Monday, June 27, 2011

The Tri I Tried

I had the wonderful experience of volunteering for the Ironman Texas back in May. It was an amazing event and I stood in complete awe at the men and women who bravely took on the challenge set before them.

Being a hometown event, I knew many athletes that participated in the race and had a great time being there to cheer them on, encourage them, and support them by way of the aid station I was assigned to.

Many of my running friends have mentioned to me that I should consider competing in such an event. I have said repeatedly that there is NO WAY, I would ever do a Tri, never mind an IRONMAN! When pressed for the reason why, my answer is simple...the swim.

I can swim. I can't swim well or with much endurance at all. And in my mind, I had decided that there is no way I could ever do that "tri" thing. Then something occurred to me. I was making a decision to allow my fear to make my decisions for me.

When I think back over the last 4.5 years, I can recall thinking, "there is no way that I could ever run a mile, never mind that David Fun Run (a local 5K)". But I did enjoy spinning classes until they became frustrating to me. I didn't enjoy sitting in an air conditioned room anymore. I wanted to be outside, enjoying God's world. So I made a decision. I promised myself that if I could take up running for 3 months, an activity I knew I could never do because of my exercise induced asthma, I would buy myself a bike and enjoy the out-of-doors more.

Why this thought came to my mind, I do not know. But within 3 weeks, I completed my first mile, then at 5 weeks, my first 5K, then at 8 weeks, my first 5 mile race. (It should be mentioned that I do NOT recommend this plan to anyone...I was an idiot!)

I became hooked on running and found great joy in it! I still do! I am challenged by my own progress and look forward to continued growth within this discipline. But I had to make the decision to not let my fear of running, my fear of my asthma, make the decision for me. I jumped in, albeit somewhat reluctantly some days, and gave it my best. I have been able to do many things I never could have imagined I would do 5 years ago. I have learned about inner strength and determination and even more, I have learned about trusting in God's plan for my life. Yes, I do believe that God has a plan and helps me to discover it and carry it out through running.

So, back to May 22, 2011. I caught myself being entrapped by the fear of swimming in a tri. I knew that I could not allow this to be the reason I didn't do the tri. Fear is lack of faith and I am doing all that I can to live my faith, so fear is no longer an option.

I began discussing, quietly, very, very quietly, the possibility of doing a sprint tri. I began swimming more and more and am beginning to feel a bit more comfortable in the water, though not THAT comfortable.

Then about 2 weeks ago, Richard asked me if I would like to participate in the Y Freedom Tri in Pearland. He offered to have us do this race as a relay team, he doing the hard parts, (the swim and bike) and me running the 3 miler. He thought that by me participating, I might feel more comfortable in signing up to do one on my own someday.

Turns out, he was right! The race was not at all scary, though I will admit I am still very intimidated by the swim. I am no longer in fear of the race. I had a great time watching everyone compete, learned much about transitioning, and gained some insight into what it would be like to have to pace myself through such an event.

Richard signed us up as Team Pax. We had a blast and even came in 1st place for the Mixed Relay Division! And what's more, we even met George Washington!

So, is there a Tri in my future? Probably. Not sure when, but if it comes up, I won't be so eager to say "No!"


  1. Good for you and congrats on first place! I was out there supporting my wife. Wish I would have known you were there!

  2. Funny how we branched out on the same weekend! And who better to team up with than Richard:)

    I'm with you, the swim is a different animal-do-able, but challenging!

    Congrats star!

  3. hmm, I think an Ironman in the making. Great Job

  4. It truly was a great weekend; I am glad to have shared it with you as you stepped into a wider world and challenged your fears.
    I learned a few things about myself along the way!

  5. Great job on Sunday! Glad to hear you now think doing a tri is possible. :) For new swimmers like you, I always recommend a pool swim. Y Tri is a perfect example but there are several others in the area too!

  6. Great job Karen! Glad you are open to possibly giving a tri a try...I can totally relate on the swimming fears, but if I can overcome the fear, I think anyone can! You can totally do it!