i’m still a triathlete

I’m sure I’ve had lots of labels in my life, but one that I’m most fond and proud of is triathlete. So proud, I had it tattooed on my left shoulder a few years back. Yesterday, I did my first triathlon in over 18 months and let me tell ya, I still have the flame! I actually placed second in my category. This time I entered in the “Athena” group since I weigh more than 150 pounds.

When I got pregnant last year, I decided not to push myself and do a triathlon, and then I started to doubt that I could keep my triathlete label. So, when the spring rolled around and I missed my annual swim in the 60 degree lake, I knew I had to choose a goal race and compete. I’m so glad I did.

The race I did yesterday was a new one and it’s actually one of my favorites so far. It was great to get to drive and not have to spend the night out of town. It was wonderful to have my son and husband there, too. My first tri as a mom. My sister made my son the neatest little onesie that said “Team Nester” – she’s so creative and thoughtful. My dad even came out to watch  me race (or to play with his grandson…or maybe both).

It’s odd how I still get nervous and my stomach hurts before a race. I don’t know if I though the water would be cold or if it’s just the competitive soul within me, but I did get nervous. We were running late and I was so afraid that something was going to go wrong and I wouldn’t get to compete, but it all worked out really well.

The start of the swim is always a mess – hands and feet everywhere. No matter how often you swim in a pool in a lane all by yourself, you’re never quite prepared for the splashing of that many bodies in the limited amount of cubic feet of water. Once you finally get out to about the first buoy, things work out and you get your groove. Or, that’s how it goes for me.

Being on the bike is challenging and rewarding at the same time. I loved the rolling hills and the breeze. It was also great to see all of the other cyclists passing me. It honestly didn’t bother me at all this time. Maybe I’m slightly less competitive than I was in years past.

This run was a trail run and it was very intimidating for me because I hardly ever trail run. I thought I would hate it, but after I got past the first hills full of roots, it was fantastic running through the woods. I guess I should say “jog/walking” through the forest because I honestly wasn’t going fast enough to be considered running.

If you’ve never done a triathlon but have contemplated, please do it! The sense of accomplishment after you’ve finished is amazing. I don’t get in a hurry to wash off my body markings. I wear my temporary tattoos with pride that I just did something most people won’t do in their lifetime. Or won’t do as many times as I have in the past 8 years or so.

At the end of the day, I’ll wear many labels – mom, wife, sister, daughter, Christian, employee, friend…all of those are great, but the one that will set me apart is “triathlete”.

Cheesin’ it up before the swim.