Over a year ago my brother said to my sister and me, "Why don't we all do a triathlon?"
Huh??? Triathlon? No way. Sure I run. But I don't bike. I don't swim. Well, at least not very well on either account. Plus who has the resources for that kind of training? Money. Time. A pool. Not me. It was a quick and easy "No way" from me. There was no pressure because he quickly backed out too.
But dang him. He planted a seed. Why DON'T we do a triathlon? I turned to my favorite athletic sounding board, my Facebook runners' group. Many of them were triathletes AND moms AND trusted friends. They would be the best sources for sound advice.
One of them (Megan) said, "Hey, if you're serious about getting into the tri world there's this great event called Triathamom that's actually going on next week and they're looking for volunteers. You can see what triathlons are all about without the pressure to do one. Plus, if you volunteer you get a free entry next year!" Or something like that.
|Volunteering at Triathamom 2013|
|My friend Katie participated in Triathamom 2013 and 2014. She is awesome!|
Swimming was the most terrifying aspect of a triathlon for me. I could "swim" but was putting out a lot of energy without getting much in return. Back in April I scheduled swim lessons with one of the gals from my running group. Sara teaches swim lessons at one of the local rec centers. Most of her students are little kids but she gladly took me on. This was one of the best moves I could have made in preparing for the triathlon!
After only two lessons I felt ready to practice what I had learned and perfect my technique. I have spent the last several months going to the rec center pool at least twice a week to swim laps. This was terrifying at first. I have always been afraid of the gym and just felt like I didn't belong. I figured if I was brave enough to get swim lessons as an adult I could be brave enough to finally get a real gym membership. It was really hard dropping Cee and Elle off at the gym daycare. I've never left them in the care of strangers like that and when Cee decided she didn't like day care and started freaking out every time I would drop her off it only made it harder. She finally likes it now. I still feel a little out of place but I'm getting so much more comfortable at being in the gym IN A SWIMSUIT no less. And I am such a better swimmer now! A lady even stopped me in the lane the other week and asked how long I had been swimming. When I told her a couple of months she was very surprised and complimented me on my form. Totally made my day!
After I got better at swimming and biking, I began to throw a few brick workouts in to prepare for transitioning between activities. I would bike 10 or so miles and immediately run a mile or so after. I had heard that moving right from biking to running is a weird transition and it's absolutely true. Your legs can feel very "stumpy" after pedaling for so long. A couple of days I set up mini-tri practices for myself. I would bike up to the gym, swim, bike back home, and then run a couple of times around the block. Or I would drive up to the gym and start with swimming, then bike, then run. After a few of those I felt pretty confident that I was ready for a full-fledged triathlon.
I didn't have a lot of money to spend on new equipment so I just planned to use my mountain bike for the biking portion. I was nervous about running in my swim suit so I practiced a couple of times in some spandex shorts and a sports bra. It worked so I skipped out on buying an official tri suit or shorts. For the biking and running stretches I just stuck with my good old running shoes. Between my frugality and my volunteering for a free spot the year before this race cost me nothing.
Part 2: Race day details.