Edited to add: I started writing this post early in June.....good thing I don't put everything off quite this long. So finally, here's the saga:
I like to keep myself in pretty good shape. I eat well, exercise regularly, like to try new things like kickboxing, but I'm no athlete. So then why, last Saturday morning (June 6th) at 6:30 am, was I pushing my bike along the path to the park where I was registered for a sprint triathlon? Yes, that's right - triathlon.
Now if you've been reading my sporadic blog for umpteen years, you might remember that I did a half marathon back in 2010 with the Princess. Setting that goal for myself and achieving it with her at my side was a monumental accomplishment for me. But I found out that I really don't like running and, despite my best intentions, really didn't keep up any sort of a running program after that. I do normal stuff like walk and work out at the gym with weights (and tried kickboxing last spring!) but wasn't on any sort of specific training program during the last few years.
We built a new house on the shores of beautiful Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley, WA and moved into it last summer.
At this point, we spend winters in Palm Desert, CA and the summers here. Shortly after we arrived last summer, we observed a triathlon that was held here at our lake. The organizer was a woman I met at the gym, so way back then I decided that I might want to participate in the event this year. After all, I swam in the lake most days during the summer, walked around the lake multiple times a week, and would just have to get my old lady bike dusted off and I'd be set.
I planned for this all year. In addition to my gym class, I ran, biked (a little), swam and thought about the triathlon. I read (no, I obsessively studied) a book written by a chubby woman non-athlete (her description) who progressed from no exercise to a sprint triathlon to eventually ironman distance. (Note: I will not be doing that.)
Long story short, about a week after we ended our road trip home from CA, I was up early and walking to the park to start the event. I had purchased some of the gear but by no means all of it. I didn't want to look like I expected to do well with the tri suit and fancy bike, etc. This was just an experiment for me. There were about 400 people there this year, as the event had grown to include not only my sprint tri, but an Olympic distance one and also various distances of runs; 5K, 10K and half marathon. My SIL, who regularly runs marathons, decided to come out and do the 1/2. It was great to have her here for the night and for support. My sis and DH were along as support staff and photographers. We had a great crew!
Leaving our house to go to the park. After reading descriptions of most triathlons, being able to walk to the venue in 5 minutes was much appreciated.
My race number was 1. I think I must have registered first...don't know how that happened.
SIL left before me on the half marathon. She's incredible; had run a full marathon a couple weeks before and didn't look tired at all when she was done with the half.
Getting ready to swim. Notice all the fancy-pants outfits and wetsuits. The water really isn't that cold!
Embarking on the bike ride. At least I didn't have a basket on my bike...it did look totally out of place amongst all the racing bikes.
You have to walk your bike to the finish line.
Done! I was happy to see the end.
Celebrating with our (tiny) medals. SIL won her age group and I got second in mine. Very handy to be older than most of the competitors! We added champagne to our celebration when we got home.
Here's the paradise where we live from the end of the lake. We can't see the mountain (Mt. Rainier) from our house. Photo credit to sis.
I am very proud of myself for setting this new goal and accomplishing it. Despite all of my training, I had a lot of trouble breathing during the swim and run portions, which worried me and slowed me down quite a bit. I think it's turning out to be a vocal chord disfunction, but why it just turned up during the race and wouldn't go away is beyond me. Even with that really bothering my running, I never considered not finishing. It was a beautiful morning and my lovely SIL walked/ran the last mile or so with me even after finishing her 13.1.
I'm still swimming most days, a 1/2 mile or so and planning to work up to a mile soon. Next year we might put together some relay teams, or I might do an individual race again. The fact that this one is fairly low key and unofficial makes it just a good time.
On to the next thing!
Triathlon info: The sprint triathlon is the shortest; the one I did included a 1/4 mile swim, a 14.3 mile bike ride, and a 5.5K (3.47 mile) run. The Olympic distance involved a 0.93 mile swim, 26.04 mile bike ride, and a 10K (6.2 mile) run. If you want to do more, there's the 1/2 ironman (about 70 total miles) and the full ironman, which seems totally crazy to me at about 2.5 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and then a full marathon (26.2 miles). I'm sure there are ultra- type things if you really want to torture yourself, but that's not my idea of a good time.