I admit I get some really dumb ideas when I'm having a few beers with my runner friends, but none of these ideas scared me as much as the one I went through with this weekend.

Ever since I started to get serious about running again as I train for the FitOne Half-Marathon, I've been running with the McU Sports Trifecta Tuesday group at Highlands Hollow every week.  The hardest part of  running regularly for the first time in two years is holding myself accountable for actually doing my training runs.  That's why having the Trifecta Tuesday group is so great.  It's free to run with them and if I don't show up, I feel like I'm missing something...plus Highlands Hollow treats us to half price pitchers and apps when we get back.

That said, we may have enjoyed one too many of those pitchers a few weeks ago because some how my friend and I got this crazy idea to sign up for the Y's "Y Not Tri" triathlon.  Some of my friends that had done triathlons with Team In Training suggested signing up for the Sprint distance.  2 mile run?  Cake.  6 mile bike ride?  I did plenty of biking during Live for 175.  400 meter swim?  How hard could that be? 400 meters is only one lap around an outdoor track and I've run at least a thousand laps throughout my track career.  I figured I'd swim a few laps at my apartment complex and get a feel for swimming that sort of distance.  Bad idea.  My pool is short.  And there's a zillion kids in it.  And I was out of breath after eight laps.  This was 4 days before the race.  Time to panic much?  I ended up trying to cover the whole 400 meters at my gym 2 days before the race. I did it.  It wasn't easy, but I did it.  Did that help me feel confident about the race on Saturday? Hell no.

When I showed up at the Boise River Park on Saturday morning, I wanted to throw up.  Since I hadn't trained for this race, I was more nervous about it than I was for my first marathon.  The number of people telling me how different swimming in open water was from swimming in a pool certainly didn't help.  The closest I'd been to open water swimming was making it back to the jet ski I got thrown from on 4th of July weekend.  I racked the bike I borrowed, laid out my clothes and shoes for the run/bike portion of the race and went to watch my friend do the Super Sprint distance.  Before I knew it, I'm in the water "warming up" for my swim. By warming up, I mean acclimating myself to swimming in Quinn's Pond.  When they yelled go, I started in the back of the pack and just paced myself.  Halfway into the swim the butterflies went away and I ended up having a lot of fun trying something new.

I learned a bunch of lessons doing the Y Not Tri on Saturday:

  • Fish in Quinn's Pond will bite your toes and not feel sorry about it.  Fish say #sorrynotsorry
  • People who are doing backstroke can't see you swimming near them and will run you over
  • If you're borrowing a bike and helmet, it's a good idea to know how it shifts and which way your helmet goes on BEFORE you reach the first transition zone and look like a big dummy
  • Re-racking a bike is a science that should be mastered BEFORE race day
  • When you start your run leg, it won't look anything like a run at all.  It's more of a lead leg shuffle, but you'll probably be moving faster than you thought you were

But most importantly I learned pushing my physical limits teaches me to be comfortable being uncomfortable and the mind is the most powerful muscle you need during something that ultimately scares the crap out of you.  When I got into the water I told myself I refuse to lose by not finishing.  I was going to finish if I was the last one out of the pond, biked super slow or walked part of the two mile run.  Quitting wasn't an option.  You really can do anything you set your mind to if you ignore that little doubting voice in the back of your head.  You are incredibly strong and your body's capable of doing so much more than you think it can!

If you've thought about taking on a new physical challenge like any of the FitOne races, Dirty Dash, etc...I'm encouraging you to go for it! You CAN do it! And I want to hear about your experience and how much fun you had when you rose to the occasion!