How I Became a Triathlete (Temporarily)

The journey began a little over a year ago when a friend asked me if I wanted to sign up for a sprint distance triathlon. “Sure,” I replied without giving it any thought. I had just started racing again and was having so much fun. I think I jumped into this challenge without thinking. I had never swum competitively before.  I had a bike, but hadn’t ridden it in years. However, I wasn’t phased by these weaknesses. In fact, I welcomed this challenge. I enjoyed learning new terminology like brick workouts, bonking, sports gels, etc.  Little did I know what I would be doing a year later.

After training on my own and with my friend for a few months, we were ready to participate in the sprint distance triathlon. We decided to do a practice triathlon before the actual event. I was very nervous. I knew I could complete the sports, but what about the transitions? I had never seen a triathlon. I didn’t know anyone who did triathlon. How did it all work? I began losing sleep thinking about how I would transition. Yeah, I get a little anxious at times.

The week of the practice triathlon came and I was beyond nervous. What if I got a flat tire? I didn’t know how to change it. So, I begged my friend to ride with me and in exchange, I would run with him. This seemed to ease my anxiety. Needless to say, the practice sprint distance triathlon went very well. And, so did my real  first sprint distance triathlon.

After the triathlon, I returned to running and set a goal to run a few ½ marathons. However, something in the back of my head told me to keep cross training. It wasn’t until winter that I really had a clear idea of what my next challenge would be. I had joined the El Dorado Hill’s Triathlon Club and perhaps that was what gave me the confidence to sign up for the ½ ironman. Again, I had no idea what I was getting into.

I didn’t realize that I would be going on 90 mile rides, or riding up hills I can barely drive up. And, I didn’t know that we would be swimming for an hour at a time in a river that I had only kayaked in before. Of course, I was always happy to run no matter what the distance was. I am still amazed at what our bodies can do when they are properly trained.

I spent the next 6 months learning about different nutrition products: gels, sports drinks with sugar, sports drinks without sugar, different bars, and endurolytes. My main goal was to keep it as natural as I could while giving me the nutrition I needed. As it was, I was watching my body transform as it lost body fat and gained muscle.

After finishing 1 sprint triathlon and 2  half Ironmans, I decided to return to running.  I would like to continue doing triathlons one day.  In fact, I still would love to complete a full Ironman.  I know that down the road I‘ll have more time to dedicate to triathlon once again.

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