My First Tri - If I Can Do It, Anyone Can!

author : Angie M
comments : 4

In the past 18 months, I have delivered two babies, had meningitis, broken my pelvis, had two surgeries, worked full time, AND completed my first triathlon!


To start at the beginning, after two years of infertility treatments, I delivered a beautiful baby girl (my second child) in April of 2005. During the delivery, I broke my pelvis. I tried running within the first few months after I had her, but I could feel it in my pelvis every time I took a step.

I was working out with weights eight months later when I had the oddest sensation. I could have sworn that I felt a baby moving. Of course I thought that this could not be possible since we hadn’t dropped the 35K necessary for us to conceive our third child. Well...a short trip to the doctor revealed a very well established pregnancy-approximately 3 months along. So, my plans changed, and I spent the next couple of months adapting to the thought that I would be the mom to three kids, two of which were 15 months apart.

However, on February 11th I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and abdominal pain. I had my husband bring me into the ER. We found out that we lost our baby. I was becoming very sick, and my fever was 103 degrees. A decision was made to perform a surgical delivery of the baby. When I woke up I was told that our baby was a boy. We buried him the following Wednesday morning. On the day of the funeral I was hospitalized again, this time with meningitis. I spent my 33rd birthday in the hospital.

After recovering for a few months, I decided to have a breast reduction surgery. I had been dreaming about this for years. I had the surgery in April. I am thrilled with the difference it has made. I started dreaming about another long put off goal—a triathlon.

Deciding to become a triathlete

On July 14th I woke up and decided to sign up for the triathlon in my town on September 2nd (seven weeks away). Up until this point, I had never run more than three miles in my life. I hadn’t biked more than eight miles and I hadn’t been swimming in 10 years. Oh well! I signed up for a sprint distance—1/3 mile swim, 10 mile bike, and 4 mile run. My husband thought I was crazy.

The next seven weeks were a blur. I had to be very creative with some of the training since I am the mother of two. I would bring my kids to the local high school track and my son would watch my daughter in the middle while I ran around.

Two of my neighbors are experienced bikers, and were very supportive. They taught me all I know about biking, which is still not that much.

My doctor was great. He is an experienced triathlete and gave me advice at every turn. His advice was to wear a wetsuit. I borrowed a wetsuit from my boss. I went to practice in it at the beach but the beach was closed due to E. Coli contamination. I called the race director to let him know. The day before the race they reopened the beach. HMMMM.

The most embarrassing moment of my life happened during the training. I was doing a transition workout the week before the race. I finished a tough seven mile bike (felt great), timed my transition (fast), and started off running. I was ½ mile away from finishing a four mile run when I finally realized that the cars hadn’t been honking at me because of my incredible athletic abilities—but that I had been running the entire time with my bike helmet on! I live in a small town and had been running down Main Street for most of the route.


Woke up early, double-checked my list, and made it in plenty of time. My neighbors had given me lots of advice about setting up in the transition area. The best advice was to bring a crate to sit upon to put my shoes on.


I lined up with the 51 women in my heat (30-39). I took the conservative approach and started in the back. I had trained doing the crawl and had confidence going in that this would be a cinch. The fog-horn went off, we all splashed into the water, and I immediately felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I was kicked a bit, but it was manageable. I don’t quite know how I did the swim, but it was a combination of every stroke possible—all while trying not to get any of the 'contaminated' water in my mouth. I finished in 13 minutes.


I got off to a good start. I wasn’t taking the bike as seriously as some others-though I probably should have. I was distracted looking for people I knew who were also racing. I had the advantage over most the field because I live close and had trained on the hills of the course. The course is short because it is tough. There is a killer hill (does Wisconsin have any mountains?) at mile 4-6.5. Overall I did okay. I am much faster at biking now. I finished in 42 minutes.


I felt a bit woozy for the first ½ mile. I was amazed at the town support and my friends, family, and neighbors that came out to cheer me on. I was feeling emotional every time I would hear them cheering. I started to feel like I was on top of the world at about mile 1.5. I decided that I had been conservative enough, I knew that I could finish, so I took off. I started to pass some of the people who had passed me on the bike. The last 2.5 miles felt great. I was mentally planning next year’s race. I passed tons of people in the last ½ mile.

The announcer called my name as I finished and I pretended that I was in the Olympics. I finished in 41 minutes.

Overall I was 41/51 in my age group and 411 out of 567 participants. I will definitely do this again. Training for the tri helped me get out of the worst rut in my life. It helped me to pull myself up by the bootstraps. I don’t know how I would have survived my son’s expected due date without having the race and training as a crutch.

So, if I can do it, anyone can! 


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date: February 7, 2007

Angie M