My Turn To TRI It!

By Tanya

Isn't it funny how once you gain a new perspective on something your whole attitude towards it can change?

Like when I was first told that people in their right mind run for 26.2 miles and I swore up and down that I would never want to run for 4+ hours! Yet, after watching my husband's cousin conquer her first marathon a spark within me was ignited to know what that would feel like.

I also remember the first time I saw my brother ride a road bicycle and I thought there is no way you'd ever find me with my feet stuck in clips to a skinny wheeled death trap like that.

Or how my whole life I have been grossed out by open bodies of water and have never had the nerve to jump right in and swim with the fishes, among other ungodly things you might find in there.

Needless to say, for me, the idea of a triathlon was never on my wish list, nor was it even on my radar. A couple of years ago all I knew of a Triathlon was the Ironman in Kona. A swim, bike and running race of such extreme distances and conditions that only the most athletically fit or mentally insane would even attempt it. But last summer that all changed.

My Sole Sisters Carissa and Jodi decided to train for a triathlon - Carissa for her first and Jodi for her second. I started to see the triathlon in a whole new light. I learned there are many different distances and courses you can compete on. You can finish an entire Sprint triathlon in only a few hours and some triathlons even have their swimming staged in a pool! As I rooted on my Sole Sisters in their triathlon, the thought popped into my brain that I'd like to TRI it!

My running injury last year brought me to the pool more frequently, and I found that I started to love to swim. My growing confidence in the water prompted me to take on my fear and disgust of open bodies of water by joining Carissa the week before her triathlon on her training swim in Klineline Pond. The day of their triathlon I ran the 10k portion on my own while waiting for Carissa and Jodi to finish the bike. I could tell my legs were on their way to recovery.

The last unknown factor of the triathlon was the bike. I have never been much of a bike rider. The only bike rides I had been on were occasional family rides. I did a few spin classes at the gym and enjoyed them however, I could never find a truly comfortable position and cadence on those bikes.  As a result my back would always end up hurting after class.

I joined Carissa a couple of times on her training rides and could tell there was a big difference in the effort she expended on her road bike as opposed to me on my hybrid. Also, if you know anything about me, you know I am extremely cheap. I knew from researching bicycles a few years ago that they are expensive to buy and maintain. I just wasn't will to fork over the money to buy a quality road bike and all the equipment that goes along with it for something that I may not even enjoy.

So I did what I always do when stuck with conflicting desires. I prayed. First I thanked God for the blessing of healing and the gift of health. That a triathlon was even a possibility for me was a huge answer to prayer. I told God the conflict I felt to continue to challenge myself physically and have new experiences vs. my desire to remain faithful to my family with my time, attention and monetary resources.

My prayers were answered when I was given a road bike free of charge! My mom's friend, who races in triathlons, was getting a new bike and he wanted to "just get rid of the old one." It worked out wonderfully as he is not much bigger than me and the bike fit me really well, so he very generously gave it to me. What a huge blessing!

The first thing I did was call up Carissa and ask for her to show me the ropes on a road bike. I have to admit I was pretty nervous the first couple of times being clipped to my skinny wheeled deathtrap. But after a few tiny falls and a lot of prayers I started to get comfortable and actually began to enjoy it! My bike and I are muy simpatico now. I have taken to calling it KC, after two amazing athletes I know who inspire me, but also because I feel like a Kamikaze Chicken when I ride it!

I am not one to really follow a training schedule but I did read a few triathlon books to get a sense of the types of training I should do. I found that I should be biking about 60% of the time, so I have tried to get out and bike as much as possible. This week I joined my sole sister Jodi for a fun long ride out through the countryside in Newberg Oregon. It was our first ride together and we had a great time! There is no better way to catch up with a friend than during a good sweaty two hour exercise session!

I am still swimming and core training two days a week as well as going on one 10k run. But now I am also going on one long ride, and one ride/run weekly. Through it all my body has done really well. I never feel exhausted after a hard training session and my body has not been getting tight and locking up. I think it likes changing it up between the three disciplines.

I am not sure at this time which triathlon I'll do this summer. My plan for now is to continue to tri train with shorter but stronger runs, getting on the bike as much as possible, and getting out of my comfort zone on open water swims so I'll be ready if and when one fits my schedule.

Pretty amazing stuff from a girl who once found it hard to run three miles, but now finds it hard to run anything less. I have found that patience and perspective go hand in hand. We are often much more capable than we give ourselves credit for, it just takes the right time and situation for us to realize it.
Its all about having an open mind and the courage to try new things!

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