Editorâ€™s note: This is the first in a nearly year-long series of stories and sweat-laden vignettes chronicling the training regimen, pitfalls and pratfalls of two Statesman-Examiner reporters and their teammate. The intrepid trio plans to compete in all three increments of next Julyâ€™s Valley Girl mini-triathlon at Liberty Lake (Spokane Valley).
So, in a recent spurt of inspiration (or insanity, Iâ€™ll check back with you later on that one) I have decided to train for a triathlon. I realize thatâ€™s news that ranks slightly above Lindsay Lohanâ€™s latest run-in with the law and below the Mariners record losing streak, but please cut me some slack---this is quite the endeavor in the brain-land of Sophie the anti-athlete.
Before we rush into the neurotic, self-doubt, what-the-French-toast-was-I thinking phase, let us start at the impetus for this endeavor. My friend and colleague Jamie Henneman and I recently volunteered at the annual Tiger Triathlon.
That is volunteer-- not participate.
The night before the big event, we were attending the pre-Tiger-Tri dinner (carb-loading, of course) and the weighty decision-making went something like this.
Jamie: â€śYou know we should do a triathlon.â€ť
Me: â€śSure, sounds like fun.â€ť
And honestly, it did, and still does. Really.
We decided we would start with next yearâ€™s Valley Girl at Liberty Lake, a womenâ€™s-only sprint distance triathlon held in July. Though I must confess I didnâ€™t put much thought into the preparation process and the commitment that demands until we recruited a third member to our little group, Shadan.
We convinced her to join our experiment in psychology with all the sincerity of a proposed shoe-shopping outing.
Us: â€śWant to do a triathlon with us?â€ť
Shadan: â€śSure, sounds like fun.â€ť
Then it happened. Shadan began a blog (http://shadanstriathlon.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/hello-world/) that will chronicle her endeavors (and ultimately the groupâ€™s) to get in fighting shape for next yearâ€™s competition. Once you put something on the internet, it isnâ€™t written in pencil, baby. Our intentions are out there, for all to see and judge.
Allow me a momentary, â€śEEK!â€ť
Donâ€™t get me wrong; I know this is good for me. It encourages team spirit, will get me in better physical shape and will allow the recent butt-shaped indent in my couch cushion to fade.
Did I mention that I know this is good for me?
The Valley Girl is a 1/3-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride and three-mile run. Itâ€™s known as a sprint or mini-triathlon and is the starting point for newbies with dreams of triathlon glory.
Well, right now Iâ€™m at the stage where Iâ€™ll take survival over glory, but you know what they say about the journey of a thousand miles. Or in this case, 15 and 1/3 miles. It begins with appropriate footwear, self-discipline, and a touch of disillusionment.
Seriously though, itâ€™s not quite the drama Iâ€™m making it out to be (right?). I couldnâ€™t ask for better partners to take this on with. Iâ€™ve even received the blessings of my editor, Fearless Leader, who has agreed to my antics on the condition that I make my flailing and floundering to reach physicality nirvana into a weekly column. He even promised to come and laugh over my sweat-drenched corpse at the actual event next year. What more could a girl ask for in a support team?
If anyone has advice or tips on how to do this right and not let my team down, Iâ€™m all eager ears. We havenâ€™t done this before, so all we have is our willpower and each other.
So to make a long story short, let the journey begin. Good thing I wore sneakers today.
Have you run a triathlon? Do you enjoy exercising in the great outdoors? Share your story and offer my team suggestions and me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.