Triathlon Tuesday, Week 1: An Introduction


As promised! I unveil to you, my weekly segment called Triathlon Tuesdays. (Okay yeah, it’s Monday. I’m just so thrilled that I wrote a post longer than a paragraph I just couldn’t wait to post it.)

I will be “competing” (a term I use loosely) in IronGirl Las Vegas on April 12, 2008 at 7:00am. I am training with a fantastic organization called Team in Training while raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I have admired my friends and co-workers in the past who have completed marathons and 100-mile bike rides through Team in Training, and happily sponsored them to help them achieve their goals. Now it’s my chance to do the same.

How do I even begin to introduce my whole experience to you? I think the best way for me to begin is with an FAQ, real-life questions people have asked me already.

Why are you training for a triathlon? Are you insane?

Yes I am. I have been intrigued by triathlons for a very long time. Years ago, I worked with a woman who trained semi-professionally with her husband. I admired her athleticism, and marveled at her stamina in such a grueling sport. But deep down, somewhere, I wanted to do it too. Someday…
The day is NOW! My friend Myndi recently completed the Nike women’s marathon in San Francisco with Team in Training. Raising money for Team in Training was akin to a religious experience for her, and upon finishing her marathon, she planned to do the IronGirl triathlon. As she was telling me her plans, right then and there, I decided I was going to do it too! Heck, if she could run a marathon — with no running experience and without injury — from the training she received, then I could complete a triathlon.

What is Team in Training?

Team in Training (TNT) is the largest fund-raising arm of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They raise upwards of $80 million each year for research to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and myeloma. Moneys raised also improve the quality of life for patients and family members. Due in part to fund raising, blood cancer survival rates have increased from 4% in 1960 to 81% in the past decade. This is a fantastic charity that does a tremendous amount of good for people suffering from these terrible diseases.

I figured if I was going to train for something as crazy as a triathlon, I wanted to raise money for a good cause while I’m at it. This particular cause also has special meaning for me, as my friend Kim‘s dad is a 6+ year survivor of a rare form of leukemia. I have many friends with dear family members who have fought cancer. Some won the battle, some lost.

How long is the triathlon?

It is an Olympic length course, consisting of a 1500 m (.93 mile) swim, 40 K (24 mile) bike ride, 10 K (6 mile) run. Yes, that’s very, very long. For me, anyway.

Which event is your favorite so far? Which scares you the most?

I enjoy biking the most. I always loved toodling around on my bike growing up. I also like the fact that I can stop peddling to rest, but I’m still flying!

Before swimming started last week, I was scared of running. Specifically, I was worried about hopping off a 24 mile bike ride to then run six miles. But now that I’m swimming? I’M SCARED OF SWIMMING. A mile is a long way.

How often do you workout?

Six days a week! At least, that’s what our training calendar says. I shoot for six, but I usually get in five workouts a week. I have two kids and I “run” the household, in addition to freelance work, so sometimes it’s just not possible to get out six times a week.

This week, for instance, I have two runs for 50 minutes (about four to five miles), two swim sessions for 30 minutes, and two biking sessions for 50 and 60 minutes (10-12 miles). Saturdays are group trainings for running and biking, and Tuesday mornings are group swim sessions. The rest are on my own time.

I also enjoy the team coaching aspect as well. There is no way I could adequately train for this event on my own.

Wow, impressive! Have you always been this athletic? (This one’s for you, Neil!)

Absolutely not. There is nothing athletic about me. I grew up with a strong dislike of formal exercise, preferring to play in the yard, poking around in the woods, or taking joyrides on my Schwinn. I pitied my friends who had to wake up at 7am for soccer practice. They envied me because I didn’t have to wake up at 7am for soccer practice. I was an avid skier and racer, but that didn’t count as a cardio workout. I had asthma. I could barely run one mile all throughout my schooling. I took aerobics my senior year only because I couldn’t sweet-talk my guidance counselor into gifting me my last five PE credits.

All that said, I am amazed at what proper, gradual training has done for me. I’m amazed at what my body is capable of doing. I am amazed that right now, I can run four to five miles without wanting to die. (More on our running program at a later time).

I’d like to keep this up, even when the triathlon is over. I want my girls to see me and their dad (who is very active) exercising. I want them to believe that exercise can be FUN! I want them to live a life of good health and fitness.

