Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why Bother Tri-ing?

You're doing what? That's the usual response I get to training for running races, marathons etc.
Why? I thought you were a runner? Is a response when bringing up anything triathlon related.
Are you a Triathlete? Erm. Um. Trying to Tri. Is the best I can usually muster up right now. 
You don't like running anymore? Very common response when I say I am sipping the triathlon kool-aid
Oh, your Fiance is a triathlete, that explains it: No, actually I wanted to do this before we even met. But yes it has influenced me by being with him. 

I've had a lot of these, especially in the last few months as training for Triathlons has become a bigger part of my life.

Yesterday alone, I was asked 3 times. "Are you a triathlete?"
At the bike store, buying shoes so I can clip in (eeek). I ended up choosing tri-shoes over road shoes after 15 minutes of banter between myself and the guy regarding what would be best for me. 

At the pool, after asking to share a lane with someone. I said I swim slow but I stay to my side, he asked if I was a swimmer and I said "not really", which brings the "are you a triathlete?"

I ran from the JCC(where I swim) on the Canal Path last night, when getting back to my car someone said "didn't I see you swimming inside before, and now running, are you a triathlete or something?"

I mentioned after my first triathlon, that I didn't feel comfortable calling myself a triathlete yet. I still don't, but the more I train for them the closer I get to feeling like one. I'm on the journey to being a triathlete, a runner in disguise if you will. 

So WHY did I decide to make this "transition"?

A little back tracking here, the idea was first planted in my head 2 summers ago. I'm not really sure what it was, but I said "I'm going to do a 70.3", regardless of the fact that I didn't own a road bike, I had never raced a swim or bike, and I had NO background whatsoever to do this stuff. Back then I was in an unhealthy relationship, I used running and training as an escape. The worse the relationship got, the more I ran and worked out. Needless to say when I looked into a 70.3 I picked one out of state. Exercise was my escape, and I knew triathlon training would take up even more time so it seemed like the right thing for me. Thanks to life in general I never did that triathlon, but I did get out of that relationship and found myself in a much better place in life. But putting myself in better life scenarios, I found healthy reasons to run more, and to considering Tri-ing (Not just to use it as an escape).

A New Challenge
Besides using training as an escape, the thought of 70.3 was that it was a new challenge for me. After my first marathon, I didn't feel connected to distance running and wasn't sure it was for me. I struggled with pushing myself. I did my first marathon in the spring, and then that summer I hit my 5k goal of going under 20. The goals were being met faster than I was setting them. So I had to think bigger. I've always loved challenging myself, pushing my limits, and setting goals so this was a good way to really push myself. After getting my BQ this past fall, I knew that I needed to push myself further and that meant taking on something bigger. So in December, I registered for Musselman. I registered without owning a real road bike yet, without ever doing a shorter tri, without a ton of swim or serious cycling experience. The funny thing is though, I wasn't scared, I was excited for a new goal and something big to work for. 

A Couple Thing
My Fiance IS a triathlete (countless Sprint/Oly's, a few 70.3 and even IMLP[which he did with a separated shoulder]), and YES that has fueled my desire to Tri but it isn't the reasoning it all began. His experience and his support has been more than I could have ever asked for. So yes, he has been a driving force behind my running AND my attempts to tri. He supports me in anything I do, and I know that would be the case even if I wasn't tri-ing.

John and I have tossed the idea around a lot that for our honeymoon next year we would like to do IM Cozumel. Training for Tri's is something that we can do together, although that is not the reason I chose to do one, it definitely provides added benefit. When we started dating we ran together a lot, and it honestly helped our relationship grow as fast as it did. Now we can ride our bikes together, go to the pool, and just generally get more time with each other while doing things we love. We both hold pretty busy schedules, so if we can spend time together AND get our workouts in I call that multi-tasking in it's best form. 

I'm Still a Runner
Wanting to Tri has NOTHING to do with not loving running anymore, or not wanting to do strictly running races. If anything my love and passion for running has strengthened through tri-training. By spreading my training out among the different disciplines it makes me enjoy my time running more. Now more than ever I look forward to lacing up my Saucony's and hitting the road with nothing but myself (no bike, no gear). I am learning to appreciate the other disciplines more, but by the time the last few miles on the bike are approaching, I can't help but smiling knowing that shortly I get to do MY thing. 

