This Month's MagazineDining and SpiritsArts and EntertainmentTravel and LeisureHome and Real EstateHealth and WellnessShopping & FashionEvents and PicsElegant Wedding Magazine

Bookmark and share

Issue Date: June 2007 Issue


Triathlon season returns.


Aubree Galvin Caunter, Illustration by Paula Pindroh
 It was 85 degrees that morning, and I couldn't bring myself to jump into the cool Lake Erie waters.

The gun marking the start of the race had already fired, and all the other25- to 30-year-olds were swimming. Instead of leaping in and making up for lost time, I stood there, frozen. An entire winter of physical training had led me to a single jarring conclusion: What I really could have used was a little mental preparation.

Of course, I had whole-heartedly volunteered for this challenge six months prior. My triathlon-veteran husband and his "atta-girl" attitude had helped seal the deal. But really it was all my own doing. The alpha girl in me loved the idea of setting and attaining a fitness goal.

This is how gung-ho I was: I hired a triathlon coach. I logged hours on my bike and even more in the pool. During my long training sessions at the gym I kept my spirits high by picturing myself running down other athletes and leaving them in my dust (or wake, depending upon what leg of the fantasy race I was on at the time).

But faced with the reality -- churning water, white-capped and clogged with swimmers -- made my usually steel-lined stomach drop. I contemplated skipping the race altogether. I could just wait two hours and show up at the finish line looking worn out.

But I was too invested to simply drop out. I’d skipped too many happy hours in favor of early-morning training sessions. How could I give up now? And then I dove in.

Surely it was only a few seconds from the time my feet left the pier and my head bobbed to the water’s surface, but it felt like hours. I heaved to and fro, trying to catch my breath, waterlogged. I fell back on muscle memory-- my reward for a half year of instruction-- and slowly started swimming my half mile. Breathe, stroke. Breathe, stroke.

I emerged from the lake last, sprinted tithe transition area, found my bike and peddled nervously onto the 16-mileMemorial Shore way course. In triathlon, age groups and genders start the race at different intervals, so you end up biking next to both 60-year-old grandmothers and 25-year-old testosterone junkies. With so many bodies closely packed together riding at high speeds, I was freaking out. By the time I reached the5K run, I was exhausted, but gaining confidence. I felt so much respect for my fellow athletes. I’d learned how much courage it takes just to begin a triathlon, let alone finish one. I was so overcome with emotion that I started cheering and high-filing everyone: racers, spectators, innocent children, and a garbage man.

I crossed the finish line in two hours and eight minutes (more like six months, two hours and eight minutes). I’d finished before dozens of other people. So I waited at the end. There were still plenty of folks racing, and they needed to be cheered on, too.


Comments. All comments must be approved by our editorial staff.
 
Choose an identity
Other Anonymous
 
Name 
Website 
All of these fields are optional.
CAPTCHA Validation
Retype the code from the picture
CAPTCHA Code Image
Speak the code Change the code
 


Home | Subscribe | Archives | Advertise | Newsstands | Contact Us | Jobs | Legal
© Cleveland Magazine 2014 | P: (216) 771-2833 | F: (216) 781-6318 | 1422 Euclid Ave. Suite 730 Cleveland, Ohio 44115
This site is a member of the City & Regional Magazine Association