Feminist Fitness Love Stories

Happy Valentine’s Day, Feminist Fitness readers! We love y’all—all 16,000 of you!

In honor of the day, I collected some stories of sports and fitness love from some of our bloggers and readers. I asked these questions:

  • How did you and your sport first meet? Was it love at first sight?
  • If it’s a long-term relationship, how has your love changed over time?
  • Are you polyamorous about your love sports/activity relationships?  How do you manage to keep those different relationships going?

Readers, we’d love it if you would share some of your own sports love stories in the comments section. If we get enough, I’ll put them together for another blog post.

Love and fitness is not a new topic for the blog. Check out previous posts here and here and here   and here.

For inspiration, here are some of their stories below (slightly edited).

J on swimming: It was an arranged marriage when I was 11. My dad decided I needed an event for the Maccabi Games (Jewish junior olympic-style event), and he was a swimmer as a kid. It was the only time he’s been successful as a yenta.
We got really serious from ages 12-21, and spent all our waking hours together in college. Then we broke up when I found cycling and didn’t see each other for more than a decade.

I’ve come back to the sport in the past year after a knee injury, and we’ve fallen in love all over again. Switching from breaststroke to freestyle is a fresh new perspective. Plus, the gear is better now – who knew goggle technology had such room for improvement?  I just have to avoid looking at those (fast!) times from our youth together.

Swimming and I are both major Dan Savage fans, so yes, we believe in ethical [infidelity]. I cheat on it with cycling, kayaking, and hike/ski/snowshoeing on the weekends. And it cheats on me with Michal Phelps (but can you blame it?) The great thing about swimming is having a workout, lane buddies, and coach to motivate me on the days when I’d rather out out with Netflix, instead.

C on running and cycling: My long term relationship is with running, but mostly it’s the lover I am cuddling with on the couch with Netflix, comfortable and familiar and a good affirmation and reassurance from someone who’s known me a long time and still loves me despite my changing body and ebbing and flowing.  The new energy comes from my embracing of cycling, where I’m living fantasies of being the hostage trapped in the hotel with the FBI agent who wants to have their alpha way with me.  I have yet to have the threesome with these two I’ve been planning for years.  Maybe a duathlon in June 😉

A on Taekwondo: I was a child bride. My father arranged it all. Now I couldn’t see my life any other way. We had some time apart in my wild undergraduate years, and things were understandably tempestuous in graduate school, but now we have a mature understanding. I brought in rock climbing as a relatively new but stable partner. It’s more of a summer thing.

K on downhill skiing: A friend of mine invited me to go skiing.  I replied, “I don’t ski.”, which surprised her. I also found it really intriguing that she just EXPECTED me to be into skiing.  I needed to know why.  Her reply intrigued me more, “It fits with your personality.”  That was it.  My skiing crush started.

The first time I went skiing I knew I was bound for a lesson, but at what level? I took one trip up the bunny hill.  I got off the chair lift in one piece, no falls.  Nice.  Then I started sliding down the gentle terrain.  So far so good.   Gradually the speed was picking up.  I don’t know how to brake on these things.  Well, I thought, I know one way to stop.  And, I plopped over.  It sure was fun.  🙂  That was January 1999.  Since then I have gone from being a novice who needs to learn control to an expert who can explore the entire mountain.

I am not a cheater!  I keep things separate by season.  For example, I used to race sailboats.  I got burnt out on that and switched to cycling.  I can only handle one major commitment at a time.  😉

J on cross-country skiing: I flirted with my sport for a few years before committing in earnest. I built a deep relationship during the long winter nights above the Arctic Circle in 2000. Daily (or really, nightly), skiing provided a mental antidote to grueling work hours away from home, and a physical antidote to the other coping method – obscene alcohol consumption.

My love – and it’s really part and parcel of why I love what I love – is a continual process of learning and loving more deeply. There’s always room for growth, and given the nature of my chosen sport this can continue even as I age.

XC skiing is not a new love, but it has retained the passion of a new love. The feeling I get from using my whole body in a coordinated way is unparalleled. I retain many casual relationships, but am faithful to my true love.

Me on cycling, scuba, kayaking, yoga: In life and sports, I’ve had several different loves. Cycling is family—I’ve known it my whole life, starting with my first bike at 4, training wheels off at 5. My real appreciation for it has been in the last 12 years, once I started road biking in earnest, as well as mountain and cross biking. Even when I commute on my beater bike, I can still feel that sense of liberation—I’m moving under my own power, going exactly where I want to! Cycling will always be there for me, and I’m grateful for that lifelong relationship.

