Friday, August 24, 2007

Triathlon Buzz

The hard work paid off! After months of walking/running, biking and swimming in pools and lake, reading books, watching videos on how to set up an organized transition zone, taking swimming lessons, attending coached sessions on all aspects, joining monthly potlucks with motivational speakers, and soaking up the constant encouragement of my friends and family I finished my first sprint triathlon last weekend. My personal goal was to finish in under 2 hours, an achievable time for a novice but most importantly to enjoy the event and to do my best. The memories are almost dreamlike several days later. I have to ask: did I really do all that? Did I actually string those events together when I had never been able to do so in training? Did I really breathe in the raindrops on that cloudy, wet morning and fuel my body with the collective energy of the 3800 women who shared the water and road with me? Each one had prepared in her own way for the Tri, had her own reasons for participating, and made the journey with courage, grace, and perseverance. It was an overwhelming feeling to sprint through the finish line, energized by the crowd and pleased to the core that what had been a shaky goal for me in February was now a successful reality.

The Danskin Triathlon is a women's sprint distance event composed of a 1 K swim, 20 K bike, and 5 K run held in multiple cities throughout the US each year. It is the largest sprint distance Tri in the world and the money raised goes towards breast cancer research and support of breast cancer survivors. The Seattle Danskin Triathlon was held on Sunday, August 19, 2007.

Sally Edwards, an ironman triathlete, is the spokeswoman for the event and I was fortunate to hear her speak in June. She is able to inspire the most uncertain of us to be the best we can, to take a chance and to believe in ourselves. She knows what many of us do not; that we are far stronger and more able that we know. She also knows that success is the quality of the journey and that "having fun out there" is critical. She is right; I am strong and I had the time of my life showing myself just how glorious it feels to prove it!

At 52, taking on even a sprint distance triathlon was a big deal for me. Nonathletic all my life, I never enjoyed running, making it perhaps a quarter mile before becoming totally winded and discouraged. Biking was never my thing either although once in college I rode a 10 mile flat route with a girlfriend and thought that was huge. As for swimming, I knew how not to drown but found early on that one length of the pool in freestyle had me hanging onto the pool's edge gasping for breath. I had to start from scratch on this one and struggled with how long it seemed to take to make any progress on endurance and technique in all three disciplines. Humbled, I nearly gave up several times but something kept pulling me back into the training routine. It wasn't until mid July that things started to improve but even days before the event I worried about how I could ever pull off what I had not even achieved in practice. I learned that it didn't matter; the rest came from the energy of the women in front of and behind me, the spectators, and the confidence that doing my best would propel me forward with grace and beauty.

It was a perfect day and I lived each moment, breath by breath. When is the next Danskin Tri? I'll be there, ready and able.

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing feat and something to remember for a lifetime.


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