We were in Tallahassee, FL yesterday for the Tri the Rez and it got me thinking about how we got into racing. I’ve lost track of the number of times that people have asked if we’ve always been runners, and the answer to that is not at all! Colin’s sports of choice growing up were rugby and cricket. Mine were softball and volleyball. So yes, we both grew up playing sports but none of them were endurance sports. In college, I played several intramural sports because I’m just naturally competitive and I missed that aspect of my high school and club teams. (I’m pretty sure being competitive is genetic because there were some pretty rough games of Shoots and Ladders and Monopoly growing up!) During college I ran occasionally but it was more to try and balance out all the junk food I ate than for any other reason.
It all really started when we moved to South Africa. Once we moved into our own place we didn’t have much to do other than work because we hadn’t met any new people yet. So we joined the gym right up the road and started working out more. I really enjoyed running and getting on the bike. Colin had always loved his mountain bike and he would frequently take it to these crazy trails that were behind our apartment. Colin was always trying to get me to go with him, but after walking those same trails and busting my butt, there was no way I was going to attempt to ride down them on a bike!! I made him a promise though. I told him when we moved back to America, I would try out a road bike. Meanwhile, back in America, our good friend Matt had started doing triathlons. Fast forward several months to when Colin and I are back home….
About 3 weeks after we get back Matt had convinced Colin to do a sprint triathlon with him. With borrowed gear and very little training Colin got out there and loved it. He had been bitten by the triathlon bug. About two weeks later I went and got fitted and bought my first bike. I did my first sprint about 3 weeks later. I too was bitten. The thing that sold me was the atmosphere. On the run people were high fiving at the turn around and just cheering each other on! Yes, you are competing against everyone but it’s more of a personal race against yourself.
It didn’t take very long for us to realized we loved this sport. At the beginning of the next season, again with Matt’s influence, we decided to sign up for Ironman 70.3 in Augusta. Yes, 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles on the bike, with a 13.1 mile run to finish it up. That year there were very early mornings, several hours in the pool, many miles on the bike and countless runs. After doing the half Ironman I was able to do one last sprint and a duathlon before our Ironbaby came to be.
Most people are intimidated by triathlons but there is no need to be! The swim intimidated me the most when I started. I grew up on the coast so I’ve been swimming since I was young but never learned proper technique or the whole breathing aspect. Practice, practice, practice!! If you have any desire to do a triathlon I really encourage you to get out there and do it! Borrow some gear and give it a try. I’ve put triathlons on hold for the time being but I look forward to getting back out there. In the meantime, I’ll continue to be Colin’s support crew as he tackles the full Ironman!!