Sunday, August 15, 2010

I am a Triathlete!

This is my journey to becoming a triathlete. It will probably be a long post, so feel free to skip parts. I'll work on a picture recap of the race soon (hopefully tomorrow).

I've never been really be athletic. My first sports memory is quitting a baseball team in elementary school because the boys on the team made fun of me and said it was my fault we lost a game. I was an overweight child that really preferred to reading to playing outside. In 8th grade, I started taking Tae Kwon Do with a friend of mine. I loved it and even though I was still overweight, I could do most of the moves. I started heavily restricting what I ate and lost some weight before I started high school, but I still wasn't particularly fit. I continued taking Tae Kwon Do for 10 years and became a 3rd recommended black belt. I enjoyed it, but when Toby came home from the Middle East I didn't want to spend my evenings away from him.

Over the next several (5) years, I exercised off and on, but never really stuck with anything. When Rebecca moved away and I didn't have a gym buddy, I decided to give up my Y membership. Sometime after that I bought an elliptical trainer, which I consistently used for about 5 weeks. I gained some weight, but didn't really feel bad. Toby had put on a little weight too and my while family has spent time on the heavier side of life.

Two years ago, Toby and I decided to join the Louisville Athletic Club. We started going to the gym together in the evenings, but we weren't really consistent. I loved the classes they offered, but never made getting to them a priority. Then last fall Toby decided to run a marathon. He started training, which meant running just about every evening and long runs of 2-4 hours on the weekend. It made me want to do something. About that time, a friend from work convinced me I should go to 5:30am Group Power classes. I went and loved the instructor, so I kept going. I also loved the way I felt all day after working out.

After seeing Toby finish the marathon, Jeane and I decided we could do it too. She was 6 months pregnant at the time, so we figured we need to give it a few years. Since I knew a marathon would require a lot of training, I signed up for a series of winter races that involved a 5K in December, a 4 mile race in January, and a 5 mile race in February. I started doing the couch to 5K program to learn to run. I didn't really do any training other than running for gradually longer times and distances. My goal was just to finish and I made it through 2 of the 3. Running in temps below freezing did not agree with my lungs and I had to stop the one in February.

In January, Jennifer told me she was doing the MiniMarathon, the half-marathon that is a part of the Kentucky Derby Festival. I debated for a while and then signed up on January 31, the last day before the price went up. I trained over the next few months, adding spinning to my morning class rotation and doing long runs on the weekend. I only ran one day a week and that was not enough to completely prepare me for the race. Even though I walked a lot, I made it and the sense of accomplishment was amazing. I completed a half-marathon. Wow. I kept running and sometime after that I started enjoying it and that's when I decided I was a runner.

After Toby ran the marathon, he read about about IronMan Triathlon and decided he should enter the 2010 Louisville IronMan Triathlon. He bought a bike and started riding and running. In May, he added swimming to the rotation. I saw an add in the Indiana Alumni Magazine for the Hoosierman Triathlon and Duathlon and figured I could run and bike and this could be something we could do together. So in June, we both competed in our first multi-sport races. Toby signed up for the Muncie Endurathon, a half-Iron distance event in July and I debated if I could swim well enough to sign up for the sprint distance race. I discussed my desire to do a triathlon with Amy and she mentioned her YMCA hosts a triathlon in August. After going to the Muncie event as a spectator, I decided I really wanted to do it too and we signed up. That was 5 weeks ago.

Friday after work I loaded up my bike and all my gear (seriously I took more exercise clothes that real clothes) and headed to Evansville. We went and picked up our race packets and I was dismayed to learn they use your age as of December 31. I told them it wasn't nice to make me 31 4 months before my birthday, but no one seemed to care. They even wrote 31 on my leg for the body marking. :-( We went to dinner and then to bed. I woke up at 4:50am Saturday morning, but waited until I heard Amy's alarm at 5 before jumping out of bed. We were both excited and got ready pretty quickly. We then had some issues getting Amy's bike on my bike rack. We got rid of the bike rack, laid the back seats down, shoved the bikes in and we were off.

We made it to Scales Lake Park and started riding to the starting area. We had to stop because my bike was having some issues. I know nothing about bike repair even though I know I should, so this freaked me out, but then my wheel started turning again and we made it. We found a spot in transition and got our gear set-up. I took my bike for another test ride and then it was pretty much time to go.

All the women in the sprint triathlon started in the 3rd wave. The swimming was the only part I was concerned about, but I knew I could make it through. In reality, it was so much harder than I thought it would be. I was so out of breath and I could feel and hear my heart pounding. However, I made it out of the water in 27 minutes and 54 seconds, beating my goal of 30 minutes. Awesome and now all I had left was the fun stuff.

I started riding a bike again a few years ago. I bought a hybrid to ride to run errands that I could do without driving. I've riden it around some, but it didn't get used routinely until I signed up for the duathlon. I love the free feeling of bike riding. It makes me feel like a kid again. It also makes my behind hurt, but that's why I buy padded shorts. :-) I used the hybrid for my first 2 multi-sport races, but now I want to look into getting a fancy road bike. Yesterday, the 15 mile bike ride took 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 54 seconds, beating my goal of 1:15. Yay!

About mile 14 of the bike ride, I was passed by a lady and I thought, "that's ok, I'm going to pass you on the run." And I did. I actually passed her just outside of transition when I was running and she was walking. I'd been practicing running 1/2 mile, then walking 1/4 and so on. I mostly stuck to this plan and was able to pass several people that seemed to be walking the whole thing. I also made sure I was able to run the last .35 miles so I could be strong to the finish and even though the finish line was at the top of a hill (are these people crazy?!) I did. They called my name as I approached the finish line and I pumped my fists in the air. I made it! I am a triathlete! Again the sense of accomplishment is amazing. My run time was 41 minutes, 11 seconds and my total time (including transitions) was 2 hours, 21 minutes, and 34 seconds. I beat my goal of 2 hours and 30 minutes. Woo hoo!

1 comment:

Momma Shell said...

"My daughter is a Triathlete!" I love this statement. Thanks for sharing this experience. I'm so proud of you, not only for your accomplishments, but for how you tackle new experiences, set goals, and succeed! I'm blessed to be your mom. Love you!