I’ve been training for 19 weeks for the New York City Triathlon.
|It's been a journey from being cold and sad...|
|To feeling strong and happy! (and warm)|
When I signed up for the triathlon in January, I was hopelessly naïve and had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into. I’ll admit I was even a little over-confident about the whole thing. I had run two marathons already – a triathlon would be easy in comparison.
I was also looking for a new adventure, something to get me out of my comfort zone. I wanted to do something that didn’t just benefit me, but other people who were in real need of help.
I definitely feel like I am about to achieve something bigger than myself this weekend, but I was 100% wrong about thinking the training would be easy. It was really hard.
I don’t say this to elicit sympathy from anyone, but rather to remind myself that training for any race is supposed to be difficult. It requires a little sacrifice, a bit of discipline and a lot of sleep. While I think that having experience in endurance running helped me, it didn’t prepare me much for the swimming and biking portions of the training. I had to work really hard to build up my endurance for both.
I remember the first weekend I had my road bike – I felt like I was flying. My new baby was so shiny and fast. I ended up doing a ton of mileage at a Saturday morning practice, more than I had ever done, and realized about ¾ of the way through that I was dog tired. I slowly made my way back to my apartment after practice, and was convinced that if my couch was a foot further away from my door, I would have collapsed on my floor instead. My right knee ached, and I slept for about 2 hours afterwards. I learned that day to respect the sport, and respect your ability level.
|Showing some love and respect for my bike.|
I did not collapse after this practice I will have you know.
I remember the stretch of weeks when I loathed going to the pool on my own. I would mumble curse words to myself on early Thursday mornings when I had to slip into my tight swimsuit, share a lane with another crazy New Yorker, and blow dry my hair in an insanely hot gym while sweat poured down my face. This SUCKS. I couldn’t find anything positive about my solo swim practices. I wasn’t very good, I didn’t feel myself improving, and I couldn’t shake my frustration.
Then at some point, I started to KIND OF enjoy it. I started passing people at the group swim practices that I attended religiously. I patted myself on the back when I finished a set of long sprints and didn’t feel like dying. I successfully finished an open water swim and didn’t die. I learned that not everything is supposed to come easy or be fun. Sometimes you have to really work at it, and believe that it will pay off in the end.
|I'm smiling! Even though I'm about to swim!|
I remember when I was cursing my body for not cooperating when I was recovering from injury. This was especially frustrating because while I might not be very good at swimming or biking, I felt like I was kind of good at running. I couldn’t do it as much as I wanted to, which I felt would have lifted up my spirits. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to complete the race.
Finally, my injury let up, after some aggressive physical therapy and foam rolling. As I slowly built up my endurance, I savored every step. It felt amazing to be able to do the one sport that I feel most confident about.
Last Tuesday, I finally made it to a group run, which I had avoided all season because it is inconvenient for me to get to (plus, I really enjoy running alone! Not ashamed of it one bit). We were told to do mile repeats, but I just ran at a steady pace because I didn’t want to risk hurting anything. I let people pass me, and focused on my steady breathing. I felt strong, even if I wasn’t going as fast as everyone else.
After practice, I was talking to some fellow teammates, and we were sharing how we felt about the upcoming race. I said how I felt most confident about running, since I have done several races in the past. One girl, whom I had never met before said, “Oh you’ll be fine on the run. You looked so strong out there!” It was such a small comment, but really boosted my confidence. Even if you’re not running as fast as everyone else, if you feel strong, chances are, you’ll look strong to other people too.
|SO PLEASED TO BE RUNNING.|
When I first signed up for this triathlon, I was most nervous about getting to my fundraising goal. I know asking people to donate their hard-earned dollars to my race is a bit of an imposition, but I hoped I would get close enough so I didn’t have to pay for the difference myself and have to live on ramen for months.
I have said before that I am truly amazed by the generosity I’ve been shown in the past few months. And two weeks ago, I surpassed my fundraising minimum. This was a huge part of my goal for this race – to raise enough money that would make a difference for families fighting LLS. Even if I don’t have a great race, I take great pride in knowing that I did something to help others in need. If you supported me in the past few months, whether it was by donating or just listening as I worried about training, thank you. Give yourself a pat on the back because we just did something really awesome together.
So here we are, a week away from my first Olympic Triathlon. After 19 weeks of insanely early Saturday morning practices, countless uncomfortable swim workouts and many moments of questioning my own sanity, I am just days away from putting myself to the test. It has been a crazy journey, but I feel ready for it. Let's go.