a humbling experience of which I recommend

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm writing this while sitting in the laundry room of my boyfriend's apartment. You see, there's a tornado warning out there and this is an interior room away from windows. There was somewhere around zero tornado warnings the first 3 summers I lived in Wisconsin, so I'm happy to report that in the first summer when Stephen lives here we've already had a handful. (his first winter here broke coldness records.)

I did make the mistake of starting a load of laundry (when in Rome...) and now every time the washer (which I'm sitting inches from) makes a weird noise (constantly), I perk up thinking I'm hearing a funnel cloud coming through the windows.

In short, I thought it was high time for a blog post.

I crossed something (big) off My 101 in 1001 List: I completed a triathlon!!

I forgot to wear my blue jeans
I tried the Wisconsin Triterium Triathlon in Verona, Wisconsin on Saturday! (results here to prove I'm not lying - and for my dad who surely misses looking at box scores. :) )

Overall, I will say: it was hard. But worth it.

Let's start with the swim. Everyone told me before the race "Open water swimming is really different, you should try it before the triathlon." Did I? Nope. But, it wasn't all because of pure laziness. Open water swimming can be dangerous if you're alone, and, as I knew swimming would be a challenge for me regardless, I was comfortable with practicing in a pool and just mentally preparing for the open-waterness.

For me, the weirdest part of open water swimming is how you are just constantly touching other people. Arms, legs, feet, hands, all flailing around in murky, unclear water. Also, weeds. But, I managed to finish respectably with others in my group. (probably in the bottom third but decidedly in the bottom third). Also, I repeated the mantra "It's better slow and alive than fast and dead" in my head. That proved oddly motivational.

The bike course? I should have tried beforehand. I cannot overstate the number of hills in the 11 mile bike route. Hills on hills on hills. I'm convinced this course is the hilly-est stretch in this mid-western, ostensibly FLAT state. (Hello, tornado warning.) Hills for days.

Biking was by far the most humbling component of the experience. I just kept getting passed. They do this thing at tri's where they marker up your body. They write your bib number on your arm and one calf, as shown:

post race gun show (note: although this pictures suggests otherwise, I was not sponsored by lululemon ;) )
On your other calf they write your age and an "S" for sprint or an "O" for olympic (longer distances). So, I got the joy of watching women pass me on bikes.....and knowing that they were 55 years old. Countless females passed me who were over 40 as I struggled my way up the endless hills. Did I mention there were hills?

Did the older triathletes have road bikes and was I one of few people riding a hybrid? Yes.
Were they also better bikers than me? Absolutely.

my bike and Lake Monona
So, I will say I have a long way to go until the Tour de France but a little dose of humility now and then never hurt anyone!

After the misery of the bike, the run felt much better! Not that I did great (actually, I ran at a pretty slow pace for me), but I got to end on the note of passing people versus being passed.And I was beyond happy to cross the finish line in one piece!

Overall, I enjoyed the experience, and if you're looking to find a new, fun thing to train for that isn't exclusively running, I highly recommend you try a tri. Feel free to hit me up with beginner questions! (I'm no ironman.)

Shout out to my two friends, Ainsley and Fran who completed the race with me! And to Stephen for waking up at 5:20am to come support us! Another lesson learned: next time, we should take "before" pictures.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. So my comment posted twice and I tried to delete one.. and then they both deleted. But what I said was: I really want to try a triathlon, but I'm pretty sure I would drown, so we should do a team one where I bike and you do the rest :)