If someone had asked college Jen to do a triathlon, she probably would have laughed in your face or called you ridiculous…most likely both. Although I have always been a runner, I hadn’t owned a bike since elementary school and my swimming skills consisted of sitting on a float at the indoor lazy river on Sundays with my hungover friends. TRUE STORY!
If you read my running history, then you have some idea of how college Jen grew into a half marathoner and eventually a triathlete over the last 10 years. I’ve completed 4 sprints and 1 Olympic distance triathlon since falling in love the sport in 2010. Truth be told, my initial motivation was…well, if my younger brother can do, so can I. And last year, I beat him in a race (sorry kid!).
The idea for this post came to me during Monday’s BRICK workout. With my first triathlon of the season rapidly approaching (less than 4 weeks away…yikes!), I was excited to get back into my training schedule. As I was riding, I started thinking about what makes a BRICK workout so exciting and why it is I keep sign up for these demanding races.
So without further ado…
The Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Triathlons
1. They make me feel strong and capable
If you can swim, bike, then run with a smile on your face, then can’t you take on anything?
2. I remember to treat my body well
This means eating right to fuel long workouts, getting plenty of rest, and dealing with stress.
3. They challenge me both physically and mentally
Anyone who runs knows that it is as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. Rising to that challenge is an indescribable feeling!
4. Triathletes are a warm and welcoming crowd
I love meeting other athletes, especially during local races. Before my first triathlon, I went swimming in Lake Michigan to face my fear of open water. After 15 minutes of wrestling into my wet suit, I was beyond intimidated before even sticking a toe in the water. The nicest man (and fellow triathlete) talked me through it, gave me tips, and gently encouraged me. That was the day that I learned that finishing just one race makes you part of a supportive community.
5. Training makes for good dinner party conversation
People are amazed to discover my triathlon hobby. I think because they don’t realize that anyone can complete a sprint triathlon, you just have to train. Before I knew anything about tri’s, I was always interested in what motivated someone to try this race and what the training looked like. There’s always a lot to talk about in regards to equipment, workouts, and chaffing stories.
6. They give my weekends direction
I am motivated to get up and at ‘em Saturday morning when I know that I have a scheduled workout to do. They get my day started and the weekend started right! (See Number 1)
7. Cross training prevents injuries and boredom
Each day is a different combination of running, cycling, and swimming. For me, this prevents burn out because if I don’t want to swim, I can grab my bike and head outdoors and if I’m not in the mood to run, I know where to find the pool. Cross training (along with yoga) keeps my muscles balanced and prevents overuse injuries.
8. It’s a healthy hobby that gets me outdoors
I’ve never been very crafty and don’t collect coins or stamps. It’s good to have something non work related that interests and challenges you. It’s even better if it supports a healthy lifestyle!
9. I learn something new each time
I am a total rookie at the sport and love soaking in the knowledge of experienced triathletes and learning tips and strategies along the way. In every race, I face a new fear (hi, open water!), overcome an obstacle, and push myself farther. Although I still haven’t learned to braid my own hair : )
10. My entire family gets involved
My brother and mom have both done tri’s and my dad is the best photographer out there. The BOY is the first one to put my bike on the car in the morning and has the strength to take it off after the race when I am heading straight for the shower. There’s always someone to celebrate with me after a nap. This upcoming triathlon will be really fun when the BOY and I host our families for a Father’s Day BBQ after the race.
Have you ever done a triathlon?
Do you want to?
What do you love about your hobbies?