Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Apple Tri

Tomorrow I will participate in my 5th Kelowna Apple Triathlon. This race has always had a special place in my heart as it was my very first triathlon.  In January of 2008, I signed up for swimming lessons, started running, kept up with my cycling, and by the end of August, I was ready.  That first race, I had a decent swim, an excellent bike (in fact, I've never come CLOSE to my 2008 bike split in subsequent years), and an ok run.  I came 4th in my 45-49 age group (it was a much smaller race back then) and finished with a huge smile on my face.

That first triathlon on August 17, 2008 was defining moment for me - it was a moment that made me believe I really COULD do something that may seem impossible if I broke the goal down into little steps, worked hard, stuck with it, and believed in myself. I look back now and I can see I was incredibly cautious and it's almost funny to see that I carefully took over eight months to train for one sprint tri, but for me, it was the right way to do it. I didn't just want to just "finish" the race, I wanted to be the best that I could be. In order to do that, I had to learn to swim, overcome my huge fear of open water, and suffer through my ongoing run injuries. Even more importantly, I had to overcome the mental block that I was NOT an athlete. Doing that first Apple Sprint Triathlon changed the way I think about myself forever and set the stage for many challenges for the future. I may have done much longer, harder races since then, but that first sprint tri will always be my most important 'athletic' accomplishment.

August 17, 2008
Because the Apple holds such a special place in my heart, I feel compelled to do it every year. I had a running injury in 2009 but went out and did my best. I had my best race in 2010 - a PR that I won't likely beat, and since then, I have done the race simply for the joy of racing.  Because of the timing of the race, I always find it a challenge to do any serious training.  During the summer, I love to train haphazardly and not following any set plan - I get up each day and I decide then whether to swim, bike, run, or just sit and read a book in the shade with a mojito in my hand.  I no longer train to compete in the Apple, I just try to stay fit, and then on race day, I go out and have fun.

Tomorrow, I was participate in my 5th Apple Sprint Triathlon.  And I will cross the finish line with a huge smile on my face, because I can!  :D