This is for the average Joes and Jills of triathlon. For the ones who fit in their love for our great sport when time, and life permits, yet our passion screams at us to do it all day. For those who have asked our loved ones to take a second job so we can train full-time, and sternly been told, “no.” For all of us who dream big and dig deep even if it means we just finish the race.
I find that, for the most part, people seem genuinely impressed when I tell them I am a triathlete. Yet, if you’re like me, every time the words escape my mouth, I feel like a total fraud. To most people, a triathlete is a super human who trains for hours and miles on end, lives off sports bars, vitamins and shakes, has the stamina of an antelope, the resting heart rate of a half-dead turtle, and the body of an extraordinarily thin, yet eerily muscular toothpick. Personally, I can assure you that I am none of these, although my resting heart rate is quite low, I attribute that to genetics more than superior athletic fitness. The definition of my life as a triathlete is a little bit different. I really don’t train for hours and miles on end, people might think that I do because I talk about triathlons for hours and miles on end. I live on most of the same foods everyone else does, and sometimes even indulge in things I shouldn’t, like wine and bacon. My stamina is more like that of an asthmatic horse; slow and steady, yet I spend a lot of energy gasping for air. Kind of paints a dissimilar picture. I don’t really care though, I just continue on doing what I do and people can keep on believing that I am as great as the title of “triathlete” claims to be. I just hope no one spots me trotting along the road at my snail’s pace or flailing at the pool like a drowning fly, because then my cover really is blown. Really though, I may as well have printed ‘rookie’ on my forehead. I think I’ve read enough blogs, articles, magazine stories, tri dictionaries and books to fake my way through the lingo and the basics, but most days I really have no idea what I’m doing. It’s kind of like the first time I got in the pool to swim laps, I sort of just hopped in and hoped not to drown. To most people, even though I thought I was swimming, I probably looked frantic and completely incapable of making it to the other side. Even now, almost a year later, when I’m at the pool doing my
open turns and looking like the scream mask every time I bob up and gasp for air, I look “new.”
Maybe some of you are more than just an asthmatic horse, so maybe I speak for myself on that one, but as an average Jill I often believe my feeble attempts of fitting in with the eerily muscular toothpicks are laughable. Despite this, we can’t really knock ourselves down for at least trying. After all I know that if I spent all my free time just drinking wine and eating bacon I wouldn’t be flailing or trotting along to anywhere. So moving fast or barely moving at all, we still get to claim the title of triathlete, and impress people wherever we go.