Yoga is the friend with benefits I reconnect with from time to time who is very accepting of my busy schedule, and is there to make me feel good. It’s not romantic—never has been—but can be therapeutic when I need some TLC. We’re seeing each other on the side now, and the nice thing is no one ever gets hurt.

Scuba is my new mad crush. We met on a vacation in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef, and I was infatuated right away. I’m now getting certified here in Boston, and am going to Puerto Rico for diving in March. Will a vacation fling survive the cold New England waters of reality? We’ll see.   But I’m sort of hoping it turns into something long-term.

M on cycling: The earliest phase of my long love affair was a yellow and black Murray that I got for Christmas at age 6. My dad took me outside, all set to give me my first lesson in staying upright on two wheels, and giddy with excitement, rode off down the street, no lesson required.

After using my bike mostly as a means to get to my friends’ houses, I was given my first “real” bike – a road bike with impossibly skinny tires. I remember riding it on the wrong side of the road because I was too afraid to have the traffic at my back and I felt no joy in that saddle. It seemed so fragile to me. I quickly traded it in for a hybrid and at the same time, some of my friends started mountain biking. It was 1992 and this was cutting edge where I was from. I joined them on my hybrid and couldn’t get enough of it.

It wasn’t long after that I purchased a mountain bike and proceeded to have lots of fun on dirt for many years until I got the nerve to get back on a road bike.  It was 2007 when I heard of this thing called “cyclocross”. I tried a race and adored it. Now as the sport has expanded, and mixed terrain rides on ‘cross bikes are becoming more popular, I feel I have come full circle to the days of riding my hybrid through the woods. This is what I had been waiting for all along. Recently I was riding my ‘cross bike on some local trails with a goofy smile on my face the whole time, feeling just as I did in those early days of love.

P on cycling: I fell in love with my partner and cycling at the same time. He is a cyclist and athlete, and I knew when our love was new that cycling was going to be important in my life. I didn’t realize HOW important and central it would become. Now, after teaching cycling and riding across country, I still remember fondly the first day we rode the Minuteman Trail together and he gave me a gentle push – a push that propelled me into love with him and the sport.

L on running: My sport/first love is running. It was definitely NOT love at first sight. In fact, we didn’t like one another one bit upon being introduced. I forced myself to engage with running for a long time. Slowly, very slowly, our relationship developed and became stronger. I went from only being able to run with others, to only being able to run with music, to finally, being able to run alone and sometimes even without music. It was then that our love blossomed (though as I note below, we are no longer monogamous).

It’s definitely been a long-term relationship: almost 20 years now. Since our courtship became a solid relationship, we’ve been pretty consistently in love for the whole time.

Though I’ve dabbled with others (biking and swimming, primarily), I’m pretty loyal to running. I confess that I also met Ashtunga yoga over twenty years ago. Though we had a casual relationship for several years (I was so young!), we had a falling out. I don’t think I was mature enough for yoga. But seven years ago we met again and for the past six years, I’ve been dividing my love equally between running and yoga. Because they are complementary and not competing for my love in any way, we have a pretty nice polyamorous thing going!

K on cycling: I fell in love with my bike in the summer of 2013, on a trip to Morzine in the southern French Alps. Until then I’d just ridden a lot and thought, ya, this is fun. In Morzine I learned something more: that my bike and I, together, could climb mountains. Not super fast but faster than most, steady and solid. It felt incredible, liberating.

On that same trip a woman my age, a former racer and now coach, told me how talented she thought I was as a rider; that praise hit home like you would not believe. I’d never been talented at sports, EVER. I’d been teased as fat and inept and uncoordinated as a kid. My high school gym teacher used to call me “retard.” (No, really. Thanks, Mr Elgie.)

Since then I’ve ridden with pride, hugged the road, so grateful for my awesome strong body and my lithe, speedy bike. Her name is Ruby. (No, really. Thanks, Ruby!)

