What inspired me to start triathlon? - Guest post by Katie

My friend Katie is one of the most inspiring, hard-working, dedicated, humble, community-minded, generous and articulate people I know. I invited her to write about what inspired her to start in triathlon and the importance of community.  

She speaks passionately and freely in person about all of this and more. She does not normally blog so I'm grateful she took me up on this offer. Here's your chance to learn more from someone who inspires me to work hard to make my dreams come true... Take it away Katie!

As I watched their lean, strong, fit, sun-kissed bodies run along the beach I knew I wanted to be like them one day.  As they pushed themselves to the brink and ascended the hundreds of stairs I was further inspired by their endurance and power.  

photo courtesy of Keith Cartmell

Escape from Alcatraz was on my to do list for over twenty years before it became a reality.  This was not my first triathlon but it was one of the most memorable ones that I have participated in.

My triathlon journey began in Edmonton Alberta after a series of athletic, academic and personal life changes.  I remember relearning the front crawl and being horrified at how slow and inept I was at this common stroke.  I was motivated by the athletes in the pool who were so much faster and more fluid than I was.  

My humbling continued as I attempted my first “real” road bike ride.  I was in awe of these flashy tight fitting outfits donned by cyclists affixed to their steeds by wild shoe contraptions.  

I rocked up alongside them with my used bicycle that was too big for me and was equipped with low tech basket cages for the toes of my JOGGERS to go into!  

Lets just say for me the ride consisted of a lot of heavy breathing, swearing, humiliation and total glycogen depletion.

Over the next few weeks and months I would continue to struggle with my awkward bike fit, poor flappy parachute-like clothing, and ill-fitting pedals.  I learned a lot about fuelling, headwinds, hand signals and SUCKING IT UP.   

My first triathlon was Coronation in Edmonton.  It offered unique distances with a 1000 m pool swim, 26 km bike and 8 km run.  I discovered that riding over railway tracks repeatedly in a triathlon is annoying, scary, and it sure does a hell of a job on your wheels.  I got a FLAT tire (a first for me) and didn’t even realize it right away.  The good thing about being a novice is you don’t know what a flat tire feels like until you are DONE THE BIKE and are utterly exhausted and irritated by the clunking you have experienced the last several kilometres!

Since this first race, I have delved into longer and more exotic destinations for races.  To be honest, I LOVE the training.  I love the discomfort, the sweat, and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  I yearn for the workouts, the socializing, and the before and after heckles and laughs.  I get excited to ride on the trainer and embrace the pain with my community of Tri and bike peeps.  I miss the smell of chlorine when I don’t get to the pool enough.  I get extremely grumpy when I can’t run so I turn to the pool for mental toughness water running when necessary.  

Training is where you truly suffer and improve.  I love Rule #5 from the cycling rules and try to employ this on difficult days.  I sometimes don’t quite get the numbers or times I desire, but I thrive on the possibility of someday reaching them.  The truth is, I will never achieve all the watts, seconds, and muscles I seek, but that’s what keeps me going.  That, and because the people in the community are so intelligent, talented and multidimensional are addictive to be around.  I love my buddies who participate in triathlon and yet have a balance of life outside of the sport as well.

I look forward to my next race, but I CRAVE MY NEXT WORKOUT like a bag jelly beans or a hot coffee from 7-11.  

I hope to partake in this sport for decades to come.  I'm continually motivated by my friends of all ages, shapes and sizes who excel and endure in triathlon.  I appreciate the tenacity of too many to name but wish to acknowledge the positivity and passion that my buddy MC exudes in many life domains.



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