“TRI”al and Error

I kind of don’t know where to begin this post. I left off with what was supposed to be the first in a series of three posts related to my weight loss journey, but that was so long ago and motherhood has given me the attention span of a squirr–

Hey! What’s that over there!

Sorry. Got distracted. Anyway. The topic of triathlon is a huge one for me, so this post is going to barely scratch the surface in bringing you up to speed on how I got from there to… wherever it is that I am right now.

I set four fitness goals for myself at the beginning of 2014: 1) Do a pull-up; 2) Run a 25:00 5K (I actually ran it in 24 minutes and change! Boo yah!); 3) Run a marathon; and 4) Do a triathlon. What I should have done was set a fifth goal to include planting and harvesting a money tree in order to purchase all goods and materials required to complete a triathlon. That would have made more sense.

1/4 goals done.  Not bad.

1/4 goals done. Not bad.

In truth, I’ve been kicking around the idea of triathlon for about a year now. While training for my half marathon last year, I got bit by the endurance junkie bug and started to wonder just how far I’d be able to push myself. At the time, a marathon seemed out of the question (hell, I’m training for one right now and it still seems out of the question). Triathlon, the idea of competing in three disciplines in one race, was intriguing. I figured once I got through the Half I’d get myself a $200-or-so bike and start tri-ing it out [Seriously. The “Tri” puns are abundant (see blog post title)].

I got laughed at when I asked people to recommend a $200 road bike. So I upped it to $500… and then I upped it some more… and then, I saved a crap ton of money and begged for my husband’s blessing since we’re a paycheck-to-paycheck kinda family; and while I was saving and begging, I was also researching. Tirelessly. Hours and hours of teaching myself about bikes and derailleurs and cassette sizes and clipless pedal systems. I eventually decided on a Terry Tailwind. It had some pretty great mid-level features for an entry-level price, and I was especially drawn to the fact that Terry was the first bicycle company for women, by women. In fact, I even exchanged emails with Georgena Terry herself during the process. Unfortunately, the current Terry models will be the last ones sold as Georgena is exclusively designing and selling a higher end line of custom bikes now under her Georgena Terry label, so my Tailwind is among the last of its kind. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Anyway, the buying process was somewhat painful. I originally bought the wrong size, had to wait several weeks for a new size to be ordered, and then had to wait a few more weeks for the right clipless pedals to get delivered (because, in spite of my research, I’d definitely chosen the wrong type for the shoes I had. Oops.)

This is Grizelda, whose name means "woman warrior" according to some translations; as well as "patient woman" to others.  Training is as much about patience as it is about being a warrior, so the name fit perfectly.  Nickname: "The Griz."

This is Grizelda, whose name means “woman warrior” according to some translations; as well as “patient woman” according to others. Training is as much about patience as it is about being a warrior, so the name fit perfectly. Nickname: “The Griz.”

Finally – finally! – I got her out on the road. Er, the parking lot at the elementary school. I practiced clipping in and out of the pedals over and over and over. I fell. More than once. I got banged up and bruised pretty good. And I didn’t quit, even though I really freaking wanted to.

I did a few rides in that parking lot, up and down the hills, circling around the building. Soon, I did a few rides in the neighborhoods around the park near my parents’ house while they watched the kiddos. And this past weekend I did my first ever “real” road ride, with cars whizzing by me and everything. It was exhilarating and terrifying and fantastic. I’m totally hooked.

Woohoo!  I look legit, yes?

Woohoo! I look legit, yes?

As for the other two sports – the swim and the run – I’m working on those, too. I’ve been getting my swims in at the nearby lake, though it’s hard to tell how well I’m actually doing since I have no idea what my distance is beyond estimating. My runs are as frequent as ever, and my legs are getting a bit tender these days as I ramp up my mileage in my marathon training.

My tri kit.  This is the outfit I'll compete in during the Sprint Tri in September.  Finding a non-hideous tri kit was not easy.

My tri kit. This is the outfit I’ll compete in during the Sprint Tri in September. Finding a non-hideous tri kit was not easy.

On that note, I’d like to publicly state that I’ll never, ever train for both a marathon AND a triathlon ever again. Never ever ever. And most likely no more marathons either. This is a bucket list item only. I’m eager to get back to enjoying my runs instead of feeling like they’re a chore.

On a trail in the Catoctin mountains running a virtual Half on my birthday.

On a trail in the Catoctin mountains running a virtual Half on my birthday.

But what’s done is done. I’m registered for the Marine Corps Marathon in October, and the YMCA Frederick Women’s Sprint Triathlon in September. No turning back now, especially since I’ve sunk a crap ton of money into these endeavors.

So that’s the update. I eat, sleep, and breathe the swim, bike, run. Oh, and PiYo! I’ll write about that one later. That program snuck up on me as I didn’t expect to like it much. Anyway, I will be doing my very best to keep up with the blog from here on out. Writing holds me accountable for these crazy goals of mine and gives me a creative outlet to vent about the process.

Be well, friends.

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