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The First Community College of Denver Triathlon
Out of this frustration, the first annual Denver Community College Triathlon was born. It was open to all employees of the campus, with a 30 dollar entrance fee for the campus scholarship fund.
by Lisa Danny-Roberts
August 2003, like most good ideas, it began in frustration, Elisa Robyn
a life long distance runner was looking for a challenge. In August she asked me about a triathlon, we searched for one but couldn't find one that allowed for challenge and fun, they all focused on watching a clock and stressing yourself to make the cut before the next event. We also realized that the triathlon season ended in October, which did not give us enough time to train.
Out of this frustration, the first annual Denver Community College Triathlon was born. It was open to all employees of the campus, with a 30 dollar entrance fee for the campus scholarship fund. We were determined that the event would be fun, with an emphasis on personal best, in a non-competitive supportive atmosphere. A goal to keep us on track when summer faded and the cold made it so much easier to skip work outs.
Flash forward to Saturday,
December 13, 2003- It was the end of one of
those weeks where the temperature didn't break 30 and the remnants of the last snowstorm refused to melt . Every time you stepped out of your
car, you were ankle-deep in icy slush, Christmas was still two weeks away and everyone seemed to feel rushed. When we put together the triathlon
in August it seemed like such a great idea, Saturday it seemed like just one more thing on a never ending to-do list.
December 14, 2003 Sunday morning dawned clear and bright. I
dressed in typical
Colorado fashion, khaki shorts and a fleece jacket,
oblivious to the 23degrees outside looking only toward the 48 degree high that the weatherman promised. During the 20-minute drive to campus,
I kept telling myself you can do this, you have been in training since May, you have lost 20 pounds, just do the best that you can and have fun. As I opened the door to the recreation center, I was assaulted with a blast of warm air, the campus recreation center usually a buzz with activity was closed on Sundays and a hushed quiet fell over the halls.
In the hour before the event, we hung up banners, checked sign in sheets
and filled tables with water bottles and cliff bars. At
participants began to straggle in with grins on their faces and gym bags slung over their shoulders, at
10:30 all 17 participants had arrived.
The triathlon would be done simultaneously with people in the pool and the exercise bikes and the track all at the same time. Each person would
do their personal best in the allotted time for the event and then give their time to the volunteer and continue on to the next event.
45 mins minutes for the 1,000 meter swim, 55 minutes for 13 miles on the exercise bike and 45 minutes for the 3.1 mile run either outside or on the indoor treadmill.
At 10:30 we all went into different directions, I stepped into the warm water of the pool checked the 10:35 time on the wall, adjusted my goggles and began my 11 laps, I have always been a strong swimmer so I was not worried about this part of the event. My only goal was to complete the 11 laps without stopping. Swimming is the scary event for many people so I peeked out of the water at the end of every lap to give a smile and a thumbs up sign to my lane mates. I finished the 11 laps in 20 minutes with no breaks and pulled myself out of the pool, Emily the
youngest participant at 18 sat at the edge of the pool looking great. She had lost a tremendous amount lost weight while training for the event. She was drying off, but she stopped to give me a smile and yell "good job."
I changed clothes, caught my breath and wandered into the cardio room There were men and woman on all types of machines, upright bikes, recumbent bikes, elliptical trainers, treadmills. Some people did the bike outside and the run on the school track. I climbed on an elliptical
trainer next to Ari and started. All of us work for
Community College of Denver in different departments so we never get much time to get to know
each other, we were all at our machines and talking.
Tony the fitness director turned on CNN and people who had been unaware
began cheering with the news of the capture of Sadamm Hussien. We tried to keep moving despite the fatigue as Wolf Blitzer expounded on details in his usual droll manner. Something about the realizing of this elusive goal by our soldiers energized us and we pushed on.
At the 1.5 mile mark, I was utterly fatigued, my legs felt like lead pipes, my quadriceps were screaming for mercy. Tony came over to check on me, I had never used this machine before and I was on level 10 at the highest incline. He adjusted the machine downward and I felt the fatigue drain from my legs, I wanted to jump off the machine and kiss him but I knew if I stopped my legs would never start moving again.
We all kept going and joked about grading papers and budget cuts. Every time someone finished they would go get water and cliff bars for the rest of us. Cliff bar had sent samples of cherry chocolate almond bars, they were moist and tasty.
(Shameless plug for our sponsor
In took me 43 minutes but I finished the 3.1 miles on the elliptical trainer. I got water and a cliff bar, by now I was so hungry I would have licked the paint off the walls. I stretched out my weary glutes and calves and climbed on the exercise bike. I made sure that Tony showed me
how to set it for the lowest setting and began moving the pedals, Maureen had finished the swim in record time and had started the biking about a half hour before I did, we grinned at each other and pedaled and pedaled and pedaled. The bicycle seat felt like it was invented as a medieval torture device, I kept pedaling. Emily finished the entire event first in record time we all cheered and then kidded her unmercifully about the fact that she was only 18 and the rest of us were over 40, she took it in good humor. We talked about how hungry we were,
none of that vegetarian food for us, it seemed like a great time to try Ted Turners Bison Burgers. Bison sounded bigger and meatier than just a regular hamburger and we all felt that we were earning it. We hunkered down and kept pedaling or walking or running or striding or whatever kind of moving we were doing and kept breathing and sweating. When the event was over I had finished 4 miles on the bike. Six months before I was so out of shape that this day seemed impossible. Now all I can think about is where do I get a work out plan to help me improve my time for next year?
When we were all showered and changed, We gathered together and gave out certificates, laughed and chatted with a mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration, a lot people asked that we do it each semester instead of once a year. Tony agreed to have a fitness class to help us prepare for the next one. In that three and a half hours on a Sunday afternoon, before our Denver broncos started to play $330 in scholarship money was raised, old friendships were
strengthened, and new ones were made and everyone seemed to walk out of the recreation center taller than they walked in.
Elisa Robyn and I would like to thank-Our Volunteers, Laurie Wilkie, and Robin Roberts.
And Our Sponsors Cliff Bar, American Stroke Association, FoxSports Network and REI and all the participants.
A special thanks goes to Tony and the lifeguard who volunteered their free time to help us reach our goals.
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