California - Tri Dreamin'

author : docgill
comments : 10

One year ago I was 90 pounds heavier and dreaming of being able to walk without a wobble. I never considered doing a triathlon.

One year ago I was 90 pounds heavier and dreaming of being able to walk without a wobble. I never considered a triathlon. That was the thing really strange and fit people did while I was home sitting in front of the computer - again. I put all my effort into my career and school not thinking that these would suffer from a lack of exercise, or even fresh air!

June 2004

I graduated from my last credential. A PhD. It felt great. But I didn't. I needed to breathe and I couldn't. My chest was tight and my legs were wooden. A friend suggested that I see a trainer just to get me motivated to get up and out. Anything to help me enjoy even a small part of my own success. Two weeks later I was at my first training session. Self-conscious? You bet! The oldest pair of shorts I had were still not big enough, and my tee-shirt barely fit. Horrified at my own appearance I dragged myself as an unwilling participant to my own improvement.

August 2004

Two months into the twice-a-week regime I was a few pounds lighter, able to walk upright again, and had started to think that perhaps there might be something to be gained from continuing to show up for circus training. Paul, my trainer, was very encouraging and very realistic. We talked about a 5k...well he talked and I listened in disbelief. I knew that if I could make it through a few more weeks I might be able to walk with my head up at least.

December 2004

"Happy Holidays" the card said. Paul had written me a note of thanks for staying with the program. I was somewhat smaller than 6 months ago. Two sizes to be exact. Down from a 22 to an 18. I had a change of heart somewhere between June and December and was now thinking that if I had a goal, like a 5k, I could aim high. Paul said, "Let's try for the Newport Beach Sprint." I thought it was a run. I had not reckoned on the swim or the bike!

March 2005

One month to go before tri-day. I was actually registered and scared to death. Me. I was going to attempt three activities with no break. Now down to almost size 14. I had run a 5k. I had actually completed a half mile swim in a pool with a wet suit, goggles, ear plugs, and a nose clip. I had rubbed and scrubbed all the rust and dust off a bike that could easily be considered an antique. I was aiming high. All I wanted to do was finish.

Race Day

My wave started at 7:03am. I got there at 5 a.m. sick to my stomach. I was so hydrated my teeth were floating. I was sweating in my wet suit. I had to go to the bathroom - again. I got in the water with all the orange caps. Breathing and splashing I made it in 24 minutes.


Uphill run through sand to T1. What was I thinking trying to do this? Everyone looked so fit. I rolled off the wet suit and two other competitors watched me struggle to pull on a run top over my wet head and body. They came over and pulled it over my head making T1 a mere 3 minutes.


On the bike. Hills, hills, oh so many hills. 55 minutes and I was back at T2. Still with sand in my toes, I pulled on running shoes and danced over the timing mat into the run. I say danced. It probably looked like shook.


One mile into the run and I was trying to force down GU, looking for water. I was still upright. I was still in this thing. I was going to finish. I saw my friends at the finish line. My trainer gave me a high-five and cheered for me. I heard my mum [in my head] telling me I could do anything. I raced to the finish line with my partner at my side for the last 100 yards. What an unbelievable high. I did it. I got off the chair, out of the house, and into the rest of my lucky, lucky, life.



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date: June 14, 2005