The Mount Snow triathlon, Tri For Hope, is fast approaching on July 13th. I have been doing this tri, with my team mate Stevie, for a few years now. I swim and run and Stevie takes the bike leg . Every year when we get close to the date I start to get butterflies and ask myself, “why didn’t you train more?”
This year I blamed my lack of training on the rain. Funny how every year I can find something to hold responsible for my low levels of motivation. Luckily, you do not have to be a top-conditioned athlete to compete in this event. It can’t hurt but it is not mandatory. In fact, I would rate myself as a very middle-of-the-road athlete. I work out 3-4 times a week, for less than a hour each time. If it is nice out I like to trail run but if it is raining, I hit the gym and jump on the bike, treadmill or elliptical machine.
If you are wondering if you can do the Tri For Hope, you can! Honest. I had the same reservations when I participated for the first time. I was worried about every little thing. I worried about what I would look like in my bathing suit. What I found is that there is every shape in the spectrum and you do not have to wear a tri suit… a bathing suit is fine. I have even seen bikinis. I was happy to find that the focus was not on body shape or apparel, but on the individual and the cause.
This event benefits the American Cancer Society. We all agree, cancer sucks and I use this event to think about all of my friends and family who have lost their lives to the disease and to those who beat it. It is very easy to find a little boost of energy when you keep those people who fought so hard, top-of-mind.
Despite the awesome cause, I still worried that I was not going to be able to complete the swim. I found that it is very short, 750 M. It takes me about 10 mins and I would consider myself in the middle of the pack. This is a small triathlon so you are not caught up in a mass start with people kicking in your face. My strategy is to stay to the outside in the beginning and once the pack thins out I try to straighten out my line. Folks are doing every stroke you can think of. I try to do the crawl for the majority but have to use the breast and backstroke to get my bearings and to get my breath.
Having Stevie ready to go on the bike (12 miles) when I exit the water is an absolute treat. It allows me to change into my running clothes and have a little something to eat and drink while she pedals her tush off! I can’t give much advice on the bike portion but I can tell you that people ride all types of bikes, even mountain bikes. Don’t think you have to have a fancy bike for this event.
The run (3 miles) starts on the road and quickly goes to a mountain trail. There is a good amount of climbing and my advice is to keep your eyes on the trail so you don’t trip. I love the trail run because as you duck into the forest you can feel the temperature drop. It is a challenging run but a beautiful one too. The end is all downhill so I try to just let my legs go and make up some time I lost on the hills. And yes, lots of runners walk up the hills. I have met some really nice folks on some of these uphill walks.
If you are on the fence, I encourage you to give this tri a try! After four years, the triathlon has given me more confidence in my athletic ability and provides me with a weekend to do something good for myself and most importantly, help find a cure for cancer.
If you are wondering if you can, I say, “You’ve got this!” Register at triforhope.com
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