Tri tri again

I did a triathlon on Sunday. (I keep wanting to say I ran a triathlon. Well, I did. But I also swam and biked it.) I signed up for it in August, I joined the YMCA in January, and I did six workouts a week during the eight weeks leading up to the race. I woke up early and stayed up late. I ran and biked in the rain and cold and heat. I went for swims at 5:30 in the morning and 9 at night. I braved the male-dominated weight section of the gym (and very much got over my long-standing aversion…and myself). I worked hard. And I did well. I ran (and swam and biked) so as to win. And while I didn’t actually win, or receive any prizes aside from a participatory medal, I sure felt like a winner.

Here's the story.

(All photos courtesy of the wonderful Rip It Events photographers, and my wonderful personal cheering section.)

We began on the pond.

The swim was the most intimidating. After racking my bike and laying out my gear in its proper place, I made my way to the pond to watch the waves of the Olympic distance athletes begin their swim. It was a cool, misty morning, and rain began to lightly fall as swimmers zipped up their wetsuits and tried to steady their nerves. A rainbow peeked out of a cloudy sky. We all watched in silent admiration as Athletes Serving Athletes kicked off the race, a pair of able-bodied athletes towing a disabled young woman in a raft. She beamed and cheered and waved at us, and we at her. (It was just as well I wet my eyes before diving in, right?)

(Disclaimer: I was in a different wave, and I chose a more leisurely entrance than these ladies above did.)

We waded and dove and jostled for spots. I regularly glimpsed the next buoy ahead like I had practiced. I took secret delight in passing a few men. I accidentally kicked a few hands and hit a few feet. I matched the pace of a woman next to me. I just kept swimming. It was wonderful.

Then, I waddled my way out of the pond to the transition area, and that’s when I first encountered my very own cheering section.

Cheering and cheerful.

Nothing like hearing your name and catching sight of familiar faces and personalized neon signs to keep you going as you run through muddy grass on your way to a 14-mile bike ride.

Transitioning and thrilled. (Please note the woman using a cane in front of me. A cane.)​​

The bike ride was a treat. The course was mostly flat and easy to navigate, with just a few turns and obstacles along the way. It felt almost like an average Sunday morning ride, save for the fact that I was dripping wet.

Biking and beaming.

Again I came back to my mom and friends, cheering for me and waving their signs. I was two thirds of the way through, and happy as a clam.

Frolicking and jolly.

We ran through a lovely, shady, paved path through a lush forest. Volunteers manned water stations, and a few especially fit athletes carried on normal conversations on the way. I just pushed on, one step at a time.

Until it came, my moment of glory.

Such great happiness.

Rejoicing with my sweet mom and dear friends who came all the way to cheer me on, neon signs and all. I would be remiss not to give a special thank you to these four, my mom and Sarah and Cari Anne and Thomas. Your cheers and smiles and signs kept me going and brought me such joy.

This is the face of triumph, of joy, of satisfaction. ​​This is the face of a woman who knows that she is loved.

Will I tri tri again? In a heartbeat.




Thanks for subscribing!