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Another check on the bucket list

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I once heard Jillian Michaels say that you should never give your power away. She went on to explain that people would write to her all the time and say, "Jillian, you saved my life" or "Jillian, you made me healthy", etc. She said something like, "It drives me crazy when people say that. *I* didn't do it. *THEY* did it. *THEY* were the ones that put in the hours in the gym or at home. *THEY* were the ones that made the healthy choices. All I did was point them in the right direction, give them some tools." So with that in mind, I don't want to say that Sparkpeople made me complete my first triathlon on Sunday, but boy, oh boy, did I ever get the tools and the guidance here! Five years ago, at 250 pounds, it would have been unthinkable to me to do even one leg of a tri, let alone the whole thing. But I did it! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

It all started a few years ago when my friend Molly started training for her first triathlon. I kept thinking to myself, wow I wish I could do that. And maybe you're sitting here reading this, thinking the same thing. Well, stop wishing and DO it! You will not regret it! There are tri's of every size. I did a Sprint tri, which, for mine, consisted of a 250 yard swim, a 9 mile bike ride, and a 2 mile run.

Now, let me tell you. I was never a swimmer. I've always enjoyed splashing around in the water, and could mostly get myself from point A to point B. However, swimming laps? Um, maybe once or twice like twenty years ago. So that was a big hurdle for me. In fact, my first time swimming laps at our aquatic center, I was only able to make it one lap (50 yards) before I had to stop. emoticon Yikes. I had a LOT of work to do.

Oh, and have I mentioned that it had been about twenty years since the last time I was on a real (read: not spin or other stationary type) bike? Um, yeah, that was a whole other hurdle to overcome. I fell numerous times, still have the scar to show for it.

Fortunately, I have really good friends. One of them, Mel, I met here on Spark. I convinced her to do her first tri about the same time as me. She is such a rock star because she was just as nervous as me, but she went first and finished her tri a couple of weeks before me. The other one is someone I know in "real" life and she actually competed alongside me. These 2 ladies pushed, inspired and encouraged me more than they'll ever know!

The morning of the race was cool, especially since we arrived at the site at 6:30 AM. But our nerves helped warm us up. :)

They divided us into waves for the swim, based on our predicted swim finish times. I was in group 5, my friend, Mary in group 3. The 10's were the super speedy people so they started first. It was a bit daunting when the first RUNNER came by before I even got in the water, but I just put that out of my head as best I could and focused on MY race.

Finally, it was time to get in the water. I was on the side of the pool with the platform dives, so the water was 11.5 feet deep. Yikes. That messed with my head just a bit, but once I started swimming, all of the nerves and worries floated away. I finished my swim, happy to do the whole thing using a freestyle stroke and headed to the transition area. My bike was pretty easy to find because they had us lined up by our numbers and because I had a bright, neon pink bucket that my kids and hubby helped me decorate next to my bike. This was to hold my towel, shoes, etc. and then you flip it over and sit on it to put your shoes and socks on. So helpful!


Biking was next. This was the part I was the most concerned about. I know everyone says the biking is the easiest part, but for me, it was the hardest. I didn't realize how worried I was about falling again until I was walking my bike out of the transition area. I had a moment where I wasn't sure I could get on. But then I realized that I had worked way too hard to let fear stand in my way, so I put on my big girl pants and started on the bike. The course was VERY hilly, but not once did I have to get off my bike and walk it up the hills. I was very pleased about that because quite a few folks had to.


After the bike portion, the run was up. And then down. And then up. Lol. But amazingly, I still had legs left and the volunteers cheering us all on were absolutely amazing. After I finished, I went over to the running trail to wait for my friend, Mary. Soon enough she came by. She was running like a champ and cheering her on was so special. Perhaps the sweetest part, a mutual friend of ours came to cheer us both on. I don't often have anyone looking for me at the finish--someone has to stay home with the kiddos, so it was a treat to hear my friend rooting for me.


