So many people have asked me why I participate in the sport of triathlon - how I got started - what compels me to continue year after year - am I crazy... The funny thing is when some of them try it out, they are usually hooked on it as much as I am. Triathlon is my drug of choice.
How did I get started in triathlon? Well, one day at work I overhead two women talking about how one of them wanted to start a relay triathlon team. She was a biker, she knew a runner, but they were having a really difficult time finding a swimmer. Hmmmm, I thought to myself, I'm a swimmer. I eavesdropped a bit more and then opened my mouth to volunteer. And that is how it began. We started out at the sprint level and did two all female races in that first year. We had so much fun that the next year we expanded and did more races, and then we kept doing them year after year. We eventually started competing in International/Olympic distance races and then moved on to 1/2 Iron distance races. We have yet to do an Iron Man relay - I hope that one day we will do one, just for the goal and subsequent accomplishment of it.
I moved into the solo competitions gradually. I started out doing a relay where I did the swim and bike and someone else ran for me. Feeling pretty confident that I could ride a bike, even though I hadn't ridden one since I was a teen - I registered for the race. I borrowed a friend's bike and hit the road hoping to be able to complete 12 miles. After 7 miles I realized that I must have lost my mind and that this was not for me in any way. However, I had already registered for the race, so tri I must. I kept at it and competed in the race and did okay. I was even a little disappointed that I didn't do the whole race solo. I could have easily walked the 3 miles if necessary. And so I was motivated to do the whole race the following year.
I began running - something that I had never been able to do - in March of last year. I couldn't even run to the end of my very short driveway. I started slow and built and persevered in a way that I don't think I ever had in my life. Once I knew that I could run at least one mile, I registered for the race. Now I had a goal. I finished the race, didn't embarrass the family, and felt a feeling of accomplishment like I had never felt in my whole life. I ended up doing two solo races that year (last year in fact). All the while, I was still competing with my tri relay team.
Now as I go forward toward my new goal of a solo Olympic distance race and I wonder, once again, if I have lost my mind, I am confident that at a minimum I can stagger across that finish line. And who knows - I may even plan to do it again?