Tracy on swimming: she’s blogged about this here, which will inspire everyone to get in the water very soon.

 and Samantha, on Cycling: A Love Story in 3 Parts:

  1. I fell in love with riding a bike as a kid, as one does. I don’t know how old I was. Maybe 8. The bike had a purple banana seat and sissy bars at the back. It was the 70s. This isn’t me but it looks like my bike. We moved a lot when I was growing up, following my father’s work as a baker across Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. At some point the bike stopped coming with and I stopped riding but I remember that bike. I remember learning to ride a bike and I loved the freedom it gave me to come and go.
  1. After more than 10 years of not riding, a friend was riding from Ontario to Newfoundland and she gave up in Halifax. Too many hills and too much rain and bad weather. She decided to complete her trip by bus and ferry and left me her beautiful bike for the summer. It has gears that worked and you could actually get going pretty fast. I started commuting everywhere by bike and said goodbye to the bus. Shortly before she arrived home I took her bike into a bike shop and said I wanted one like it. I couldn’t afford one like hers, it turned out, but instead I bought a pink Raleigh hybrid commuter bike. It was stolen only a a few years ago after I passed it down to my mother.
  1. After steadily commuting for years, I got into running. Approaching my 40th birthday I started running 5 kms 10 kms, and then training for half marathons. A friend who’d done a half ironman suggested we train for a triathlon and we signed up for the Running Room’s triathlon clinic. I also worked with a bunch of serious cyclists who noticed the running and increasing fitness and who said maybe I was ready for a real bike. I bought my first road bike–a red Cannondale, the first in a series of Cannondales–and took it out for a spin with my triathlon training group. All of a sudden I was at the front, not the back, and chatting with people I never got to run with. My friend had to stop for a bathroom back but he told me to keep going and that he’d catch up. I ended up waiting at the car for what felt like forever. He never caught me. Whee! Zoom! I was once slow (running) but now was fast (on the bike). I’ve never looked back.

So readers, if you have love stories to share, please tell us.  And we’ll keep sharing the love…

end

Swimming to beat the heat (Guest post)

N

Not a bad way to spend weekday mornings

Mid-December I was struggling with the seemingly enormous task of returning to some semblance of my previous fitness level when I read here about Sam’s run streak. I thought it was a great idea and the concept of ‘little runs’ consistently is quite appealing.

I think on any day I could get myself out of the house to jog for a mile. Multiply that distance by 3 and all of a sudden I build a wall of expectations (too far, too slow, too tired) that create a barrier to getting out the door.

Backing up a little. I was cleared by my GP to return to exercise in August after a long hiatus. Starting slowly I began with regular sessions in the gym, returning to swimming when my local open air pool re-opened in October, occasionally cycling with a local club and becoming a semi-regular at my local ParkRun on Saturday morning.

My long term return-to-fitness goal is a long course triathlon. But for now, I was lost. Standing at the bottom of this fitness mountain looking up and trying to develop a program that would fit all my expectations and needs it was all a bit overwhelming.

My fears were exacerbated by the searing heat of the Adelaide summer. We have already had numerous spells over 40C degrees (104F) and can expect several days over 45C (114F). I am not a little person and I find I get distressed running and cycling in the heat (anything over 30 degrees really). In fact, just thinking about it makes me anxious. So all in all, I didn’t know where to begin. But I knew I wanted to start.

One morning, shortly after reading Sam’s post I was in the pool and I thought to myself. “I should break this down, I always work better with a plan. Breathe, is my stroke okay? Stretch that right arm out. Where was I? Oh yes. Break this down. Breathe on the left, oops, cough, ugh, I really have to work on that. Yes. Break this down. Breathe. I should remember think of this in more detail when I stop swimming.”

Swim-uary was born. My commitment is to swim every weekday in January and February 2016. Focussing on improving my swim technique and endurance through summer seemed like a pretty good idea when starting down the barrel of a scorching summer.

I joined up with a local training group and we have swim squad on Tuesday and Thursday mornings so that will give my fitness and technique a good kick. Most other days I hop in with a tentative aim to swim for 30 mins non-stop. Ultimately my goal here is to swim sub-30 minutes for 1500m. Like running a 6 minute kilometre, swimming 2 minutes per 100m is a benchmark for the also-swims among us.

But I’m not pushing for that every day. The first step each day is to get to the pool, get in and start swimming. In the first few minutes I check-in with how I am feeling. Some days I know that it will be a cruisy 30 minutes and I just enjoy it. Others I’m checking in each 5 minutes – am I still wanting to go on? And reminding myself it is okay to stop if I am tired.

Not setting a specific time, distance or even a program beyond “swim” or “get in the pool” takes the pressure off. On days where I’m just not feeling up to it I can play around and relax or work on something specific. Yesterday was one of those days, so I worked on my tumble turns. Maybe by the end of Swim-uary I will have them mastered? Maybe not.

Breaking my return to fitness down to something manageable has already helped. I no longer feel I am circling the bottom of that fitness mountain looking for the beginnings of the “best” path up. I’ve turned face-on and every day I take another step, however big or small, up.

