Being a Triathlete

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a runner. I became one and, for some reason, decided to be a cyclist, too. Then, a triathlete. Notice… I never said I wanted to be a “swimmer”.

Swimming is part of the triathlete equation. In fact, it is first. Swim. Bike. Run. In that order. You must swim before you can do the two fun things. So, here I am… on Monday night. Swimming eve. I swim on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the YMCA. The people there are nice and seem to always be happy to see me and encouraging in my efforts. But, honestly, I couldn’t care less if I ever see a pool again in my life. Well, I would like to have a lovely pool at home to float in while I drink gin and tonics, but that is it.

Last week was rough. We had a lake swim with Coach Katie last Wednesday, May 1st. Lake temperature = 60 degrees. I had my wetsuit on, but even then it took my breath away. I was so cold. I only swam 800 meters and it took all the energy I had. It was miserable. I never felt like I could get a whole breath. I couldn’t even concentrate on swimming right.

This Saturday is my next triathlon. Clemson Sprint Tri – 750 meter lake swim, 11 mile bike ride, 5K run. Today the lake was a whopping 63 degrees and it is supposed to be raining on Saturday. I can’t tell you how much I DO NOT WANT TO GO.

But, I will. I signed up and I will not wimp out. I will suffer through it and finish. I will not let my thoughts defeat me. I keep thinking that I do not have to do this race. I do not have to go. I do not have to do anymore triathlons if I do not want do. But I DO WANT TO… if only I didn’t have to swim.

Swim, and pack and travel.

Swimming is just a portion of the time it takes to be a triathlete. The training is hard and I have only gotten to sprint distance. I cannot imagine what my summer is going to be like leading up to the half Ironman. Triathlon training takes time. These workouts are long and hard. Tomorrow I have to swim before work and do a 26 mile ride after work. Tonight I had to pack my breakfast and lunch, get my swim gear ready and my work clothes ready. I had to remember to pack my bra, underwear and make-up so I can get ready before work. (Each of these things have been forgotten at least once). Yes, it’s true. Lucky, the day I forgot my bra I had a sports bra in my locker at work, but it is hard walking around with a uni-boob all day. The time I forgot my undies I had to ask to take an early lunch to go to Target and buy some (although I did not share that info with my boss).

There are so many things to remember. The workouts themselves are complicated… all with a series of various intervals of hard efforts and recoveries… times to be met, heart rates and speeds to be reached. No longer to you just run or swim or bike. There is a purpose for each.

I am so lucky to be able to do this… I know. I have the time, the energy and the money it takes to be a triathlete. But, at the same time, I wonder if it would be easier to go back to just being a runner!



  1. Danielle

    Laura do what makes you happy. You are such an inspiration to so many of us and it makes me strive to be better. But if you don’t love it and your heart is not in it… However I know you love a challenge and that is why you started triathlons. Whatever you decide I am here for you!

  2. lauraph2009

    Thank you Danielle – that really means a lot.

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