Back in 2011, I decided that I should start doing triathlons. Nevermind that I had just had a baby in February and was slowly adjusting to that new reality. I had to add in even more challenge and signed up for my first sprint distance event for that July. I chose the SeaFair triathlon since a co-worker at the time said it was a good course and pretty friendly atmosphere. The sprint course is a half mile swim, 12 mile bike and 5K (3.1 mile) run. I worked in some training in the evenings (timing my workouts in between nursing sessions) and my main goal was to simply finish the event. It felt good to have a goal and to get some time back to myself back in the days when my baby had constant needs. I still remember the first time I went swimming while Nick carried Jonas around the neighborhood in a carrier -- I would look up after every lap just to make sure that Nick hadn't brought a screaming baby back to me.
The SeaFair Triathlon was indeed a great event (mostly flat with a few killer hills for good measure, an opportunity to bike across the I-90 bridge in the express lanes, mostly friendly group of people getting up very early to push their bodies a little) and this year was my fourth year participating. Except this year I decided to step it up a little and do the Olympic Challenge course, which is almost double the Sprint course (1 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 10K run).
For some people, I'm sure the idea of swimming then biking then running sounds like too much to tackle at once, but here is why I really like doing multisport events.
- Just as you're getting bored/fatigued/tired of drinking lake water, you find yourself finishing one sport and on the next.
- People of all shapes/ages/abilities do triathlons. I fancy myself pretty fit until I get out there and get smoked by a muscular 65 year-old lady. It makes me strive to be stronger and work harder.
- It gets me out of the winter doldrums and into training mode around March and motivates me to exercise as much as I can fit in to my day.
- I like that Jonas gets to see me work hard for something and challenge myself physically.
Now for a little recap of the past 4 years:
2011 -- Sprint
Six month old baby, not yet sleeping through the night and nursing almost exclusively -- what was I thinking? Excited to survive my first event and not have my boobs explode from being engorged.
Finished in 1 hour 55 minutes. 541 overall place.
2012 -- Sprint
No longer nursing and closer to my pre-partum self. Jonas is wondering why mommy has a strange cap on her head.
Finished in 1 hour 44 minues. 526 overall place.
2013 - Sprint
Lighter, stronger, more rested. Jonas gets a kick out of my wetsuit.
Finished in 1 hour 41 minutes -- 487 overall.
2014 - Olympic
Not quite sure if I was in over my head or not. Jonas didn't make it out to the course this year and I missed seeing him and having him cheer me on. But I was happy to have him away for the rest of the day so I could rest and recuperate.
Finished in 3 hours 20 minutes -- 346 of 401 finishers.
This year the swim felt the hardest for me as I struggled to get into a good rhythm. I trained the most on the running, since 6 miles is a long distance for me. Overall I felt pretty well prepared (although the morning of, I'm sure everyone feels like they could have trained more) for the day.
I would encourage anyone I know to try out a triathlon at least once in their life. My goal for next year is to do the Olympic in under 3 hours. I own a wetsuit now, so I'm into this triathlon thing for the next five years, al least.