I already have the next step in mind too – “Run like the win-ter” has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

Trials, Tribulations and Triumph: Lakeside Olympic Race Report (Guest Post)

IMG_3960[1]

In Nat’s yard, ready to drive to Lakeside!

Anj & I were pretty pumped about attempting out first Olympic Distance Triathlon on Sunday. You can read our pre-race ponderings here.

Anj: My text reply to friends who asked how it went is that conditions were “Unfavourable”.

Nat: The weather was cold! As we drove out the car registered 14C but over the day the temperature dropped to 10C. It’s hard to believe 6 days earlier we were sweating in 40C weather. I knew Mallory and her brother Miles would be working the event. It was great to see familiar faces.

 

pre-race candid

great photo taken by the event photographer as Nat and Anj roll into transition to set up

Anj: Let’s start with the water – the grass was creeping me out to the point that I couldn’t relax and swim. Ok, I think I was actually panicking – implement Plan B – Breast Stroke.  Attempts to crawl resulted in gulps of water due to the high waves, so I decided to limit breaths to the leeward side – but the waves would break over my head mid-breath so I still ended up with mouthfuls of water.  This did nothing to appease any panicking so I resorted to the breast stroke a-lot.

Nat: The swim was going great until the second lap after the first turn (~1,100 m) then I realized I was getting too cold to move my arms and I could no longer feel my legs and feet. The race officials had warned us the combined air and water temperature scored 14.5C, the cut-off for optional wet-suit. I’ll never do a long race again without one. I took off my cap and flagged down the rescue boat. I spoke with the Triathlon Ontario Official and indicated my wish to continue with the race even though I had DNF’d.

I was under dressed and cold the whole ride. The wind was gusting strong enough to make eating or drinking a real challenge. I never did get the circulation back in my feet so when I rolled in from the ride I decided not to attempt the run portion.

Anj: The bike portion managed to be more challenging than the swim.  I repeatedly thought “this tri is kicking my butt”.  The bike tested my mental capacity the most, where I remember giving myself permission to pull out.  Trying to make muscles work like that when you are so cold.  My feet were still numb from the swim even after two hours of cycling.

Nat: I know it’s impossible but that ride felt like a continual fight with the wind. I was surprised how lonely 40 km can be since I now always ride with other people. I’m sad now I didn’t at least try the run.

Anj: I didn’t expect my body to run – but it did.  The body can do amazing things.On an uphill grade I learned about cramps.  I hobbled my way to the turnaround and found out that I was able to run again on the downhill.  The next time I got to that steep of a grade and felt the quad quiver – I switched to a fast walk.

anj finish

If you look closely you can see the muscle cramp in Anj’s leg!

Nat: Would I do an Olympic triathlon again? Yes! Would I do Lakeside? It’s too cold for the time it takes me to do this kind of distance. I definitely need to stick to a training regime for this distance.

Anj: Lessons learned: consider investing in wet suit & tri suit; train in many water settings and train to spot and keep direction while swimming; train in all weather conditions and learn what gear works best in all of them.  I would totally do this distance again – and hope to continue working toward longer distances.  My favourite part was being passed by a woman with a gorgeous body – chatting with her on the bike and then seeing on her calf that she was 71.  I remember wondering – does that mean if I keep doing tri’s that I will have the same longevity, health and body?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anj is now an Olympic Distance Triathlete and is planning all kinds of fitness adventures including a cycling tour in Florida!

Sister Time

Nat: My sister Anj is in town for our Olympic Distance Triathlon tomorrow and I thought it would be fun to do a joint entry about our lack of training 🙂 , our goals and how committing to doing sporting events together has impacted out relationship.

1977

Nat holds Anj, Sept 1977. We are definitely up to no good.

Anj: When we admitted to each other we had ceased training as the date of the triathlon drew near, the big question was: “Will I be injured if I do the event?” And the answer is – the body will be fine, the ego might get damaged.  Without delving into the reasons why one would stop working toward one’s goal while being so close to completion, it was easy to review the big reasons for registering for a triathlon way back in January: 1) to get in shape [a.k.a. my coworkers don’t hear me huffing after 3 flights of stairs in the morning] 2) to be skinnier; and 3) to have a date that I would see my sister.  It is too easy to let the time pass by on the relationships with those we care about – but this is what brings us the most satisfaction in life.

2011

Anj & Nat re-united in 2011 for a Try-a-Tri

Nat: I definitely need events to ensure I do any working out. I’m leaning more towards the events being great experiences than necessarily hitting a goal of say, finishing in a certain time, its becoming more of an appreciation of what my body can do for me at the drop of a hat than sticking to my original training plans. I also told a friend that we were getting together to race because it was an excuse to see each other, if we were men we’d build a porch.

