Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On my honor, I will tri

I'm easily influenced.

Tell me about your favorite movie. Your favorite TV show. Your favorite lipgloss. I'll probably try it. I'm a quick sell.

But if you ask me to swim, bike and run with you, all in the span of a couple of hours? Don't be surprised if I balk a little. Or even a lot.

My friend and co-worker Elesha is obviously pretty persuasive. Because she has effectively talked me into signing up for a triathlon in May.

Now, before you panic or dissolve into hysterical laughter, let me clarify. I'm doing the super sprint triathlon. It consists of a 300-yard swim, 8-mile bike ride and 2-mile run. Totally do-able, right? Um, right.

Here's how I'm feeling about it all. The run? No problem. The swim? I'm not as scared as I maybe should be. The bike? Freaking terrified.

I haven't been on a bike that moved from the floor since I was 17. I recently acquired one (thanks, Mandy!), but haven't yet had the courage to ride it. There was a big debacle with my friend Carla and me trying to get our bikes sans bike racks into our cars for a Silver Comet Trail ride. When that didn't work, I rode for two seconds in her parking garage, but that doesn't count. So, it's been about 21 years since I've been on a bike. Riding 8 miles seems daunting.

I've never really been a strong swimmer, either. I'm a total water baby (literally--my parents enrolled me in a Water Baby class when I was just a few months old. They just dropped the babies in the deep end and let us have at it.), but when it came time to learn the actual strokes, well, I thought it was more fun to just swim underwater or doggy paddle (of course my brother, the athlete, was the star of the swim team when he was in high school. Cue eye roll.). Still, I think I can make my way OK. I'll just need to practice a bit.

I've shared my plans with a few friends and family members. Here's a sampling of the (paraphrased) reactions I've gotten:

My dad: What? Can you even swim? That sounds hard.
My boyfriend: I can help you with the swimming. We can go to the natatorium and practice. Oh, and I know someone with an extra bike. I can oil it and oil yours and get them ready and we can ride together and you can totally do this! (Insert more cheerleading here)
My best friend, Rebecca: That's really cool.
Me: That's it? Aren't you going to freak out or tell me I can do it?
Rebecca: It's not even phasing me as a big deal, because it's totally something you can do.
My brother: So I have until May to get you ready for the swim?
My friend Carla: Seriously? OMG! Wait. Maybe I'll do it with you. How long is the swim again?
My friend Paul: You mean THIS May? You'd better start training now. 
Various other friends, including my dear LaTonia: Girl, if I could swim, I'd totally do it with you.

I know for some people who are more accomplished athletes, 300 yards, 8 miles and 2 miles doesn't seem like much. But it's definitely a new (and much-needed) challenge for me. It's also one I'm not completely sure how to accomplish.

But I know I'm going to tri my hardest.

Oh yeah, I'll be training for several months. The puns will be flowing. You're welcome in advance.


Anonymous said...

I would do it with you! I'd be most scared of the run, sooo... maybe you can run, we both can swim, and then I can bike? ;)

Nancy said...

I'd be scared of the swim. And maybe the 8 miles on a bike. Oh yeah, and I don't run. So, you totally rock, a lot more than I do.

jj1991 said...

So very excited for you!!! Take lots of pictures of your training.

Anonymous said...

Go Erika! I haven't ridden a bike since the day before I got Zoe, so I hear you on the bike fear. You're going to inspire me to say "yes" when little dude asks me to go riding with him.
I think Dinah did the Danskin Tri.


sherpamelissa said...

You will do awesome! It's very empowering completing your first triathlon. You'll love it.

See, the biking is my very favorite part. You'll be totally fine with that, once you get going it's just like when you were a kid.

I hate the swimming. I've done 3 triathlons and 2 were indoor pool swims and 1 an outdoor pool swim. LOL.

I think training for something like this really gives you focus and purpose and it's perfect for where you are at right now!

Angie said...

You're awesome! I want to come cheer you on!

Anonymous said...

Whooo hoooo!!!! You've got this girl! I did my first tri 3 years ago and I've been hooked ever since! Check out my blog and head back to the Races section and you'll see some of my recaps! www.kitchenkm.com

Let me know if you need anything!

Dawn M. Stark said...

I may just have to do it with you! I don't run, I do like riding my bike although it's been on the rack in the garage for quite a while and I can swim but haven't done it at length for ages!

YOU ROCK ERIKA! I'm SO proud of you!


Anonymous said...

I did the PTC Super Sprint last year as my first tri. I'm with CHOA, too. There is SO much CHOA spirit there that it's AMAZING. Every time we passed eachother on the course you'd hear someone yell, "Strong for life!" or "GO CHOA" and it'd give you that push you need.

It's definitely doable and since that one I've moved on to Sprint Tris. I ended up doing 4 last season and plan on doing 5 this season.

I was worried my weight would hinder me (I've lost 110lbs and still want to lose another 50 or so) but I competed in the Athena division (150lbs+) and did fine. I finished and honestly that's all that mattered at the end of the day.

The swim is in a lake and my best advice is to practice A LOT. The water is murky so it's hard to see when you're under, but if you practice on open water you'll feel so much more confident on race day.

The 8 miles is relatively flat with only one or two small inclines.

The run is rolling hills but nothing too crazy.

My bestfriend, husband and myself went out to the course and practiced there to get a better feel. It's about 45 mintues from Atlanta.

I definitely reccomend getting the hotel that sponsors the event. It takes a ton of stress out of it the morning of.

Hope some of this helps. :) I was a nervous wreck when I first signed up.


Erika said...

Thanks so much for your comments and votes of confidence, y'all. Danielle, I'd love to talk to you more about your experience. If you happen to see this, would you mind sending an email to my CHOA email address? erika.anderson@choa.org

Thanks again, guys. Look for lots of posts documenting my progress!

Alison said...

The open water swim would definitely be the toughest part for me. What a great challenge! It'll be good having something specific to work towards, and it sounds like you've got tons of support. Way to go, Erika! You can do it!

cd said...

You can do this, Erika! I'm excited to follow your training journey and rooting you on at the event!! I'll take lots and lots of pictures. It's going to be GREAT! YOU'RE GOING TO BE GREAT!!

Kellynn18 said...

Yay, Erika!! I'm so excited for you and incredibly proud of you! I did my first triathlon through CHOA, and it really does make such a difference having all that support. I did the international distance last year, and I was pretty sure I might not make it before I did it. But I cried at the end when I finished because I was so proud of myself. The bike is my least favorite part too. You're going to rock it...cuz that's just what you do :)

Anonymous said...

See you there, I did it with CHOA last year too!
PTC puts on a great race and environment so no worries, the people are great.
Swim swim swimand swim some more. then try and swim with your eyes closed for a bit, and dont forget to practice sightning with your head out of the water.
You can walk the run, you can walk the bike, you CANT walk the swim.