After my last soccer practice my senior year in high school, I swore I’d never run another mile ever again. I hated running. It hurt my hips. I also run as slow as a sloth. However, once I got to college, my best friend lured me to the gym and ever since then, I was hooked. I thought it was awesome that I had more options than just running! I could bike or do the elliptical or stair climber… and on a rare occasion, run.
In college I ran my very first race ever, a 5k. I remembered back to my high school oath of never running another mile ever again. Well, I ran 3 instead! I’d like to say that I was hooked on running after that or that I was hooked on races after that, but that was not the case.
I was a nursing major in college, which, if you ask me, is the same as majoring in stress.
I’m a pretty high-strung person to begin with and the pressure of nursing school was taking a toll on me. So I ran for stress relief. I ran to blow off steam. I ran because my butt and legs hurt from sitting in class for 4 straight hours. I ran to get away from all the other stressed out nursing majors. And I ran as a way to put off studying for another 45 minutes. I still sucked at running and it hurt my hips, but I learned to enjoy it.
After I graduated college and started working as a nurse in a busy ER, I kept on running. I even joined the local YMCA.
I really enjoyed going to the gym, but after a while it got boring. I didn’t push myself and I was pretty much in a rut. I think I worked out partly so I could eat ice cream every night and partly because I was bored—and single. Not the best reasons, but enough to get me the gym.
One blustery cold day in March, I was leaving the gym after yet another boring, mediocre workout and a sign caught my eye. It was for the annual triathlon in June. “Hmmmm…”, I thought, “maybe if I have something to train for, I’ll push myself and be more motivated!” And so that night, I left the gym, registration paper in hand ready to swim ½ a mile, bike 17 miles and run 5 miles. (Check out the Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Triathlon)
That night I told my family what I was planning on doing. I have 3 very athletic younger brothers and they laughed at me. I don’t think anyone thought I would actually do a triathlon. At that moment, I made up my mind and signed up. I signed up to prove them wrong and to show them I could do this. I signed up to give myself a goal. I signed up because… well… why not?
Ok… now what? The only thing I knew about triathlons was that you had to swim, bike and run. So I went to Barnes & Noble to see if they had any books on the subject. Turns out there are a ton of books written about triathlons. It also turns out that all of the books either put me to sleep with their pictureless pages or intimidated the crap out of me. Even the triathlon magazines made me cringe as I pictured myself wearing a singlet. Every single picture I looked at featured a thin, muscular, determined looking triathlete whose thighs didn’t jiggle when they ran. Where are all the triathlon books for normal people? Do normal people even do triathlons?