lose about 20lbs, volunteer more time, don’t let the dishes pile up…” goal but something that will get me jived.
2. Did you have any reservations before you signed up? How did you feel after it was official?
Any reservations? Absolutely not. I don’t know if I have reservations about anything come to think of it. As far as after I put in my credit card information and knew Sept. 9 was T-day and immediately felt the “oh sh*t” moment wash over me. Would I be ready in time? How would I do? I had to kick it into high gear at that point.
3. What was your first workout like?
First workout, I went to the gym and did 30 minutes of running uphill on the treadmill. I was pouring sweat. It was miserable.
4. Was there ever a point that you were ready to say, ‘Forget it, this is crazy’?
When I had to go to the doctor to examine my knees, which I was slowly but surely destroying by running on pavement and treadmills, I was thinking that this set-back would surely be my demise. There were times when I was sucking wind after multiple workouts and thought there is no way I can condition my body in time. But I didn’t stop. I didn’t give myself that option.
5. At what point in your training did you really feel like your workouts had been paying off / when did you see results?
The workouts never felt easier.. I could just go longer without feeling sore or exhausted. When I was still motivated to push myself after hour three.. I knew I was finally learning some form of endurance.
6. How did you prepare a week before?
I had just returned from my sojourn to Houston and post-sister-workout ensured I was sore. I knew I had to take it easy the week prior.. and I was bored out of my mind. I’d like to say I was productive. I did the dishes twice. That’s about it.
7. What went through your head on the morning of race day? What did you eat for breakfast?
Well despite expectations, Nelson-style means I slept like a rock the night prior. I woke up at 5:00a, pressed the snooze button twice and then got ready. I had prepared everything the night before so I wouldn’t have to make any decisions. I stopped for coffee at Starbucks (tall Pike place with cinnamon and a dab of cream) and arrived to the balmy 48 degrees. My plan to increase speed with shaved legs didn’t pan out. I wasn’t nervous– I was more anxious to put my training to the test. I had a bit of a protein shake for breakfast.
8. Explain the moment right before the race started.
I wasn’t a bundle of nerves. I wasn’t thinking about transitions. To be honest, I felt really special. Sure, I was about to do this triathlon to test my body, mind, spirit, and confidence– in a state where I live completely by myself and my entire family was busy doing other things around 800 miles away– but I had someone there for me. Right before we sang the National Anthem, a long-legged smiling woman ran over and gave me the biggest hug. It was my friend, corporate colleague, and fellow blogger Shannon who drove 30 minutes one way to watch me sweat, breathe, and physically kick my own butt all while cheering for me. As I was standing in a line of half-naked people with ripped bodies, the girl in pink was already cheering, giving me thumbs-up and celebrating to psychosis I had been training for. Like I said. I felt really special. : )
9. What was the best/worst part of the 2 hours?
To be quite honest– it sucked. I thought I was more prepared than I was. The best part would be the swim in which I did it in half the time I expected. (years of competing were in my favor…) I swallowed a few pints of chlorine in the choppy water but passed countless people. At the end of each lane, as I was reminding myself to breathe, there was Shannon, screaming for me.
I knew the course would be “hilly” but didn’t think mountainous. The cycling part was 80% uphill, against wind (which I was sucking) and at one point, I wasn’t moving. Sure– my legs were pedaling, but I was at a stand-still on the “hill” against the wind. I had a moment to choose whether to give up or finish. I believe I yelled, “DAMMIT” and stood up on the bike to get over the hill. There was a bigger “hill” to follow it. By the time the run came around, the “hills” were pissing me off; my legs were on fire from the walking on bike pedals and the idea of running uphill in SAND made tears spring to my eyes. I had to finish. I knew I did. As soon as I had rounded the corner from the desert hell, there was Shannon, ready to run with me to the finish line.
No emotion washed over me. There was no sense of accomplishment. My body was exhausted. Shannon and my friend Julianna were shouting, “You did it!” and it wasn’t until later did I realize that..
I did in fact.. do a triathlon.
10. Anything else/recap/would you do it again?
I had an epiphany along the journey of my triathlon about my true nature. Now, I’m not perfect by any means– but as I was out there, I couldn’t stop encouraging other people. I cheered for my competition. All of the volunteer staff and police officers, I thanked along the way. On my bike, I rang my obnoxious child’s bell to say thank you. I’m an encourager– it’s what I was meant for. Triathlons? That’s a learned thing.
- I DID cry in the middle of the triathlon, not at the end, and it had nothing to do with the course being ridiculous. I realized on the dunes of despair that though I was physically alone, my entire family was there. From the bike shorts my sister gave me and the passion for cycling I would have never done without her, to the total love of swimming I inherited from my mother (who jokes I have webbed feet, like her, because there is no place like a body of water), and my father’s spirit echoing through mine as I just wanted to connect with every person and encourage them, I wasn’t alone. They were there. I’ll never be alone because no matter the distance, I have them. And they were with me– through the distance.
I was completely unmoved on whether I wanted to do it again. People often speak of an ‘addiction’ to triathlons and athletic competition– I could care less. My body hurt and I could officially mark it off my list.
However, the moment I logged on to look at my times and my total score– I got mad. The type of mad that boils deep within you. I could do better. I know I can. I was owned by those hills and didn’t prepare like I should have. And by George– I would do it again and I would do it RIGHT! I would own those hills and I will see that time go down.
So I’m going to do it again. I’m going to start training here in about a month for a Spring triathlon and will put my heart, body, and spirit through hell and back by training on “hills.” And if I don’t do it on this next triathlon, I’ll just have to keep doing them until I’m satisfied.
But isn’t that how an addiction starts?