I’m not sure what originally made me think that triathlon would be a good thing to do. I had recently attempted to return to running and was having the usual recurring injuries and problems, so I was looking for something different.
Triathlon: Swim – Bike – Run. I can do those three things, maybe I can do a triathlon.
I didn’t jump right in. That first year I just volunteered.
A few hours of standing and cheering, watching people achieving their own goals, convinced me that I ought to be able to do this too. The seed was sown.
The following year I signed up for a training clinic advertised on the Kelowna Apple Triathlon website. As I walked into the first session I was absolutely terrified, it really took all of my willpower not to turn and run crying in the other direction! Everyone seemed to be so fit and confident…and then there was me.
I am so glad I stuck it out though, despite being possibly one of the least talented athletes Chris has ever worked with, and certainly the slowest in this group by far, I made some friends that I still train with today.
Over those eight weeks I swam in the lake for the first time, and the Knox mountain hill, after a few abortive attempts, went from absolutely impossible to “I might just make it”. I agonized and discussed all of the details, what to do when, what to wear and how to put the whole thing together. It seemed like I was capable of more than I had given myself credit for.
As the event drew near I took a deep breath and, with the encouragement of my new found friends, instead of signing up for the try-a-tri event as I had timidly indicated on day one, I registered for the Sprint distance. There was no backing out now!
The day before the race we met as a group to check out the course, and went for a swim in the lake, my previous swims had all been at the nice sandy Gyro swim loop where the bottom was mostly visible at all times, Tugboat Bay is not like that, it’s deep and full of weeds and once again I was terrified – what had I done? Could I back out?
Luckily those friends talked me down, and I’m so glad that they did.
Race day arrived and I woke up early and headed to the event with plenty of time. I had my race number written on my arm and legs and headed into transition. I looked around at the rows of beautiful and expensive bikes, then looked at my trusty mountain bike, I felt so out of place. But I needn’t have done, everyone was very friendly. I set up my tiny transition area, checked it again and again, and headed down to the start.
Lining up at the start I felt surprisingly relaxed, having already made a decision to just have fun and not worry about how fast or slow I was going. Suddenly we were off.
I ran into the lake and started swimming, focusing on my stroke and maintaining a consistent pace. Eventually, the beach loomed and I jogged out of the water and into transition. Part one done! I pulled on my shoes, grabbed my bike and headed out of the transition area. A couple of weeks ago I had attempted to ride the bike course (just to make sure) and had found the first hill to be very hard, almost impossible, but today I rode up it slowly but steadily. I can’t tell you how glad I was to get to the top!
Two laps later, and I was on the run…I was running! I didn’t manage to run the entire 5km, but it didn’t matter, when I saw the finish line coming into view, the feeling of accomplishment was amazing.
I’m a triathlete?
Since that day in 2012, I’ve completed 12 more triathlons and even signed up for Ironman!
Turns out I love triathlon and I’m improving all the time.
(and for the record, that hill on Knox mountain that was once impossible, is now just another little hill…meh!)