Your First Triathlon: How it all started for me...and how you can do it too.
Getting ready for next month's launch of the "Beginner and Novice Triathlon Training Group," I have been thinking about my own first race. It's a fun story because it also marks the first year I coached a group of new triathletes to the finish line. I had been working as a full-time personal trainer for a few years, and another woman at the gym had been leading the tri-club. That year she passed the reigns on to me because, well, I could swim, run, and owned a bike (and was pretty good at keeping folks in line :) ). About twenty budding racers and I trained together for fourteen weeks. Some of the group learned to swim. Some of the group re-learned how to ride a bike. We all improved, and we all worked together to push ourselves and do things we never dreamed we would. It's been NINE years since that summer- I've since raced over 50 more times and turned coaching others into my career. It is crazy to look back from where I am now... but, that's not the point. The point is YOU can do it too! We all start somewhere. Read on to follow my journey through race number one. I got a good chuckle.
Just keep moving! My first Triathlon. Blog exerpt from Manifest the Best (July 2009) by Remy Maguire
I really can't say enough about the importance of trying new things! You never know what you'll discover about yourself until you do. Turns out I like triathlons! Who knew?
It was perfectly gorgeous at Frenchman's Bar in Vancouver, Washington the day of the Inaugural Girlfriend's and Dudes Triathlon.
The week before I found myself home from work and stuck in bed with a fierce bit of some stomach sickness. Yuck. I could barely move and didn't even think of putting on my workout wear- pj's only! Finally feeling better on Friday I feared for Sunday's event. A half mile swim followed by a 12.5 mile bike ride followed by a three mile run!
I had been looking forward to putting myself to the test for the past few weeks and no way was I going to stay home sick! I woke up Sunday feeling good and nervous - I'd never worn a wet-suit, my bike was just days old and I just had the flu and I was about to do a triathlon!
The sunshine was bright and the rock-n-roll was blaring on our way to the beach. Everyone was excited, smiling and talking together - what a great community event. Into the river we went and all of a sudden..."On your marks, Get Set, Go!!!" We swam along the shore of the Columbia. It was breath, stroke, breath, stroke until reaching the beach and started running for the bikes. I managed to strip off the wet-suit, tie my shoes and buckle my helmet in under two minutes.
The bike ride felt looooong! I thought it would surely be the end at every curve but no....more corn fields, and more corn fields, pedal, pedal, pedal. Thank goodness someone was there at the transition to remind me that I just had to park my bike and take off running! I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do? Oh yea, just go!
Taking off on the run my legs felt like absolute lead, heavy and slow. But I knew it was almost over. With a smile on my face I took long deep breaths and took off for the finish line. Approaching the end, I felt a great sense of joy knowing I had made it! I really did it. What an incredible feeling! And I was certainly beyond thrilled and totally shocked when realizing I'd placed 3rd! I haven't won a trophy since high school:) Try something new! Step outside your comfort zone. See what happens.
Nine years later, here's my follow-up to this post. First, I hope to say I've refined my writing skills, yikes. Second, apparently I really like triathlon. Not only do I say it here, but the fact it became my job obviously means something! This particular race is now known as the Columbia River Triathlon, and it's still a great event. (Click on the link to learn more)
As you can see from this write-up, I was definitely nervous beforehand, which is totally normal. The distances seem intimidating, but trust me - you'll be prepared after training with us. You also may have noticed that the week ahead of the race did not exactly go according to plan. In those moments that week curled up on the couch, I was certain everything would just go ... terribly. However, as my own coach likes to remind me and you'll hear me say many times, you have to "trust your training". Your body will remember what we've done and the work you put in, which is why we make such a point to practice it all until it feels solid. That being said, everything feels a little hectic on race day - even seasoned professionals can tell stories of "race brain," but only more practice can help with that :)
I'll say it again, I am really looking forward to the weeks ahead with this group. Now having done this for many years, it is always inspiring to see the work a group of people can accomplish together to help everyone achieve their goals. I can't wait to be part of that process and cheer for you all as you toe the line at events this summer!
Reach out if you've even got the inkling of an interest in doing some triathlon training with me -- I'll convince you:-)
More info: Triathlon Training Group