Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Triathlon Time

Yesterday, I registered for a triathlon. Actually, it's more of a "we" registered than a "me." After deciding that I needed reinforcements, my daughter, husband, and I signed up to compete as a team. Curly Girl will swim, Patrick will bike, and I will run.

I have been wanting to attempt a triathlon for a year or two, ever since a series of women-only super-sprint triathlons started in NC last summer. Last year, I had actually been training for an August event when I slipped, fell, and stumbled ungracefully off one of our two deck steps and seriously sprained my ankle. That put me out of commission for six to eight weeks last summer which meant no training for a triathlon.

I was inspired to check out triathlons after my husband completed several triathlons over the past few years. Instead of the stressful, intense venues I had pictured, the events were supportive, friendly affairs. So, in anticipation of attempting a triathlon, I swam, or attempted to swim, laps a few times near the end of last summer and discovered that swimming is much harder than it looks. It always looked so easy. My daughter swims competitively now and Patrick swam Division I in college, so I thought the sport really couldn't be that hard. I was wrong and learned that is going to be a big leap from my previous jump-off-the-diving-board approach to actual lap swimming. I still want to improve my swimming skills, but it is probably best to hand that leg off to my daughter for now.

When registering as a team, I very clearly specified to my husband that he had to actually train for his cycling leg of the race. For most people, training seems like the obvious thing to do, but this is not true for Patrick. Several years ago, he got a wild hair to sign up for a triathlon in our area. Now this would be great if he had decided to do so more than two weeks prior to the triathlon. Yes, I said two weeks. For some reason he thought that since his twenty-year-old body could complete triathlons on minimal training, his thirty-five-year-old body could do so, too. Disregarding my begging and pleading, he stuck to his guns and went to the triathlon. Let's just say that I wouldn't even take Curly Girl and Car Guy to the event since I was so sure the day would end in a medical emergency for their father. Well, Patrick swam (after learning that the muscular guy competing beside him was an ex-Navy Seal), but then clearly ignored my plan of just finishing the day alive when he decided to keep pace with other riders during the bike leg. After that debacle, I was thankful when he agreed to stop racing without attempting the run.

The triathlon bug had bitten Patrick, however, and he was determined to complete an event in the near future. The next season he trained, complete with getting chased by two large German shepherds while biking up a very steep hill near our house, and did complete both events he entered. Since I felt better about my husband's conditioning, I did actually take the kids to the events. One even included a trip to the beach with a dicey ocean swim where several people were pulled out of the water, as well as a beach run in wet sand.

But, I did actually enjoy the events and thought I could maybe, possibly do that. Besides that whole competitive thing of not wanting to be outdone by my family members kicked in. My husband had completed triathlons, and Curly Girl even finished a youth triathlon, complete with barfing at the finish line, a few years ago.

So, I don't think I'm ready for a full triathlon this year (I'm too chicken to do the swim), but I can swing one leg of the event. So, I'll start there. This summer I'll focus on running, then add in some biking and swimming for 2010. And now that I've told everyone about it, I feel more committed than ever. I think I can ... I think I can....I think I can...

1 comment:

  1. Hey there! Awesome news, I'm glad you signed up. Triathlon is a great sport for all ages and abilities. Find encouragement for triathletes on my site. Also tips for race day, checklists, what not to say, and more. My current series is on common excuses people have for not doing a triathlon. You may enjoy the one on relays.

    Best to you and your training!