Like many people, I aspire to stay healthy and be active. And, like many people, I often am the opposite. After a long dark winter of sickness and health issues preventing me from working out, I felt super crumby. Not to mention I also discovered I could not attend a dear friend’s wedding 3,400km away, so I needed something to turn to. I needed and wanted something to distract me, and help me strive for a healthy lifestyle again – both physically and mentally.
When I heard about an upcoming sprint triathlon in my town, I thought it would be the perfect thing to aspire to do. A sprint triathlon is usually the entry level event into the triathlon world. It consists of the following:
Sprint: 750m (0.5 mile) swim, 20km bike (12.4 miles), and 5km run (3.1 miles).
Olympic: 1.5km swim (0.9 mile), 40km bike (25 miles), and 10km run (6.2 miles).
Half Iron: 1.9km swim (1.2 miles), 90km bike (55.9 miles), and 21km run (13 miles).
Ironman: 3.8km swim (2.4 miles), 180km bike (111.8 miles), and 42km run (26.2 miles — a marathon).
I wanted to do this triathlon for a few reasons. A distraction of course, but also because I wanted to become more mindful of my body, my brain, and the thoughts I feed it. After such a long, hard winter, my brain was exhausted and I felt I needed to retrain my thought patterns. While beginning to train for the event and thinking positively with a “you can do it” attitude, I noticed how life becomes a little easier. It becomes quieter and can be navigated. It becomes more enjoyable. There is less mental noise clogging up my brain, and instead left more space for positive thoughts.
It also helped that I saw my dad practicing for triathlons, and eventually for Ironman races when I was a kid. I remember his dedication and confidence. He fed himself positivity, and because of that, he completed a few triathlons and two Ironmans (including the big annual one in Hawaii).
My bike, hanging out in the transition area.
My goal the entire time I trained was consistent and clear. I just wanted to finish. I had no idea how I would or should perform, and certainly had no desire to beat anyone. The only competition I felt was bragging rights over my siblings once it was over; I could say I was the first of us to do a triathlon. Some families are competitive about board games or Instagram likes, but for me, this will be a fun one to say to Ashley and Brett. (hehehe!!)
The day the of the race, I was both tired and super excited. I was a little nervous about how I would perform given that I tapered off my workouts pretty hard the last two weeks before the event (which made me a little weaker than I wanted to be), but I was excited nonetheless.
After swimming my heart out, biking as hard as I could (up a hill x 3), and running when I felt my legs were both bricks and jello (and up a large hill at the very end – just killer!), I made it past the finish line. I had done it. I had completed a triathlon. I fed myself positivity while training and succeeded because of it. Overall, I placed 47/84 and was pleasantly surprised to see I came 5th overall in the swim portion. Surprised is an understatement. Shocked was more like it. I swam competitively from the age of 9-13 but certainly did not expect that kind of result.
Now that I know what is involved and how I placed, I can choose to beat myself up over mistakes and some slacker-ness in my training, or I can choose to be happy for myself. I choose the latter, and I am already looking forward to training for and competing in another triathlon.