Getting Ready to Tri – Triathlon that is!
The past two years have been a long journey for me. Sure the wedding was a huge thing. As was finishing my first book. Buying our house and moving. Getting a dog and a kitten. There was that 80 foot mural. Oh yeah and a second community art project, the ArtVend. Then there was that herbalist apprenticeship I just finished (my final presentation was last Saturday). But really, through it all, getting healthy was the common thread – and in many ways my sanity saver.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t do well without goals. There’s always talk about “crushing goals” and how “goals don’t help!” and “it’s all about habit building”. Well for me: Getting fit just to get fit has never worked. I need to be on a team or training for an event to stay motivated. Maybe that was always my issue with the cello – if I would have scheduled a recital maybe I would have stuck with my daily practicing.
Either way, after trying to train for a triathlon for (or saying I was trying) over 3 years, I finally did. For my birthday this year Jason signed me up for a personal trainer (something I’ve always wanted to do, but felt guilty spending the money on). Since late June I’ve been meeting with John on a weekly basis. Core training, strength training, butt kicking each week. Then 4-6 other days a week I would run, bike, and swim. I’ve lost 20lbs and am pretty buff. My body composition has completely changed.
4 weekends ago I ran my first 5k and actually did better than expected. It was a hilly, rainy, cross-country course south east of Des Moines, Iowa and Jason and I finished in 38 minutes (we walked some of it because Jason started getting cramps in his calves). I feel pretty confident my Triathlon time will be more around 32 minutes no problem. And now would be a good time to say, I’m not a runner. I’ve never run more than a mile (and that was for the high school tennis team well over a decade ago) until the past 5 months.
When I started I could barely swim a lap in the pool without stopping – and only about 10 yards doing the front crawl. Now I can swim strongly doing the front crawl, with proper breathing technique for well over 600 yards! Even longer if I take it slow or take treading water breaks.
Cycling has always been my thing, but this year I participated in my first randonneur ride: a solo ride taking 5 hours and 41 minutes into headwinds and covering over 65 miles. It was exhilarating. I thought I couldn’t make it after about 2 hours. But I kept going and I did!
When I started down this road I often thought I was just kidding myself. Who was I to think I could participate in this super athletic event. A triathlon. A test of my endurance and physical capacity. Now, I’m already planning out the next season and looking forward to racing in my first Olympic distance tri! And in many ways I felt the same way about the book. Who am I kidding, this must be some kind of joke on me. They aren’t really going to publish my book. They don’t really think it’s good. And here I am mapping out my next book with Storey!
Training for a triathlon AND writing my first book has taught me quite a few quality life lessons that I’m going to just take a second to share with you:
- Sometimes even if you know what needs to be done, you still need someone to guide you through it.
- If you prepare yourself for challenge instead of tackling it head on it’s no longer a challenge but just an obvious outcome to all the little steps that came before it.
- I’ve never really known what I was capable of until I tried something that I expected to fail, and then succeeded.