When Susan asked me to write a blog entry about triathlon I wasn't sure what to write. It was hard to write about just one aspect, because it touches my life in so many ways. I tend to be a tech-y, data oriented, analytical athlete, so my first thought was to break down and explain each discipline. But really, what fun is that? As I sat and thought about it for awhile, all my training and racing memories flowed by and made me excited and giddy. So, I decided to share with you what triathlon means to me and how it touches and inspires my life every day.
I remember the first time I watched a triathlon. I was a young kid, maybe 7 or 8, flipping through the TV channels. I stopped on NBC's broadcast of the Triathlon World Championship in Kona. Immediately, I became glued to the TV, amazed by what I saw. As I reflect back, this was the spark to what became a burning inferno. As I grew older the flame grew as I dabbled in and out of swimming, biking and running. I am not a natural athlete (some might say clumsy :)) and never found myself to be great at any of the three disciplines. It wasn't until a few years ago that I pieced them all together and did my first triathlon, and what do you know? I found something I was good at.
Like most triathletes, I was quickly addicted to the sport. It is so much more to me than swim, bike, and run. It's a test of my limits, strength and courage. It's the positive race atmosphere and the community coming together to put on the events. It's another competitor smiling at me on the bike or giving me a thumbs up on the run. It’s the crowd cheering “Rock on, lookin' good” when I'm bloated, tired and possibly feeling at my worst. It's eating a half gallon of ice cream guilt free! (I'm not advising anyone do this; I'm just sayin' :).
Triathlon gives back what I put in. It has taught me time management and planning. Have you ever gone to the pool and forgotten your swimsuit, thereby missing a workout? Or maybe discovered two left running shoes in your bag? Do this a few times and planning will become second nature.
I have a new found appreciation for nature and am thankful to live and train in such a beautiful city. There is no better way to start the day than running toward the sun when it's rising, or racing the daylight on my bicycle when the sun sets. Somehow the sky always wins. I never seem to learn that!
I've been given lessons on patience and am often humbled by the sport. We're given one body and have to work with what we have. We can test our limits but must also know our limits so as not to abuse ourselves. Abuse is only for race day. (Kidding!) As someone who is still rather new to the sport, I've made many mistakes. Live and learn, right? A recent injury sparked creativity and made me realize that I can make lemonade out of sour lemons. A fracture to my fibula prevented me from running on land, so instead I took it to the water and kept up my run endurance via aqua jogging. When the glass becomes half empty tip it over (with lid on!) and now the glass is half full. I've learned we must always think outside the box, and be ready to execute alternate plans. Always race with a smile as it is contagious and does a body and soul good.
I'm often inspired by watching friends or complete strangers achieve personal records or defy boundaries. Triathlon is accepting of all - young and old, fit and curvy, those with amazing genetics and those that may be disabled. We all race together yet I think the majority of us race against ourselves – searching and reaching for that next PR. The start of the race begins in the water and will end at the glorious finisher’s line. Everything in the middle is what we call triathlon.
This year I've set my goals/dreams high, as I've signed up for Ironman Canada, hoping this will be the first of many Ironman races in my future. My friends and family tease me (in a positive way of course!). They think I'm a little “crazy”. I reply “I'm crazy in love with multi sport.”
Editors note: Katie was the 2nd place female finisher at the 2009 Canby Gator Grinder Triathlon on May 9th, 2009. She is pictured above along with TE staff members Renata, Jeff, Susan and Edna, Renata's son Erik, and TE friend Laura.
For race day, Katie chose to wear a Louis Garneau Shark Power Trisuit.