Monday, August 26, 2013

Why I'm Trying a Try-A-Tri

In five days I'll be trying my first, "Try-a-Tri" which is basically a mini triathlon. I'm feeling pretty nervous but also pretty excited to attempt this challenge. I was first introduced to the idea a few years ago by a friend who had tried one out and I thought, "I wonder if I could do that?" For any sort of endurance athlete the distances are embarrassingly short, but for this endurance-challenged girl it would sure be a challenge. So here's why I've decided to do it...

1. A Fitness Goal

Staying in shape has always been important to me, and since our new gym opened a year and a half ago I've been back on the workout train fairly consistently. But aside from weight gain prevention I didn't really have any goals. I was in the same cardio and weight routine and was getting bored. Triathlons involve swimming, biking and running so this was a good chance to mix it up. For running I decided to use a Couch to 5K app on my phone. I have always been a terrible runner in any distance farther than about 100 metres. Kind of limiting. In June I did a 5K race where I ran 5 minutes and walked one. Now I can run about 4K without stopping. For most runners that's a warm-up but for me that's a big deal. For swimming I decided to enroll in the Masters program at the gym (see my previous post on that) which I did for 5 weeks. It was humbling as I was by far the slowest and worst swimmer but everyone was so kind and encouraging and I do think it helped build my stamina. It's definitely something I will continue if I get addicted to this! And biking... well biking I haven't trained much for to be honest. I have no trouble biking 10K but I'm just slow at it, largely because I don't have a road bike. But I'm not making that huge investment for a small race like this, so slow I will be! For most of my training I've had to wake up early and although I'm still a night owl at heart and still love my sleep ins, it's ironic that the summer months are when I actually became the morning person I've always wanted!  I haven't lost any weight, in fact I've gained a few pounds (muscle I hope?) but no doubt, at least endurance-wise I'm in the best shape I've been in.

2. Follow Through

I've been thinking about doing this race for a few years and back in January I had decided that this was going to be the year. I found a race in June I wanted to do and started training. But then my cousin decided to get married that day so the race was off the table and I stopped training. It was my out. I admittedly have a problem with follow-through in certain areas of life. I can't tell you how many volunteer information meetings I've been to that I never led to volunteering. I'm also great at making grandiose plans for myself that never become more than just plans. I knew there were other races later in the summer, and while I talked about it a lot, I never signed up...until a month or so ago. I had been training half-heartedly "just in case" until then but getting the credit card out was the kick in the pants I needed.

3. Practicing Doing Hard Things

This may sound like a weird one. Life is hard enough right? Heck, I have twin toddlers! But relatively speaking I've had a pretty cushy life. I've been realizing more and more how selfish I can be and that I am addicted to comfort. There are some potentially opportunities in the future that I could take and the one main reason that would hold me back is that they are HARD. But hard doesn't mean bad and we all know it's often those challenging things that help us grow into better people. And some hard things just need to get done. Doing a Try-A-Tri is just on a much smaller scale but the principle is the same. All three of the sports are difficult for me. Getting up early is not my natural instinct. The competitor in me doesn't like to do things that I obviously won't excel at. But as minor as they are in the grand scheme of life, they've become a discipline for me, moving me in the right direction away from the easy and the comfortable.

J and I were watching the Ironman World Championships from last year on TV last night. For those of you who don't know what an Ironman is, it's a crazy long triathlon. The run itself is a full marathon and generally takes people all day to complete. But as we watched people cross the finish line I got emotional as the announcer told each of them, "You are an Ironman!", a goal they had likely put countless hours of blood, sweat and tears towards. We joked that hopefully someone will announce to me, "Congratulations, you have tried a tri" as I cross the finish line on Saturday.

My goals are simple: Cross the finish line, don't be last and be proud of myself despite how it goes. It will be hard. Despite my training I have never done all three sports together in the distances I will do them for the race. I'm hoping my good friend adrenaline and some cheers from family and friends help me out! People tell me this is a very addicting sport. I'm curious if I'll want to do more after this or if I'll pat myself on the back and be thankful it's over forever. I guess the answer is only a few days away!

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