Like many residents of Chicago, I was fascinated by the excitement and energy surrounding the recent Chicago Triathlon, so much so that I almost signed myself up for the SuperSprint just a few days before the race. The fact that I have never done a triathlon didn’t matter. I watched all the videos and knew that physically I was more than capable of completing it. I only stopped myself because I was on vacation up until two days before the race and came back from it exhausted (Disney World just isn’t the same as relaxing on a beach somewhere).
I attended the Chicago Triathlon Expo on Saturday of race weekend and was honestly a little disappointed I wasn’t doing it. The energy of the participants was palpable. Then when I was running a race on the Lakefront Trail that Sunday morning and saw the bikers riding along Lakeshore Drive, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous.
The interest in triathlons and the temptation to sign up has been an evolving process for me. A few months ago, I wrote about how I suffered a stress fracture in my hip while running in the Disney World Marathon this past January. Three months later, I was fully cleared to run without restrictions. When I asked the surgeon at that follow-up appointment about getting back into running, one comment she made in passing was, “you should do triathlons.”
And so the seed was planted…
I have considered triathlons at different points over the years but more in a “someday” sort of way. I thought they were only for elite athletes or superhumans. But while I may not be Ironman material (yet), I certainly consider myself athletic. The more I have learned and read and seen, the more I have come to realize that a triathlon is most definitely within my reach.
While I still consider myself primarily a runner, I think that shifting my perspective toward becoming a triathlete is no longer in the “someday” realm. My training and workouts have already started to change. I still run a lot. I’m still training for the Chicago Marathon in just a few weeks and then Disney in January and Boston next April. Running is something I’m good at and enjoy doing (when I’m not injured, of course). But now I also ride the bike at the gym much more, and I try to swim laps at least 1-2 days a week.
And you know what? I actually really like these things too.
True, I’m not doing open water swimming and the bike is stationary, but it’s a process and I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. I have spent some time looking at bikes, and this past weekend I took the plunge and ordered a really nice road bike for myself. I’m looking forward to getting it and enjoying some of the city’s trails this fall. A few weeks ago I ran along the North Branch Trail and thought how much more fun it would be on a bike.
When I start to think about racing after Boston next year, my thoughts have shifted to summer triathlons – sprint, international, maybe even a 70.3? Crazy I know, but I’ve got lots of time to prepare. I’m not giving up running anytime soon, but the challenge of becoming an even stronger, more well-rounded endurance athlete excites and energizes me. I’ll keep you updated on my progress!