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Tri, Tri Again

by Marissa on July 12, 2012

Sometimes life is about stepping outside of comfort zones. Reward often comes from feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Other times, it’s about having a do-over. This post is about the do-overs.

I’m big on intention-setting and work with my clients to set intentions at the start of every year. Last December, I created a list of my own. In May, at the halfway point, I reviewed my list, checking off what I had already accomplished (call it the Type-A in me, but I also love making lists and crossing items off as I complete them) and considering what was still left to do.

Then I saw this:

Somewhere along the line I had added a sprint — short-distance — triathlon to the list. A triathlon is a sporting event that consists of swimming, biking and running (in that order). A sprint distance triathlon includes a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile run.

For a brief moment, I considered crossing it off the list and moving on like it never happened. I had recently taken a running hiatus and I wasn’t sure that a Tri was in my future as much as they had been in my past. But I realized there was something I really missed about the times in my life when race training — triathlon and marathon —  was front and center.

As I’ve built my health coaching practice and focused on building a brand and a business, my workouts had become monotonous (hence the running hiatus). That feeling of setting a fitness goal, working really hard for it then crossing the finish line — a way of life that for many years defined and shaped me as a person — slowly dwindled from my exercise routine. I was setting new goals and running a different kind of marathon called entrepreneurship.

The first year or so I spent not training felt freeing in a way. Finally I could stay up late on weekend nights and enjoy one too many cocktails if I wanted to or skip a workout if I liked. But something always seemed amiss and whether I was conscious of it or not, giving up what was once such a major part of my life had been difficult to reconcile.

As fate would have it, I received an email from the Danskin Triathlon Series offering me a race entry for their triathlon. The Sandy Hook Danskin Sprint Triathlon was the first multi-sport race I had ever competed in and I have fond memories of it. As a Tri newbie in 2005, I loved that it was an all-female race and the location in Sandy Hook, NJ (they have 7 others throughout the country) was convenient  to the city and made for a nice weekend getaway.

I thought about it for a few days, meditated on it.

Did I want to race again?

Are endurance sports a thing of my past?

Will they be a part of my future?

With training friends after crossing the finish line in 2005


I didn’t have the answers but  I knew I wanted to revive the part of me that loves to train — if even for just one race.

Sometimes I want to have all the answers right away. But the reality is I don’t have to know everything at the outset. Now that I’m older (and wiser) my motivation is to do this race differently than I did it the first time– the way I wish I could have done it the first time.

My goals will be different this time:

1. I’ll improve my time: I’m so much stronger now (physically and mentally) than I was then. I finished the race in 1:22:55 — not bad for a first-timer but I know I can do it faster so I’ll work to shave some minutes off my time.

2. I’ll fuel properly: Had I known half of what I know now about proper fueling for endurance sports I would have been better off. I am excited to train for a race and this time know how to fuel for it.

3. I’ll maintain balance: As a perfectionist, I never let myself miss a training workout — at the expense of pushing through pain, exhaustion and burnout. For example, today I felt under the weather with a cold. There was a time when I would have exercised anyway. Now I know I’m better off taking a rest day.

4. I’ll go into it with confidence: Every time I tried a new race distance I questioned whether or not I could physically do it. I already know I can so this time there will be no self doubt. Envisioning myself crossing the finish line will be easier than ever before because I already have.

My 8-week training program will look like this:

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Strength Run 30 min Bike 45 Strength Swim 20 Run 25 Rest Run 30 min Swim 30 Run 30
2 Strength Bike 30 Run 15 Swim 15 Run 30 Run 30 Strength Rest Run 35 min Swim 30 Bike 30
3 Strength Run 35 min Bike 50 Strength Swim 30 Run 20 Rest Run 40 min Swim 30 Run 45
4 Strength Bike 40 Run 10 Swim 30 Run 15 Run 30 Strength Rest Run 45 min All 3 90 Min
5 Strength Run 40 min Bike 30 Strength Swim 30 Run 25 Rest Run 50 min Swim 30 Run 45
6 Strength Bike 40 Run 15 Swim 15 Run 40 Run 40 Strength Rest Run 55 min Swim 30 Bike 60
7 Strength Run 45 min Bike 40 Strength Swim 30 Run 30 Rest Run 60 min Swim 30 Run 60
8 Strength Bike 30 Run 30 Swim 30 Run 30 Run 30 Rest Rest Triathlon

I’ll be posting semi-regularly about my training (provided it’s not too boring), so make sure to sign up to receive updates.

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And make sure you tell me in the comments about a time when you had a do-over or if you could have a do-over what would you do and why?

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