Trying a Tri

By Carissa

When it comes to athletic pursuits, I like to push my limits.  For a while that has been in the form of distance and pace.  This summer I’m dipping my toes into the unknown world of the triathlon.  I’ve been asked in the past if I would train for a triathlon.  My typical response was that I can’t bike and I can’t swim so no, triathlons weren’t a logical sport for me. 

Then last summer I bought I road bike.  Did I start riding it?  No.  To my husband’s chagrin it sat in the garage with promises from me that once I wan’t busy training for foot races I would indeed get on it.  Next, I had the opportunity to work with a trainer at my gym on lap swimming.  It isn’t pretty, but I now know how to lap swim.  Prior to diving into training for the Boston Marathon I took spin class and managed to get into the pool a little.  Once the running picked up I dropped everything else and focused exclusively on getting in my miles for the week.

Side note: Check out Jodi's blog for her experience learning to swim.  She promises humor.
The one time I actually rode my bike on the road and look, no clips...

After Boston I knew I wanted to get back to spin class, I wanted to get back in the pool and I wanted a goal race that would give my workouts focus and purpose.  A triathlon seemed to fit the bill.  There was only a few rather small hiccups in my ambitions.  I had yet to ride my bike on the open road.  The thought of getting used to my clips was anxiety producing.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to build up the necessary endurance to swim the race distance and I had zero experience in open water.  Have I built a good case for thinking I push my limits?

I counted seventeen weeks from a potential race: the Vancouver Muscle Max Olympic Distance Triathlon.  I searched the internet for a beginner level training plan (accidentally ending up with an intermediate level one) and I jumped into training.  I know that with time I will be facing the road and water.  I’m going to do my best to be brave.  Even if the first few times are awkward and hard I’m ready to push beyond my comfort zone.  My hope is that with time they will become enjoyable and easy.  
The schedule I'm following for now...

Now that I’m working on week five of training I’m noticing a few things about this new adventure.  While I am thankful I’ve been able to add biking and swimming, I’m sad I’ve had to scale way back on my running.  Literally the total running I’m doing in a week is equivalent to how much I’m used to running in a day.  Not only do I feel nervous about losing my mileage base but I miss running.  It feels like there’s hardly any time for it.  Also, now that I’m devoting more time to biking and swimming I can appreciate all the more that these sports are new to me.  I rode twenty miles on the trainer and my legs were shaking when I was done.  Small pool workouts, while I’m thankful to be able to complete them, wipe me out.  
On the trainer getting in twenty miles

Despite these challenges, I’m reminding myself that shifting to a multi sport focus will help me to prevent injury, avoid burnout and strengthen my body.  Here's to a summer of learning new things and adding some variety to my routine.

How about you Sole Sisters?  How have you pushed your limits lately?  What has been your experience with trying a new sport? 


  1. LOVE that you have found a triathlon to sign up and train for. It was something I really wanted to do this year, but I just couldn't fit it into my schedule. I do love riding my bike on the road. It took me a while and one spill to get used to my clips. I still get nervous about them. I have a nice scar on my leg from my accident a couple of weeks ago. :-)

    1. I don't know if I should be encouraged that you love riding your bike or nervous because of your spill! This weekend I should have the chance to put in some miles on a bike path so I'm looking forward to that. Maybe next year you can do one. It really is nice to have that variety. :)