I am on my last leg of a crazy weekend (I am sure of it) driving the last few kms in a huge bus full of Americans. I am probably going through massive blogging/twittering/FarmVille withdrawls…it isn’t normal…for most people. Anyways, here’s the last blogger takeover. I love Katy.
Can I just say that I LOVE Katy at SillyTaterTot. I basically love that she’s real and I love that I want to eat her blog title everyday. We don’t have tatertots in Australia, I knew something was missing in my life.
I also look up to her as well, because she’s a TRI star. That’s right, she inspires me when I don’t want to bike/swim/run. She’s here to share her experiences with her journey into Tri training. Even if you haven’t ever ran a Tri (like me) finding a mini-tri (like me) and working up to a huge one (like Katy) is a great goal. I am a little ADD when it comes to exericse and the notion of switching it up throughout a race appeals to me.
I Gave it a TRI ~Katy
Hi everyone! My name is Katy, and I write about food, fitness, fun and furballs on SillyTaterTot. Like you, I am in AWE of Michelle’s eating journey, and am really excited to be able to share my triathlon story with you!
2006 was one of the best years of my life. I was working at a television station, planning a wedding to my college sweetheart (Lucas), had just bought my first house and was generally fulfilled and happy.
I say generally, because there was one thing holding me back. It was my weight.
And not just my weight, but what it prevented me from doing. I couldn’t run, didn’t have the energy to walk my dogs more than a mile, and even finishing a step class at my gym was tough.
I found myself at a crossroads — or a sizeroads, if you will. I’d outgrown my size 14 pants and the next step was either into a plus size store or Weight Watchers. I chose Weight Watchers, and a year and a half later, I’d dropped 40 pounds and started a much healthier relationship with food.
But guess what? Still couldn’t run. Still couldn’t walk the dogs. And the step class? I’d slink out of the gym halfway through. I was what my dear friend MizFitOnline calls “skinny fat.” I wanted to be skinny fit.
I went to my first triathlon and saw the faces of the people as they crossed the finish line. Despite the heat, the pain and the drama of the competition, they were smiling, crying and had something I didn’t have: pride in an accomplishment.
I signed up for a super-sprint distance triathlon before I even had a bike or had run a mile, and decided then and there that I was going to become a triathlon. Trained and trained, one excruciating mile at a time, and finally crossed my first finish line. The super-sprint is an incredibly short distance event, and I think I finished in 45 minutes. It was the first time in years I’d exercised for such a long time!
(Brave of me to post a bathing suit picture, huh?) It just took one triathlon to become hooked. I started signing up for every event I could find, taking on the slightly longer sprint distance events.
It didn’t always go well — check out this video that my dear husband captured during a race that took me off course, both literally and figuratively:
If you can’t hear what I said at the end, it was “oh my gosh, I ran an extra mile!” I’d gotten lost on the trail and had to double back. I’d had a miserable transition (as you can see, I took my sweet time getting on the bike!), had forgotten my snack and much, much more.
The high I felt after each event — whether I performed well or not — is something I’ll never forget, and I’ll constantly chase. It’s dangerous to search for new competitions in the days immediately following a triathlon, but doing that led me to sign up for my first 5K and two half marathons (which I’m currently training for.) And recently, I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon, which is a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and a 5.6mile run.
My tips for getting started?
- Just jump in. If you’re not a swimmer, get in the pool once a week and start to build up your stamina. No one cares what your stroke looks like — I’ve seen people do backstroke, float to take a break, doggie paddle and much more, even during events!
- Don’t buy before you try (tri!) — borrow a road or mountain bike for your first race. The road bike isn’t essential, and if you’re not going to fall in love with the sport, it’s better to find that out before you drop the cash on a bike and gear.
- Speaking of gear, if you are going to do a lot of cycling, make sure you invest in a good pair of padded bike shorts, a helmet and a bike pump. Learn to change your own tires. And, when you’re ready, consider getting cycling shoes. I did my first three triathlons in sneakers, and I was fine. But now that I have my shoes, I would never go back.
- If you’re not good at training on your own (my preference), find a group in your area. I guarantee you that there is a club, through your local running equipment or cycling store, or even through your gym.
- Sign up for a race and tell everyone you know that you’re doing it. Post it on your blog. Put it in your Christmas letter. Don’t keep it to yourself, because then it’s too easy to back out.
I hope you’ll see from my story that anyone — anyone! — can compete in triathlon. I’ve met cancer survivors, great-grandmothers, single fathers, teenagers and more at events and during training. I have found an internal drive that I never knew I had, and the best part is that it all adds up to that complete happy and HEALTHY person I always wanted to be.