Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Triathlon, I Love You

I know I've mentioned this since starting triathlon training a few weeks ago but I am surprised how much I am loving this sport. It makes sense, considering I grew up as a swimmer and have been running for a couple years now. Last summer when I trained for my first triathlon, I wanted to love the sport but truth be told I didn't. I hated biking and was still at war with the pool since quitting swimming. My first triathlon was somewhat of a nightmare due largely to temps well over 100.

I enjoyed the race but felt very intimidated by all of the faster athletes with all of their fancy gear. My second triathlon was my first glimpse into how much I would come to love this sport. I had a plan and despite having a mechanical error that had me sidelined for a few minutes I was able to really push it on the bike and still hammer on the run. I very quickly jumped into a half-assed marathon training cycle that has left me still nervous about training for another marathon.

After I quit swimming I took up running because I wanted something else to do. I had identified as a swimmer for the majority of my life and suddenly I was no longer a swimmer. After watching coverage of the NYC Marathon from my tiny dorm in Pittsburgh I decided I wanted to be a runner. Even though I had always been terrible at running it seemed logical to me at the time and so I started my journey to becoming a runner.

This past spring I trained for the first time for a running race with a true goal in mind. I worked really hard and crushed my goal but something was still missing. I had to really force myself to do a lot of the training and even though I told myself I was loving it I really wasn't. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of things I did love about training but finding the motivation to get out and train every day was more of a struggle than it should have been. And despite running a marathon and five half marathons with my PR being a 1:49 I still didn't feel comfortable calling myself a runner.

I wanted to be a runner but I didn't feel like one. I felt like I didn't love running enough to be a runner. I also didn't think I had the experience or was fast enough. I blamed this on swimming. I was a good swimmer and swam for almost 10 years. I earned my right to be called a swimmer. For a while I accepted that I would never be a runner but rather a person who did running races (yes there is a difference).

Then I started triathlon training. Under Mike's guidance I feel like my training has a purpose and a plan. Between the last few weeks of training and my two first races of the season I feel amazing. I had a breakthrough in the pool and am finally able to enjoy swimming again, and I am loving biking. Last year I dreaded riding and this year I'm practically counting down the days until I can ride again.

I am excited about training every single day and look forward to putting in more, harder work. During this weekend's race was when I noticed the transformation though. I was nervous before the race, but not because I was nervous about failing to meet my goal, but rather because it actually meant something to me. As soon as I got in the water my mind calmed and my body just knew what to do. And on both the bike and the run I couldn't help but think that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I doubted, and still do I must say, my abilities as a runner. With triathlon it's different. I want to be good and I'm not scared about finding out how good I can become. I want to do the work and I believe I am capable of a lot more. I can't quite put into words why but I feel completely at ease calling myself a triathlete. Despite having minimal racing experience both my mind and my body somehow knew what to do on Sunday and I trusted that because it felt so right. I haven't felt this at ease or natural with something since swimming and I am excited to see where it takes me.


  1. I am glad you are discovering where you want to be. It sounds like such a relief settling into your own niche and being happy there.

    Best of luck on your triathlon journeys!

  2. Triathlon is seriously the best of all worlds! Love how much you love it!