My swim club, Tower 26, isn’t exactly a traditional Master’s swim team. In fact, we pride ourselves on being “triathlon focused.” As such, we’ve never done traditional “swim club” things like meets. Until now.
With the prospect of two (possibly 3) Ironman events looming on this year’s calendar, I spent a lot of time going back and forth on whether or not to use a coach this year. In theory, it’s easy to know what a race will consist of – my next race in Santa Rosa is a half-Ironman. And, in theory it’s simple to determine how your body will adapt in order to get you there. But in the end I decided that professional guidance was a bit like insurance––you might not need it, but you know you’ll be taken care of if you do.
I’m not sure what it was, but something happened in August. Maybe it was the changing of seasons or the tilt in the air as we slipped from summer into fall. Maybe after half a year of tracking candidates and following campaigns, I was ready for a new challenge. Or maybe, simply enough, it was just unfinished business.
Somewhere along Mile 11, an excited stranger jogged up alongside me, announcing that this was the farthest he had ever run in his life and that we were almost finished. He asked if it was also my first half marathon. I awkwardly negotiated my response.
“Yes,” I replied. “But…I also did LA Marathon…”
“What??” he called back, a judging sting of disbelief in voice. “This should be easy for you!”
“Yeah,” I said. “It should be. But it’s really not…”
A lot of people were surprised to hear that I had signed up for the half Ironman at Lake Tahoe this year, and assumed that it was a last minute decision. I had actually signed up in April shortly after the 70.3 race was announced, but I didn’t tell anyone, save for a select inner circle of need to know personnel. I like to think that I kept it under wraps because I tend to be a fairly quiet and private person, preferring not to draw attention to myself. But the deeper truth is one that I’m ashamed to admit — I didn’t think I could do it.
When I was little and wanted to quit something, my mother would say, “There will be things you won’t want to do at West Point, but you’ll still have to do them.”
Even though I ultimately chose not to follow in my father’s footsteps and attend the US Military Academy at West Point, the lesson was still learned—that life would present obstacles that, while unappealing, I would have to find ways to persevere through.
Ever since moving here almost 3 years ago I’ve wanted to run the LA marathon because Los Angeles the first city that has felt like my own — my streets, my friends, the first town of my choosing. I’ve run this city for 3 years and now I have a day to run for miles and miles with nothing to stop me but myself.
I did it. I survived. Earlier today I had the chance to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon — a great accomplishment working up from my very first sprint just 3 months ago at the beginning of the summer. For those who don’t know, the traditional Olympic (also known as International) Distance consists of approximately 1-mile Swim, 25-mile Bike and 6-mile Run. It was a grueling and arduous process but as always I learned a lot about life and about myself.
Today was the day. After the training and dreaming and waiting it finally happened — I raced my first triathlon!
This weekend I had the joy of participating in the 9th Annual Redondo Beach Triathlon. The race features a competitive Sprint division for both newbies and established athletes, along with a non-competitive Mini Sprint for friends and families. I heard about the race about three weeks ago, and signed up for the Mini, wanting to focus solely on getting down the basics of racing before worrying about competition. But with a just over one week left before race day, I decided to go all out and upgrade to the full on Sprint — a half-mile swim, 6 mile bike ride, 2 mile run.
When I needed to stop running, I decided to try swimming. I trekked down to the local gym and spent some time in the pool alongside the aqua joggers. That first session was memorable, to say the least.