Aspiring Triathlete

NOTE: The content below is from my blog at gpannie50fit.com. I am a member of LifeTime Fitness in Columbus, OH (Easton location) and the fitness magazine I reference is Experience Life! On Saturday, July 28, 2012, I competed in my first triathlon. Well, actually, it was a mini-sprint triathlon: 250 yards swimming, seven miles biking… Read more »

NOTE: The content below is from my blog at gpannie50fit.com. I am a member of LifeTime Fitness in Columbus, OH (Easton location) and the fitness magazine I reference is Experience Life!

On Saturday, July 28, 2012, I competed in my first triathlon. Well, actually, it was a mini-sprint triathlon: 250 yards swimming, seven miles biking and two miles running. The sponsors promoted it as an ideal first-time event, and that proved to be the case for me. I demonstrated to myself that I can do it. For at least 48 hours after the event, I randomly declared, “I did it!” The experience helped me believe in myself! I soon began to wonder how much I could do — with a (slightly) more disciplined approach to training. My blog will help me hold myself accountable and, I hope, will invite feedback from my readers.

Just what was it that inspired a 49-year-woman to get involved in a triathlon? Mind you, a woman who loves to swim, but rarely exercised; had not so much as sat on a bike in nearly 20 years; and considered running and jogging to be cruel and unusual punishment for the knees and various other body parts.

It all started after I read an article nearly a year earlier in a fitness magazine. The story was about a 40-something-year-old woman who decided to use training for a triathlon to get in shape. For whatever reason, the idea stuck with me and by the end of 2011, I decided I would complete a sprint tri in 2013 for my 50th birthday.

Let’s just say my timetable was rather lax. (Some might call it laughable.) Mentally, I mapped out a total of 18 months: six months to “think about” my plan, six months for “moderate” training and six months for “serious” training. When I got back in the pool in March, I was already a couple months off track. It had been several years since I had made an effort to swim with any regularity. I was frustrated that I struggled to get out of the pool and dreamed of effortlessly popping up from the water to the deck. (BTW: I am pretty darn close to “effortlessly” now!) About a week later, a sign appeared on the locker room door: Masters’ Swimming Class. The timing could not have been better.

After a trial run of twice a week, the gym settled on three weekly sessions from 6–7:30 a.m. The class was just what I needed. Our teacher was outstanding, with a remarkable ability to provide feedback on individual performances while keeping track of our staggered send-offs, splits and overall times. She was mindful of our goals and inspired me to stretch beyond my comfort zone — sometimes beyond what I thought was possible, or reasonable. It also became increasingly easy for me to gauge my pace and my confidence grew.

By mid-April, I realized I was gradually, but consistently, dropping pounds. Over a 3-month period, I ended up losing 17 lbs. As the classes continued, doing a warm-up event this year started to sound like a good idea. I discovered one in a nearby state park. There were two particular aspects that helped ease my ambivalence: First, the sponsors promoted the event as a good first-time triathlon, with the notion that anyone who had run or walked a 5K would be successful. Second, it was female-only, and that definitely appealed to me.

Now you have the beginning of my story. Next time I’ll talk about the day of the mini tri. In the weeks and months to come, I will chronicle my experiences as I train for 2013. Who knows . . . maybe I will do a half-tri rather than a sprint.

Anne
@GPannie50fit

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