Having just set the 2010 Beginner Triathlon Group races I started thinking about my first triathlon, it is such a good memory, not just of the race itself, but also of the beginning of a new chapter for me.
It was January, it was frigid cold and I was extremely pregnant- huge! In my large state it felt as though I was destined to forever be tired, big and slightly out of breath! I had planned to be one of those awesome pregnant women who work out through all 3 trimesters and emerge from birth toned and fit. That didn't happen. The first 5 months I threw up daily and when I wasn't throwing up I was lying on the couch trying to amuse my 2yr old without moving. By the time the nausea passed I had a big belly and running felt like I had a suitcase strapped to me. So no running, I walked, did lots of yoga and, well, that's all.
So back to January, I had an epiphany, I was going to do a triathlon! I had supported two friends in June as they completed Mooseman, their first tri and I absolutely fell in love with the support, the camaraderie and the fun of the whole scene. I wanted that! I would have this baby and get fit and do a triathlon.  I couldn't do anything right away so I bought a book, The 12 week triathlete. Within the first chapter the book said "Enter a race, pay the money, then tell 10 friends that you are doing it". Reasoning being that if you did those two things you were financially and personally obliged to do it!  So I signed up, and I signed Matt up too (training together would be good 'couple' time!) and then we told all our friends and then I had a baby!
Fast forward to spring, those first runs back after baby were a bit of a slog. But I had motivation, I was doing a triathlon. the fear and excitement kept me piling the kids into the double jogger and hauling them 3 miles around the block. It got me onto my first road bike, and even back into a bathing suit! The training was a schedule of "take what you can get whenever you can get it", many days I was just too tired after being up all night with an infant and countless rounds of Candyland with a 3 yr old! In fact our main training took place while on vacation in Vermont, we chose a buoy that looked a really really long way off and took turns swimming around it. I'm naturally a decent swimmer (New Zealand genes!) and Matt's a good cyclist so we figured we'd see each other on the course when he passed me on the bike. I think we ran together once and biked twice - so much for 'couple' time!
Training done we headed up to Gilford NH for our very first Timberman triathlon.  The grandparents assumed their duties and off we went. So many fit looking people, so much crazy gear! Logos and sponsorship all over people's backs, wheels that cost more than my bike (maybe more than my car!). But also so many smiles, cheerful comments about the big hills and the calm water. Matt and I started in the First Timers wave - the very last one! We stood and made nervous chatter with other newbies, thinking that the really really far away buoy in Vermont was A LOT closer than these buoys!!! Then, it was time, a countdown and we were off.
The actual race I hardly remember, the swim was ok, the bike was more fun than I had expected (I even managed to hold Matt off until the turn around point, and the run felt crazy (apparently you are supposed to practice running off the bike -ohhh). Due to some cramping in Matt's back I was able to catch up to him on the run and we passed through the finish line of our first triathlon holding hands. 
On their own a swim, a bike ride or a run are just fun, healthy activities, but put together in a race that you have worked for, thought about and put part of yourself into, they are more than just a sum of their parts. Triathlon is a journey, through the planning, the training and the racing your learn so much about yourself and find strength you never new was in you.

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