How did I get into triathlons? Probably the same way people get into heroin I guess. I kept doing running races but I just needed MORE.
It all started when I was five years old. That’s when my swimming career began. Man, I loved swimming. Some may say I was obsessed. I was pretty decent and there was no doubt in my mind that I would swim in college. I got recruited to swim for Miami University (of Ohio) my senior year of high school. Swimming for Miami was my dream all of my life because I grew up racing in that pool and truly fell in love with it.
Things changed a bit though once I got to college. Swimming at a division 1 school was HARD. I was a distance swimmer so our practices were really long and difficult sets (I mean duh, it was DISTANCE swimming). ALSO, my best event was the mile which in college, was really only offered at like ONE meet a year. It wasn’t even an event at the championship meets. I was so tired all of the time, my grades were suffering, and I was overall just not a happy camper. I ended up quitting the Thursday before finals during my second semester of freshman year. So, I count that as swimming a full year. The school also counted it because I actually have a Miami varsity jacket which is pretty cool!
During my sophomore year I went buckwild. I went out and partied almost every night of every week and I hardly ever worked out at all besides maybe 30 minutes on the elliptical thrice a week. It was a really fun year and I definitely needed it to get all that built up partying out of my system and I definitely did. The summer after my sophomore year, I went on a study abroad trip and that’s when I started dating my current boyfriend, Jordan. Jordan’s family are all super active and they all run a lot. Jordan’s dad has done countless half and full marathons and Jordan has done 3 or 4 halfs himself.
I didn’t really think anything of their running except that they were all very impressive people and there’s NO WAY I would ever be able to run 13.1 miles. Hell, at that time I probably couldn’t even run 1!
During my junior year, I started working out a little more consistently, but I was still just doing the elliptical (BORING) and eventually I started incorporating treadmill running (bleh). The summer after my junior year I decided that I would start running outside. If Jordan’s whole family loves running so much there must be something fun about it! During that summer I would usually only go about 3 miles, maybe 4 if I was feeling good. I always hit a slump at mile 3 though and it was very frustrating. I continued kind of running throughout my senior year but still didn’t go very far. THEN, the summer after my senior year (2015) I signed up to run a 10K with Jordan, his brother, and his dad. I almost died, but I did it!! I ran the entire 6 miles! And I didn’t do half bad, I ended up getting second in my age group which was exciting!
That year, I was still continuing to run but I was also really bored with life. I think I actually needed a goal to get me motivated. Nothing motivates me more than spending $90 on a race! So I signed up for the Flying Pig half marathon in January 2016 (the Pig is in May).
Also during January, a man that my mom works with told her about this Olympic distance triathlon near my house that happens every June and he suggested I sign up. I mean, I already had the swimming and the running parts down. So I signed up for that at the end of January. I didn’t even own a bike yet!
Then, I did maybe the dumbest (and smartest) thing I have ever done in my life. That February, I SIGNED UP FOR A FUCKING HALF IRONMAN. I STILL DID NOT EVEN OWN A BIKE. I ALSO HAD NOT EVEN RAN A HALF MARATHON YET, I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IF I WAS CAPABALE. SOMETHING IN MY BRAIN WAS JUST TELLING ME TO SIGN UP AND THAT EVERYTHING WOULD WORK OUT.
My haters did doubt me. And for good reason I suppose, but honestly, there’s nothing that motivates me more than someone doubting me. OH, you think I can’t do a half Ironman? LOL okay yeah that’ll be funny when I END UP DOING FOUR OF THEM. BYEEEEEEEE.
Anyway, so I did the smart thing and went and bought a bike (FINALLY). Then, that May, I ran the half marathon and didn’t shit my pants or die. This was very exciting because at least I knew I could actually run a half (which is the final leg of a half Ironman).
In June 2016, I did the Olympic distance triathlon (1 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) which was my first triathlon. It did NOT go well. The swim and the bike were all fine and dandy but I nearly died on the run. I had never done any brick workouts (where you bike then run right after) so I was not familiar of what your legs feel like after biking that much. They feel like 1,000 pound lead noodles. It was awful. And hot. And all I kept thinking was how ON EARTH was I going to do a half Ironman in two months if I couldn’t even do this!?
Welp, I figured it out I guess. I got some more long bike rides in and added in plenty of brick workouts. That August, I successfully completed my first half Ironman! And my time was pretty awesome, especially for my first one! It’s actually my second fastest time out of all four races that I have done. The rush of crossing the finish line with thousands (ok, probably more like hundreds) of spectators was exhilarating and I NEEDED MORE.
This past year, I did three more half Ironman races (and the marathon) to get my fix. And I certainly did get a good high going! Now, for 2018, I am signed up for one half Iron and one FULL IRONMAN this October. Maybe I am crazy? But like…. how am I supposed to get my next fix otherwise!?
Anyway. I think I figured out that being signed up for these races motivates me to work out consistently because they give me a goal to work towards. Plus, I really enjoy training for them. I like planning out training schedules and love the feeling of a really great workout. I would say if you have ever considered doing a triathlon, you should!!! If you’re not ready for an Olympic or half, there are a lot of shorter distance races like sprints, or indoor tris. Just sign yourself up RIGHT NOW because if you spend the money ya gotta do it! And of course if you have logistical questions I am very happy to answer them! I’m by no means a professional or an expert, but I’m happy to give advice!