Thursday, September 9, 2010


At the end of my pregnancy with Nova, I realized that the last calendar year in which I was not pregnant was 2006. I decided then and there that 2010 was going to be my year. I knew I wanted something big, a goal that was attainable but definitely a challenge. I had heard about the YWCA Women's Triathlon, and it seemed like the right fit for me. It's a sprint triathlon (the shortest of the tri distances) and is all women. There's a ton of support for first timers, and the YWCA is close to our house. I was set. And I had no idea what I was getting into.

By March, when registration for the event opened, I was terrified. I had tried to keep to a regular work-out schedule, but it just wasn't happening. Gus didn't like the babysitting room at the Y, and the teachers had to come get me with a sobbing toddler at least half of the time. Nova was great (because Nova is great) but it wasn't working for Gus. I confided to Dave that I was too afraid to register because I wasn't sure I would be in good enough shape to finish the race come August. I believe he said something like, "Well, if you're not ready - get ready."

Dave promised to watch the kids as often as need be so that I could work out. I did some reading online, and registered with I went to a clinic for first time triathletes, and I chose a training plan. I held my breath when I clicked the "register" button, and knew I was going to compete, for better or worse.

By the end of April, everything had changed. The kids had got the hang of the babysitting room (and instead of coming to find me, Gus would scream "I don't want to go home!" when I'd pick him up). I was doing 9 work-outs a week over 6 days - 3 running, 3 biking, 3 swimming. We'd become a car-free family, so instead of driving to the Y, I was now biking the mile and a half with both kids: a great exercise in endurance, if nothing else. I had read over and over that the average person could prepare for and complete a sprint tri in 12 weeks. I was ahead of the game since I had something like 18 weeks to go. I was gaining confidence and dropping my times on the track and in the pool. The only thing I wasn't dropping was pounds.

After 8 weeks of training, I couldn't understand it. One of the main goals of training for and competing in a triathlon was to lose weight (certainly after my two years of pregnancy, I had some extra pounds I wanted to donate). Everyone I talked to assured me that I was building muscle, and that was the important thing. Still, it was frustrating. By the beginning of June, nothing had changed. I had gone from 12 minute miles to 10 minutes miles running, and was up to 2500 yards in the pool per week. The kids and I were biking all over town, and still - no luck. I weighed the same as I had when Nova was 12 weeks old.

Suddenly in mid-June, something changed. Over the next 7 weeks, I lost almost 20 pounds. People who didn't know I was training started to notice, and I suddenly weighed less than when I got pregnant with Gus in 2007. Clothes that hadn't fit me in years were now loose on me, and I was delighted. It inspired me to keep working harder, and continue with my training through the final weeks.

By the end of my training, I was running 12 miles, swimming 3200 yards, and biking 45 to 60 miles each week. Never in my live have I had more energy or slept better (when the kids allowed, that is). On August 15th, I completed my first triathlon, and I loved it. The swim was a blast, the bike was fantastic, and the run was terribly hard. Nonetheless, my monsters were there to greet me at the finish line.

(Nova was cranky and soon fell asleep, but she was there nonetheless. More photos of me racing are here). I'm not at all ashamed to say how extremely proud of myself I am, and how exited I am to do this event again. I tell people proudly that I did my first triathlon this year, because I will absolutely one (maybe two or three) next year. I couldn't have done it without the loving support of my fantastic husband, or without my awesome brother and his girlfriend who took the kids overnight for the weekend and let me rest up for the race.

It was fun, it was motivating, and I can't wait to do it again. Most importantly, I succeeded at the goal I set for myself some 15 months ago. As Gus said many times that day, "Yay Momma!"


Catherine said...

Congratulations, Laura!!! Way to go, you are inspiring!