So here I am, a die-hard runner, relating the story of my first triathlon to an audience of ardent bicyclists. The irony of this will become apparent soon enough. First, a bit of background: Team in Training, is an organization that recruits people to train for and compete in endurance sporting events such as marathons, century rides, and triathlons all over the world. In exchange, the athlete has to raise a minimum amount of money to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. When I heard about this group, and received an invitation to their informational session, the timing was perfect. At the time I was exclusively a runner, running 25-30 miles per week. I had reached a point in my workouts where I wanted to push myself. However, back in the recesses of my mind, there lurked an urge to do a triathlon, but I never took it seriously because I figured
- there is no way I would be able to do a triathlon - only real athletes can do something like that, and
- telling people that I want to do it would result in some major ego-crushing laughter.
- Added to that, the last time I swam a lap (and it was only 1 lap) was in 1991.
- Even worse, I had not been on a bicycle since then either - both activities happened during the same vacation, and not once since then.
- I don't even own a bicycle.
- Running was my only strength
- The other two sports, I would essentially have to re-learn almost from scratch.
So, when the opportunity presented itself to not just do a triathlon, but to have a coach, make new friends to train with, and raise money for a good cause, I knew I would be crazy NOT to do it - everybody wins.
My induction into Triathlon training
I soon learned that the triathlon is not an inexpensive sport. As a runner, all you really need are some good running shoes, and comfortable weather-appropriate clothes. We runners are low-maintenance. On the other hand, bicyclists -- and swimmers to some extent, have some serious accessorizing issues. For example, when it comes to the type of bike you use for any given type of riding, the need to keep up with the Jonse's (or should I say, the Armstrong's) is all consuming. I did not learn this until long after I was assured that it really is ok to use a mountain bike for a tri even though the bike leg is all on road. So, with that blessing (right!), I proceeded to sign for this endeavor secure in the knowledge that I would be able to use my husband's ten year old mountain bike, and do spectacularly well. I mean really, I'm a runner. I have strong legs and good aerobic capacity. If I don't pass out from boredom first, I can go well over an hour on a stationary bike, on high settings and pre-programmed hill workouts. Biking is easy, you get to sit down the whole time, what's the worry? Go ahead, you can laugh now...and when you are finished, come back and I'll continue...