I told everyone that I was HOPING to finish in under 1:40, but my secret goal was to finish sub 1:30. My official time is 1:09:45!!! WHAT? I thought it was a typo. I thought I was looking at the wrong line. I triple checked it. That's really my time. I am beside myself. Of course, I tell the hubster, and his response is, "Alright! That means sub-60 next year, right?" "Yeah, right," is my sarcastic reply. And then I think, wait, why not? So my goal for next year is sub 60! WHOO HOO! I can hardly wait!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TIME2BLOOM4ME
    emoticon
    1428 days ago
  • JMCADE
    This is amazing for you. Not that I would ever doubt that you would do so well!!! You are a truer inspiration to me. I will take you at your word and look for one like that around here to get me going. We miss you on the panthers. I hope that your time away is doing all that you hoped it would and look forward to seeing back with us soometime in the not so distant future!!!!

    Congrats.
    1528 days ago
  • AEHEGE
    So glad you shared your experience! We miss you in the Panther den, but wish you well in all you are doing!
    1529 days ago
  • FIT-AT-50
    Jeni, I'm so proud of you. I never doubted that you'd rock this race, but under 1:10?!? Really? Way to go!!!

    BTW, we're missing you over in BLCland and hope that you're enjoying a much needed change of focus and pace.

    emoticon emoticon
    1530 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/29/2012 3:34:34 PM
  • LW8843
    Way to go Jeni! That's so awesome!
    1531 days ago
  • ZIGGY7611
    Awesome! Congratulations on your success! A triathlon is on my list of long term goals. When I start to flounder or doubt myself, I will remember this blog. Thanks for sharing!! emoticon emoticon
    1531 days ago
  • JEM0622
    Congrats on your accomplishment!
    1532 days ago
  • BIGBROTHER323
    You can do 60! Oh, and I love Mel, too!
    1532 days ago
  • ALLTHNGSPOSSBLE
    Very nice job! I haven't ever done a tri yet. I keep have people tell me I should do one and I, like you, have a friend who is training for one next spring. She can't swim either. I have just the opposite problem of most people. I can swim, it's the running that gets to me and I have completed 3 half marathons now. LOL! How funny, right? Maybe I should start training and do a tri next spring about the time my friend does hers. I know I could do it and I would probably love it.
    1532 days ago
  • RONDADEBI
    I will admit I cried....I once thought about it, we have a triathlon here every year here in a small little part of the world...BUT I'm like you...scared...I don't if I would be scared at failing or completing it...might be something I might want to try...whats the worse that can happen...I might have to get off my bike and push it up a hill...
    1533 days ago
  • LIZARDG7
    Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!

    Congratulations!!
    !!! Hugs, Lizzie
    1533 days ago
  • SASSY5468
    This blog post gave me goose bumps! Way to go!!!!!!! I could probably do a tri like that. I didn't know they had different "flavors" of them :) Thanks for teaching me something new today!
    1533 days ago
  • HARRINGTON5
    You are a ROCK STAR! That was really fantastic!
    1533 days ago
  • NUTZ4HARRY
    emoticon job on the Triathalon. Very inspiring blog!
    1533 days ago
  • NEWSTART127
    Awesome! I did my first tri on the 8th - 0.5 mi swim, 20 mile bike, 4 mile walk... it's an amazing feeling to cross the finish line! I blogged about it, too, if you want to hear how my crazy day went! Keep going! I'm hoping to do an Olympic distance next Fall, but I'm looking to build power/speed through the winter/spring. CONGRATS! Audra
    1533 days ago
  • VINOTEA
    emoticon Major emoticon on completing your first Tri!!! I love how Spark is full of people inspiring others to do amazing things. You are the second BLCer to talk about doing a Tri. Makes me want to add it to my list of "things to do". I just need to check a few runs off the list first.
    1533 days ago
  • ~ELLE~
    Congratutions!! Awesome time! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1533 days ago
  • RIVERNANNA

    You are an inspiration to everyone who wishes they could do something. We just need to get up, plan it, and DO IT!!! Just lke you did.

