Once upon a time, I signed up for an indoor triathlon – a swim in the pool, ride on a stationary bike and run around a track (times a million). Maybe I was sleep deprived. Maybe the cold, dark winter was getting to me. Or maybe I just needed to get out of my comfort zone. I clicked “register.”
I’m generally athletically inclined – one part in body to three parts in mind, to be sure, but I’ve run a marathon and climbed some mountains and gotten max value out of an unlimited yoga pass. I run and strength train on the reg.
But the triathlon just always seemed…complicated. Not to mention soggy. And what do you wear?! Especially with a needy two-year old at home, the logistics of training seemed insurmountable.
Spoiler alert: I surmounted them. I did a tri, I didn’t drown and I – gasp – had a blast.
Is a tri on your bucket list (or should it be)? Here’s what helped me:
New stuff = motivation. Unlike running races, where running really slow or walking is always an option, I knew if I didn’t train for the tri, I LITERALLY WOULDN’T FINISH. That scared me right into the pool and onto the bike. Nothing gets me moving like fear of failure. Or drowning. And once I got there? Super fun change of pace.
Plan so hard it hurts. I mapped out my training plan in a Google doc, and 95 percent of the time, I stuck to it. Whether I wanted to or not. Pre-parenthood, my husband and I ran or went to the gym together every morning before work. Now, he gets mornings and I get evenings – which means I leave work, speed to daycare, do the mad dinner-bath-bed dash with my kid, then take a second for myself…to cram into my swimsuit, shove my bike shorts into my bag and make a run for the gym. Yes, this makes for a hectic evening, and yes, this makes for garlicky burps in the pool lane. But it feels a lot better for my soul than extra Netflix.
My cheering squad. My daughter loves everything related to “mama running” – my running clothes, my watch, my light-up safety vest – but since I do most of my running after she goes to sleep, she doesn’t actually witness it all that often. I wanted her to see her mama do a hard thing. A thing she hadn’t done before. A thing that means she’s strong. A thing that means this little girl can do it – or whatever she wants – too.
Now my daughter’s favorite game is to hold up a piece of paper like a sign, fish the bell out of her music bin and chant “Yay mama go! Yay mama go!”
And this morning when I went to get her from her crib, she yelled, “Mama, I’M SO STRONG! Look at my big muscles!”
Mission accomplished. (Oh, and I also did a tri.)
FYI: the Minneapolis YWCA hosts a women’s-only triathlon at Lake Nokomis every August. I’ve spectated and have heard great things from participants. It’s a great way to test the waters if you will (#sorrynotsorry).