Tri, Tri Again

Title 9Until I competed in a triathlon last year, doing so had been on my Bucket List for at least eight years. The notion got into my head when I befriended some very likable, totally approachable and completely unassuming triathletes while living in the DC-area.

I was at a cocktail party when I got talking to one of these friends—who had worked her way up the ranks into the Iron-Woman category—about what it took to train for something like a triathlon. I commented on how impressed I was and how I felt that I could never achieve those sort of distances in any single event, let alone all three (swimming, biking, running) together.

This is when my friend told me about a beautiful, far more manageable version of an ITU Long triathlon called the Sprint.

The Sprint tri is a perfect triathlon for newbies (or great maintenance for the seasoned triathlete). With only a half-mile swim, 10-12 mi bike ride and 5K run, it is a shorter iteration of it’s bigger siblings the Olympic, Long, Half (Ironman) and Full (Ironman).

I left the party doe-eyed and inspired. Surely this was something I could set as a goal and accomplish.

A year later I had my first baby. I didn’t put on that much baby-weight but I didn’t lose any either. I was determined that this should be the occasion and motivation to train for a sprint triathlon. I even went as far as setting my New Year’s resolution to compete in a Sprint triathlon in 2007. I didn’t. Not in ’07, ’08, ’09, or 2010 either.

My next great push of inspiration came when I met a fellow mom of two at my local YMCA. She was sporty, outdoorsy, hip and nice. She had also just competed in a Sprint triathlon!

This was it. She encouraged me to join an advanced swim class with her and in the class I met several other triathletes, all who were maintaining their swim training and streamlining their strokes in this class. I got so jazzed up by the class I even wrote about it here.

By the end of the swim class, in June of 2011, I felt invigorated, fit and ready to tri. The Title 9 Sprint Triathlon my tri-mommy-friend had competed in the year before was just two towns away and had the added benefit of being women-only. A women-only race is an appealing attribute for a Newby triathlete because it removes the likelihood of getting swum over, pushed aside or clobbered by our more aggressive and bulky male counterparts.

I was committed to entering the race but I dragged my feet and didn’t get on-line to register until late June and by then, the early September race was already full, it’s wait-list closed…I was crushed.

Hoping I wouldn’t be too discouraged and lose my drive, my friend offered to take me out to Hopkinton State Park, where the race is held, and go through the course with me so I could get a sense of what the race felt like and be motivated to do it the following year. We did the swim and bike courses but I pooped out during the 5k run. Still, I pooped out by choice and knew if I were competing in the actual race, I would push myself to finish.

Over the next year, I fell out of touch with my tri-mommy-friend but she had lead me to the starting line and I was totally committed to entering and finishing Title 9. In the fall I made a new mommy-pal and a life-long friendship started with Heather Kelly (whom I’ve mentioned many times in this blog, like here and here). It turns out, our friendship was destined to be a symbiotic relationship: she’d help launch and encourage my writing career, and in return, I’d motivate and encourage her athletic pursuits.

Together we did two seasons of the advanced coaching swim class at the Y, did intermittent boot camp classes and pushed each other to get in better all-around shape. By early spring 2012, we were determined to register for that fall’s Title 9 Triathlon, held September 9th. We rallied other interested members and together formed a newby tri-training class, coached by one of the personal trainers at the Y.

Twice a week, from June to August, we met for an hour-and-a-half to do sprints, go for long distance bike rides, lift weights and prepare ourselves for a triathlon. In addition, Heather and I also got up at least one morning a week (typically at 5:30) and went for a swim, a ride or a run…sometimes two out of three.

No matter what the distances of your first race, you’re bound to feel nervous about it until you’ve completed it. Looking back, I am impressed by how much we trained, how prepared we were and how well we did. My goal was simple: just finish the race. Beyond that, I hoped I would finish with dignity; secretly, I hoped I could finish it in 1 hour, 45 minutes.

I did it in 1:30. I was over the moon…physically wiped but mentally energized. Heather did even better, 1:26.

And so we celebrated with the rest of the 670 athletes that competed in the race, received complimentary pulled pork sandwiches, table massages, and apparel, enjoyed numerous freebies from race sponsors and reveled in the wonderful atmosphere that constitutes a Max Performance race.

At the end of it all, I loaded up my bike, got into my car and drove away feeling utterly satisfied that I had set out, accomplished and even surpassed my long-standing Bucket List goal: Triathlon, CHECK!


Though I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the Title 9 Tri and had a leaner, better trained and more athletic physique to show for it, I had no intention of competing in it again…Not so for Heather.

Much against my better judgement (and my deep desire to laze away summer in a Spanxx issued black swimsuit), I have yet again been talked into registering in, training for and counting down the days until  this year’s race on September 8th.

So, despite copious amounts of beer consumed during our three-week European vacation (which I am egregiously behind on blogging about), I’m the other crazy woman you may have seen in the Hibiscus-patterned tri-suit swimming out to the red buoy at Farm Pond every week from Late-July until September…6AM sharp.

Wish us luck on September 8th…Go Team Hibiscus!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. slightlywonky
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 18:21:31

    WOO HOO!!! You go girl! Even though your training hasn’t been as rigorous as it was before, I’m sure that you’ll do great and have a fun time. I admire your discipline and focus!


    • growingmuses
      Aug 20, 2013 @ 22:14:43

      Thanks Z, but I’m beginning to wonder about the discipline and focus. I think I’ll clock a much slower time this year…I’ve hardly been swimming at all. At least I can find solace in knowing I can complete the race, even if not admirably. They are fun to do and goodness only knows what shape I’d be in if I didn’t have SOMETHING to train for!


  2. Anna Staniszewski
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 10:10:30

    I still think you guys are crazy, but I’m totally inspired by your drive! 🙂


  3. Elizabeth Peltz
    Aug 29, 2013 @ 12:12:15

    Ha, ha… love this! Way to go for signing up for #2… and welcome to the, “I have to be signed up for SOMETHING” club! Love to you and the family!


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