Are you losing any weight?

Negative, Ghostrider. I am the same weight as when I started training in November. I think it’s due to the fact that: 1) I’m already at a “normal” weight for my height, and 2) I’m building muscle. I have noticed, however, that I’m getting more toned. I welcome that. My muffin top thanks me.

Back to fund raising. How much money do you need to raise for this event?

I am committed to raising $2500. This sounds like a lot, I know! 75% of the funds go to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the rest goes to my event registration and training expenses. I have known many people who have successfully fund raised, not only for TNT but for Susan G. Komen, San Francisco AIDS Walk, etc. etc.

Although I am not overwhelmed by the thought of fund raising, and although I have enthusiastically sponsored my friends and family in their causes, it is still hard for me to ask people to help sponsor me. So here it goes…

If you are so inclined, you can visit my donation site at if you’d like to sponsor me. It is tax-deductible, and no donation is too small. No matter what, your donations will help save lives!


Next week, I will discuss swimming. And if you have any other questions that aren’t covered above, feel free to ask!

13 Responses to “Triathlon Tuesday, Week 1: An Introduction”

  1. I am so impressed and proud of you. I never considered myself an athlete, but I have found my “inner athlete” over the past year. Training for an event does that. You’re going to do awesome.

    I will tell you that over the course of the marathon I really wished I was part of Team in Training. They had coaches all along the course encouraging team members, they all had shirts with their names on so spectators could call out their name and they had teams of cheering fans positioned along the course. It was awesome.

    Combined with the fact that it raises money for such a good cause… my cousin died of leukemia when he was 17, just a couple weeks before he was due to get a bone marrow transplant. His sister then went on to compete in several different marathons to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. His death rocked me pretty hard because I was 12 at the time and it was so traumatic that a young life was cut so short.

    I’m cheering for you and I will position myself at whatever points along the course you need/want to cheer for you (or provide you with sustenance if required) and to support your cause. I will be making a donation soon.

    You totally rock!

  2. Team in Training is awesome. I did the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon with them years back. It’s going to be great! go you!

  3. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Aaron Wakling

  4. I am SO proud of you!!!

    *Stand on the sidelines and applauds you*


  5. As someone who can attest to your previous “unathletic-ness” (and she’s totally lying about her (non-existent) muffin top!)- I can say with great pride that you’ve really shown me a side of you that I hadn’t seen before. One of dedication and determination (I’m also seeing this in your Scrabble games- hehe.) There is no question that you will do a great job and I will be here to cheer you on right up until the end.

    PS. LEUKEMIA SUCKS! *****Donate money now!!!***** Research helped save my dad’s life and it can help save so many more victims.

  6. i’m so proud of you for all your dedication – not only for yourself but for your family and the well-being of others.

    my dad’s mother (i guess this would make her my grandmother) died of leukemia before i was born. she was 38 with a three year old. such a sad disease.

  7. Sounds like a fantastic experience! I think I would like to do that someday too but I always come up with 1000 excuses as to why now is not a good time….

    Yay for you!

  8. I am so stinking excited! for you. This is going to be an amazing experience. Thanks for bringing us along.

  9. My roommate is also training for a triathlon and as such, she’s set up her bike in the middle of the living room so she can ride while watching television. It’s quite the conversation piece let me tell you.

  10. One of my friends did one years ago and her body was a rock!

    GOOD LUCK! let me look at the site!

  11. I would love to do complete a triathlon someday! But, there is just NO WAY I could do the swimming. Not a flipping chance. Good luck!

  12. ooops. clearly I forgot to leave a message after reading this the other day. agh!

    Congrats on doing a freakin triathlon in the first place! I could do (would enjoy) the swim and the bike part, but I am so not a long distance runner, never was. The mile run in grade school was the worst day of the school year. 😀

    Kudos for being a swimmer, biker and runner all in one!

  13. You sound very motivated! I’m impressed and jealous all at the same time! I like to do yoga, but that’s the extent of my exercise.

    I found your site through another, you know how that works. One blog leads to another. I hope you have time to visit mine and leave a comment. I’m a virgin blogger and could use some bloggy friends.

    Keep up the wonderful work!

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