There is something amazingly invigorating about a 750 meter swim, 20K bike ride and 5K run, competing alongside some 600 participants…and the achievement of being able to claim the title of “triathlete” (even at a sprint distance!).
It wasn’t the sport that held the draw for me; nor the physical benefits – though rather advantageous after having two wonderful kiddos! Personally, I was intrigued with the conquest…and comforted by the distraction.
Life trials are inevitable and while I would mostly prefer to avoid them at all costs, I do recognize and accept the fact that they will, eventually, lead to improved character, buffing me into a better person so long as I persevere the course – knowing when to press forward and when to coast along to catch my breath – recognizing along the way the truth that I am not the one ultimately in control of it all.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon
Fear…it’s an interesting emotion. An inhibiting feeling that, in the absence of, may result in amazing achievements far surpassing human understanding and probability. Disposing of this useless, yet persistent, annoyance is – what I believe to be – the first step in conquering the end goal.
I suppose this is the reason I chose to take my life’s frustrations onto the track, bike, and – since the swim is mandatory for this particular race – into the pool (or the lake on race day, ugh). In the summer of 2010, along with my astoundingly supportive little sis, I (WE!) earned the title of “triathlete.” Thankfully, the triumph was accomplished simply by crossing that finish line, regardless of speed or grace – which is good because we finished our first tri on our MoUNtaIn BiKeS!
I can’t make claim that I excel in any of the three events, that I have superior equipment or more than adequate training – I am, after all, a mom with a bit more to do (and spend time/money on) than my hobbies. Which is exactly how I came to discover that moms can be triathletes too. Not only can we be great athletes ~ we have been in training since day one and didn’t even know it! Yep, all that lugging of the bucket seat, chasing after that toddler and piggy back riding when little legs get too tired to walk on their own has sparked an inner athlete that need but only to be directed and perfected for the sport.
It’s as simple as that: keep doing what you’re doing and have fun with it! Practicing the specific skills is an important element too, but can often be accomplished with kids in tow. Of course, some kid swapping is helpful – especially for sanity, but absolutely take the opportunity to instill the love of physical activity and the great outdoors with your children.
While admittedly lacking, my training in this area is often accomplished as my children splash around – under the direct supervision of a lifeguard on duty – in the children’s pool at our recreation center. When they were younger, they required one-on-one attention, which made swimming more complicated – I would either use the gym nursery or swap workouts with a friend. Even a day at the pool teaching kiddos simple skills and having fun helped me gain confidence in the water, so never pass up the opportunity to jump in!
Biking with little ones is surprisingly convenient – and enjoyable – once you are prepared with the right equipment. Over the years, I have used various bike attachments for my kids. I have found inexpensive equipment at yard sales or used sporting equipment stores, which is nice because they do grow out of these rather quickly. My favorite gear so far has been our bike trailer – not only because I can still squeeze both kids into it at ages 8 and 5 (but now they fight…and it’s a tight fit, ha) but because it converts into a jogger as well. I love the dual purpose.
We have made it a morning tradition to either walk or bike to school – works for us because the school is just around the corner, but it assures a little fresh air and reminder for the importance of activity in our day.
Running is my absolute favorite form of exercise…but that was not always the case. It hurts. Honest but true…however, the pain does subside with training, and when it does, the sport is quick, affordable and majestically beautiful in our lovely state. I think it’s one of the best health-conscious family activities Colorado has to offer – well, maybe second to skiing, wink.
Using a jogger or convertible trailer during training will make your 5K feel like a walk in the park! A smart mom gave me the tip of keeping restlessness at bay by offering up a favorite snack while you’re out on the trail…because you might find yourself too winded to use the reliable parenting tactic of lecturing, yelling and the like.
Putting all three activities into a single event is trying indeed, but most certainly not beyond that of carrying a child for nine months, giving birth (ok, so I admittedly had cesarean sections…but hey, that wasn’t easy stuff either!) and absolutely not a challenge beyond that of being a mother – on the clock every hour, every moment of every day. When it begins to feel like too much, add hydration, quick caloric energy and undeniable confidence and determination…you will soon find yourself crossing that finish line…and on to the next quest!
I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. ~Larry Bird