    Cograts!! emoticon emoticon
    1533 days ago
  • FITAT50
    emoticon Jen!! I'm so proud of you! I'v always said I can't do a tri because I can barely swim. But after reading your blog I have to say it's never to late. Congrats on your awesome finish!
    1533 days ago
  • VISUALLYRICS
    Oh Wow!! I needed to read this. I love your family support system and your pink bucket Rocks! So Smart. I have only dreamt of becoming a triathlete....I must seriously think....no, make that - PLAN this...make it happen. Thank you for inspiring me.

    I love your analogy - Yes! YOU did it! emoticon

    1533 days ago
  • TEKRU1
    Awesome, Jeni! You did it and you're already planning the next one! You are a ROCK STAR!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1533 days ago
  • REFITKIM
    Jeni, you are a ROCK STAR! Thanks for sharing in detail about your first tri! You not only did it, you accomplished the time goal, overcame some fears, etc! Woo hoo! You've certainly come a long way from when I first "met" you here on Spark years ago. You're an example to us all.
    1533 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/25/2012 9:24:24 PM
  • SKINNYSOON13
    Omg Jeni!! I am so proud of you!! What an amazing and fun blog to read and I whooped out loud about your TIME! My DD asked "what" lol

    You are so amazing - you know I want to be you when I grow up. Great job!
    1533 days ago
  • LJR4HEALTH
    emoticon Jeni emoticon You are so inspiring with all that you do


    1534 days ago
  • RHONDALYN10
    CONGRATULATIONS Jeni!!

    That is so exciting!! WAY TO GO!!!
    1534 days ago
  • FLUTTEROFSTARS
    This was such an inspiring blog - thanks for sharing your triumph!
    1534 days ago
  • WENDYDANCER
    Awesome!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1534 days ago
  • KIKA07DK
    This blog is so emoticon and inspiring! emoticon YOU did it!! emoticon on your accomplishment!
    You can do it; the sub- 60 next year! Because when you set your mind on something you don't give up until you get there!
    emoticon
    1534 days ago
  • FITNHEALTHYKAL
    Thinking back to other firsts you've mentioned and forward to new heights you will be aspiring us all to as you check bigger and faster aspirations off that hot pink bucket list! You are a tiny dynamo full of CAN DO Jeni! emoticon
    1534 days ago
  • PKCTTS
    It's great to hear that the event wasn't just a check mark (done) sort of thing but that you are already thinking about the next one. This was a very inspiring read. Thanks.
    1534 days ago
  • MGJARVI
    I'm SO excited that you're thinking "next year" already!! I think you need to write another blog that exposes EVERYTHING that is on that HOT PINK Bucket List. I need a new 'something to do'! LOL!! This blog is so awesome! YOU did it! I know just what you mean about Spark. Without Spark, then the BLC, then specifically YOU... i would NOT have that sparkly title of "Triathlete"! YOU push ME more than YOU know!! Sub 60? Oh yeah, you can do that!! If YOU are planning NEXT YEAR, I think I will too! hehehehe!!! You've created a monster....
    1534 days ago
  • CHOCOHOLIC2276
    emoticon on your accomplishments!! You and Mel certainly set the example to really push out of our comfort zone!

    Thank you for sharing your process- despite the fear, despite the doubt- you pushed through- you are emoticon
    1534 days ago
  • SHANTODD420
    Congrats and keep up the hardwork and dedication.
    1534 days ago
  • CARBJUNKIE83
    OMG HOW emoticon ARE YOU!! You are such an inspiration! Love how your hubby and kids were so supportive and helpful! Your BUCKET was SO CUTE and such an GREAT idea!!! How fun are you!!! Love this blog! This is the 2nd triathalion that I have read about in the past few days, does this mean something??? emoticon emoticon

    emoticon on your accomplishment sweetie!! Keep marking that bucket list!! Hey you should find a way to incorporate that bucket into your bucket list ..like write all your accomplishments on it or something!! emoticon
    1534 days ago
  • PEACEJENN
    Oh Jeni, that's wonderful!!!! Congratulations I'm so happy for your! :)
    1534 days ago
  • FITLIKENIC
    I have goose bumps reading your Tri-day blog! So proud of YOU!
    1534 days ago
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