I decided to start training to compete in a triathlon was for a very typical reason – to make myself exercise in order to lose weight. Very cliché, right?
Over time, I learned that I needed structure and a goal in order to exercise consistently. I grew tired of going to the gym and methodically circling the elliptical or taking another sweaty spin class – bore. The sessions served no purpose. They were just a means to an end. Hey, work out for 45 minutes because … you should.
Back in 2009 the ad agency I worked at offered to pay for our entry into a local 10K race, the Monument Avenue 10K. On a whim, I signed up. The YMCA offered a training team for this race, and I figured what better way to be kept accountable, than to join a training team.
It was torture.
To me, running was like pulling a Band-Aid or getting a strep test at the doctor’s office… painful, annoying and anxiety-ridden. My lungs burned. My legs felt heavy. My fat jiggled with every step. Hills were my enemy. I was slow. However, I was able to complete the race and that felt pretty darn good.
At one of the pre-race expos two years later, I saw a bunch of local triathlon clubs and team booths. It piqued my interest. I used to swim in the summers as a kid and did pretty well. I used to LOVE riding my bike around the neighborhood as a kid. Maybe training for a triathlon would be JUST the ticket given my love-hate relationship with running.
That summer, I bought a cheap hybrid bike and signed up with a local triathlon club, Endorphin Fitness. I contemplated doing a free online training program; however, I knew nothing about triathlons and really, riding a legit road bike. I needed help and some coaching!
Long story, short – I was hooked. I never lost any weight, but it was incredibly fun while being completely intimidating at the same time. That whole summer, I kept thinking that I would never be in good enough shape to complete a sprint triathlon, but I did! I raced in the Pink Power Triathlon – a perfect race for first timers. It was a blast. I was a TRI-ATH-A-LETE (as local announcer likes to say to first timers who finish the race). What an accomplishment. I had SO much anxiety about getting through the race and when I was finished, all I could think about is how I want to carve off minutes from my time in the next one.
Mounting my trusty hybrid bike
Training for and completing that race gave me a renewed personal goal and purpose, for which I’m incredibly thankful.