So yesterday was supposed to be my first Sprint Triathlon. It became my first du-athalon. I ran for 1.5 miles, biked 12 and ran for 2.5 miles instead of swimming, biking and running. This is a blog about WHY you should step out of your comfort zone and TRI or DU something you deemed impossible. The sense of accomplishment is HUGE. The swim leg started stressing me out even though I had taken some swim lessons and hit the pool. It was open water in the SF Bay swimming and I just wasn't WANTING to do it. Luckily I switched races because by race day I was still dealing with the tail end of walking pneumonia, so I sounded like the 8th dwarf-Wheezy. Swimming wouldn't have been in the cards. I decided I would do the race and simply finish, no PR here.
My first piece of advice is to assemble a race team. My team is generally just comprised of myself and Cheetah girl. However my 19yo house guest has joined us on a few adventures(10K's ) and even did a half marathon with us last fall, oh to be 19 again! A race team is a person(s) who will do the race with you whether it be a 5 K, 10K run, walk or a Du/Tri. They are also the person who in my case will be waiting for you at the end, clapping wildly! This is an advantage of being the slowest team member! Cheetah girl and I don't train together or hang out together due to distance, life etc. We text and email about what we are doing. Sometimes we stress out virtually and we are ALWAYS ready on race day. Often we carpool to the event and play catch up before the event. We also ALWAYS have a celebration post race breakfast. In my world there has to be an upside of running 6 miles and pushing your body, it's breakfast. Its also good if your team member can laugh because not every race goes smoothly.
Our first 10K was in a downpour. Yesterday's event was a 3 some and calling us the 3 stoogettes would be more appropriate! The BFF overslept and barely made the start. Cheetah girl was early and then locked her bike and keys in the car so she barely made the start. She pulled her bike out with a flat tire, I raced on a half flat tire and then wheezed through the rest. That said Cheetah girl posted an impressive 12 minute swim and with bricks for legs still had a 9 minute run race pace. The BFF who is working with a permanent injury wanted to beat 1 hour and 45 minutes, she swooped in at 1:43 and I finished at 1:47 and set a Pr for the first leg of 10:20 race pace so hey we did it!
You should also tri or du a race before you hit "goal" weight. This will help you re-affirm what you CAN do, even if your scale is not where you hope it would be. My first 10K was run at 246 pounds. I finished. I ran a half marathon at 226, my last 10K was run at 185 and yesterday's event I was hanging out at about 190 due to illness and carbs. You can use your races as another marker of increased fitness and health. My first 10K my race pace was about 15 minutes a mile, a year later I ran it at about 13 minutes a mile. Then I hung out at 12 minutes a mile so my pr of 10:20 felt like a HUGE accomplishment.
We are slated to do a SEE JANE RUN tri in September. Yes, I will swim, it's a lake which is a happier venue for me. We all blew our biking so we need to figure out how to bike faster and more efficiently. In particular I need to get this down because we have a relay event in October and I'm the bike leg. This brings me to my most important reason for signing up for a race, and it's not the cool t-shirts. It is so much easier to stick with working out if you have a goal in mind. On my worst days I'd drag to the gym and think, "fine, if I'm hating this after 30 minutes on the treadmill I'm out of here." I never left after 30minutes as I was feeling decent by then. I made it to the gym in the first place because I thought, "dang, this race is looming and I don't want to do WORSE than last time." My team and I mostly run women only events because 80% of the participants just want to finish and only 20% are hardcore. However, even the hardcore ladies are quick to yell out, "nice job, keep going" as they whiz past you. It's fun to be able to do it for someone else. I ran up on a women in the last half a mile who was clearly struggling. My turtle pace allowed me the ability to say, "hey, we've almost got this, you are almost done, let's go." She huffed out the words, "thanks." After the race she saw me and said, "thank you so much, I really needed to hear those words, this was my first 5K run."
She then gestured to her body and said, "I'm not a runner." My reply was, "now you are." the look that passed across her face was pure joy, and that would be why I'd encourage you to step out of your comfort zone to tri or du something new, the joy.