I am an athlete. I’ve always been an athlete. So my need to be active (and competitive) as an adult isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows me.
In 2011 I was introduced to something insane… something absurd…. something for only the mentally twisted… I was introduced to the sport of Triathlon.
Some people take on one sport as an adult. Maybe softball, kickbal, Pilates/Yoga/Crossfit… but the truly self destructive and insane active adults work three sports into one by swimming, cycling and running. That means a lot of baggage… literally and figuratively. Have you ever tried traveling with a Bike through LAX?!?! No Bueno
I spend most of my time traveling for work. I attend meetings, events and contract work all across the United States and abroad. And as I got into my late 20’s quickly realized that fast food and social evenings out on the Road will hit you faster than the “Freshmen 15.” I’m pretty sure the mission statement of my 26th year on this planet was “No Reeces Left Behind.” Honestly, I went to Disney with two of my cousins and we took our picture with Stitch and that photo made me realize I was getting… “fluffy.” (But standing next to costumed characters does make my head look small, so that was a win) So I made the choice to bring fitness and a healthy lifestyle back to the forefront of my daily routine… and I signed up to do a Triathlon (without even owning a bike).
This decision made me feel the pressure to perform and not just participate in the race, but to finish! And what better accountability – than Social Accountablilty! I told myself to post about what I was doing and share my progress. Why? So people would constantly ask me how I’m training or how the conditioning is going. And guess what, it worked! I had people constantly asking me when my race was, people offering to run/ride/swim with me and I even got a great deal of free nutrition and conditioning from friends with experience. Still today, I have friends and co-workers that always challenge and encourage me to workout when we see eachother!
So as I traveled by myself from hotel to hotel and city to city I would wake up early to swim, put in time on the stationary bike or get in a few miles on the treadmill before bed. I would select hotels based on the size of their pools or quality of their gym. And I continued to post about it and felt the warmth and support of community of people that wanted me to succeed! Fast forward to my first race, a Spirit Triathlon – and I got 2nd place! This went on record as the first time I was ever content with a 2nd place outcome in my life!
So on an adrenaline rush and overinflated ego from my podium finish – I signed up for NOT the next level race (a brisk Olympic Triathlon)but a Half IRONMAN #LostMyDamnMind
For those of you who don’t speak “Tri” -Race distances go from Sprint, Olympic, International, Half IRONMAN, IRONMAN and anything past IRONMAN is ******* crazy. You can see all of the specific distances on Total Triathlon (I’m not an expert and honestly – I only run races with impressive finisher medals).
This insane decision helped me in a lot of ways.
It helped me create “ME TIME.” Even when I would spend weeks on the road for work. It forced me to wake up earlier and make time to sleep and eat better because I needed my body to perform. It also helped me to put more thought and brainstorming into professional and personal decisions. It is illegal to wear headphones or listen to music during most triathlons for safety reasons, so I started to train without music which gave my mind time to really focus on what was going on that day. And now, when I really want to get creative or open my mind to new ideas the process starts with my running shoes – or a speedo, depending on the water temperature. And as someone whose energy level is often compared to the Energizer Bunny, this gave me a venue to burn off (some of that) energy!
Fast forward four years from my 1st Triathlon, I’ve competed in various sprint races and three IRONMAN 70.3 races (yup, that’s 70.3 miles of pure craziness). And since I only wear my tri-kit (the ridiculous race outfit) when I race, I wear the same kit in every race – hence the same wardrobe in every photo (it gets worn aboouuttt once a year). No one warns you before the tri-life that your shorts get shorter, swim suites get tighter and your daily schedule changes in fear of adding time to your finishing time.
And now I’ve signed back up for IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside once again!
So after a grueling and brutal travel schedule of back to back to back to back to back to back event weekends, I’m going to drive down to San Diego on my first Saturday off and Swim 1.2 miles in the ocean, Bike 56 miles and then Run 13.1 miles on April 1st…. for the fun of it!
So feel free to follow my upcoming Triathlon posts about how I’m prepping for the upcoming race, success and horror stories from my past races and anything else Triathlon related!