There are less than 4 weeks until my first 70.3, and with each passing day I feel better about it. Some days I feel stronger than others but most days I feel comfortable knowing that I am going to get through it. I've dealt with a lot in my life, mainly at the fault of myself. I got myself into this by signing myself up and I will get myself through this by working hard and not giving up. I'm NOT a strong swimmer by any means. I don't have the ability to push my limits on the bike yet, but you get me to that run and I can be me and that's a pretty cool feeling. I could let my fear consume me, or I can use it as fuel- just like you can let things make you bitter or better. It's all choice.
I can only imagine how this will all change next year when preparing for a wedding AND 140.6. I'm not scared, I am excited for an adventure, the big life ones I get to take with my best friend by my side.

What about you...
What got you started in your sport?
Do you like to challenge yourself?
If you could pick one crazy thing to do, what would it be?


  1. Nice post! With an attitude like that, there's nothing you can't accomplish! Congrats for taking on the 70.3, and good luck in the journey to the IM 140.6.

  2. Yeeee! Awesome!

    I love training and now competing with my boyfriend! It's really special to me!

    Really excited for you!

    1. It makes you have a closer relationship! :)

  3. My husband and I workout together and it's great. It's a total win-win like you said, we get to be together and get a workout in. Great for busy schedules. I'm like you getting into tris. I still LOVE running, but tris are a new challenge and they make me enjoy my runs even more. I've only done sprints, but want to tackle an OLY or maybe 70.3 next year! Have to get better at cycling first :) Looking forward to hearing how your 70.3 goes!

    1. I love when we can workout together, but I still like my alone workouts too! I think you would do awesome in tri's , getting comfortable on the bike has been going better for me...slowly but surely!

  4. I think trying a tri is such a big and great investment for your running career too honestly. I've read countless articles about runners going into the triathalon world and then coming back as stronger runs.

    As I stated today, I hate that it seems like everything now a days need a justification. Whatever happened to those days where we could be like...we just because?

  5. I definitely understand the "new challenge" reason- that was the big push for me to do a sprint. Now after I get through a few more marathons I could see myself working toward 70.3!

  6. A tri has always been at the back of my mind but I'm freaked out about the swim portion. I think it's a healthy thing to want to try new sports for new challenges. It keeps not only your body healthy but your mind.

  7. Wow! I am excited for you! I love running and I love triathlons, too. I'm struggling with distance running right now as my goals have changed to be more fitness oriented, but I always will love the run.

  8. I LOVE that you and your fiance have running/TRIing together. It's so great to be able to spend time together doing something that you both love. I run with my fiance, sometimes, when we both aren't injured and we love the quality time together. He even got up at 4:30 this morning to bike next to me while I ran, just so that we could chat.

  9. I'm really glad you decided to do a tri for the right reasons this time. I'm sure we've all had a negative relationship with exercise at SOME point, but it's important you got through it and do it for the RIGHT reasons now! I'm so excited for you! It's great your husband is a tri-athlete and can help you train through this! I can't believe people think you're only doing it because of him! No one would do a tri - or anything for that matter - because a spouse is doing it. It's for YOU and I can't wait to see you kick butt!

  10. It's funny I think a lot of people have a similar story in getting into tri's -- just wanted a challenge. I'm so excited for you, especially that you are starting your life with your husband-to-be with this as something you do together. As your relationship grows it will be so wonderful to do more things together - what he likes at first, then what you like, and back and forth - I think it makes the best relationships. My husband was a runner and so I got him to do an OLY tri with me one year and it was so fun. I'll never get him to do it again but we support each other and try new things for each other. If you head to Cozumel I hope you try scuba, too! That is another passion of ours. I have a total crush on your story (and Cozumel, where we got engaged) so I might just have to join you on your honeymoon ;)

    1. Cozumel is one of my favorite places to go, I have only been once but I was in love with it. It was actually the first place I EVER went scuba diving (I was 14 maybe?) and that's where I fell in love with it. That summer we came home and my parents put me through scuba class to get my license! I wanna take John diving when we go down there next year for IM! You should totally come to Coz!


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