Anj: My inspiration for training is the level of fear I have for the distance involved. This is the longest we’ve done, I’m feeling the fear a bit. I pretty much need the shit scared out of me to train because I don’t have self-discipline.

Nat: Oh I’m definitely lacking the discipline. It was your idea in 2011 to do the try-a-tri in Woodstock. I just went along with it. I think this year you were the one to get me to commit. I think my goal was to do it and feel good about. So, I’m going, goal #1 met!

Anj: Being fit means being alive is just plain easier.  Goal #1 – complete.

Nat: My second goal was to be less afraid of events this year. I’m thinking, like Anita says, nothing is riding on this. I enjoy races, they are exciting. Worse thing to happen will be a DNF, maybe an injury.

Anj: This summer, I attended my 20 year high school reunion, and this training season resulted in being the same size as high school.  Goal #2: SURPASSED!

Nat: I try not to hate you for that. I think my upper arm would fit in my high-school dress. I love you anyway.

Anj: Face time with my sister: Goal #3: Priceless.

Nat: My third goal is definitely having something to do with you. I love sharing our training over texts from Ontario to New Brunswick. I think it’s a pretty awesome reason to visit. Doing a different distance has helped me keep track of the years too. I think it’s important to note you recovered from a car accident last year to being able to do this tri, that’s pretty amazing. My blood pressure is under control. We’re both better off than we were a year ago.

Anj: Upon putting things in perspective – without even competing yet – We are winners.

2012

Anj, Nat and Michel celebrate thier first Sprint Distance Triathlon in 2012.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Anj is a recovering butch – finding her feminine side in her 30’s and finally accepting that both femininity and butchiness can come in one package; she’s also a singer/songwriter/performer and motorcycle enthusiast.

Greetings from inside the pain cave

image

Three things got me thinking about sports training and pain again.

The first was a series of ads for indoor training videos, Sufferfest. There’s something about indoor training whether it’s on your bike on a trainer or on an erg, or rowing machine, that’s particularly brutal.

And finally some female faces.

The second was a lively discussion with a friend on the age old question of whether being a masochist helps with sports performance. My answer, yes.

The third was this story,  It’s true! Triathletes are tougher than the rest of us.

Triathletes can tolerate more pain than the rest of us, a new study confirms, which helps explain why they would swim, then bike, then run, all because they want to and not because they are, perhaps, being chased by a bear.

That’s interesting on its own, but there’s more: Researchers say that understanding how athletes can withstand the pain of a grueling endurance event may eventually lead to potential treatments and therapies for people with chronic pain.

“It’s a very masochistic sport,” said Jenna Parker, who was the top female finisher in the New York City Triathlon in July. She was joking, but only kind of. “I guess to some extent, I always wondered what it is that makes people able to compete at a high level in athletics. Obviously there’s something that’s different that makes us able to push our physical boundaries in a way that other people can’t.”

Here’s my past posts on the topic:

My taking it easy weekday triathlon

My plan had been to do a mini triathlon on the weekend. Do all three activities with very long breaks in between.

Two weekends ago I rode the MEC Century. Last weekend the Kincardine Women’s Triathlon.

Now this weekend was gong to be the ice cream run but I decided to give it a miss. There’s also a weekend long heat advisory but that’s not the whole story about ditching the ice cream run. See here for that.

Instead, I decided to make it a triathlon weekend by getting in one bike, one run, and one swim.

Part 1, Saturday morning: Bike 60 km with Jeff and Jacquie

That was actually our Plan B. Plan A was riding with our local cycling club. But their long ride was 170 km, and their short ride was 110.

And here’s what the weather looked like.

image(7)

image

Heat advisory: Temperatures will peak in the 30 to 32 degree range today and Sunday. Tonight will be a very warm night with overnight minimum temperatures in the 20 to 23 degree range. Humidex values will be near 40 during the afternoon hours today and Sunday…

Heat warning: A heat warning has been issued for a swath of southern Ontario from Windsor to York Region as the hottest weekend in three years is expected. Intense heat may trigger strong storms.

Heat and humidity is a guarantee this weekend across southern Ontario and Quebec, with Sunday poised to be the most oppressive day as temperatures reach the 30s while Humidex values approach ridiculous.

In light of all that we decided on a short ride, just 60 km total with our friend Jacquie.

And even though it was an oppressively hot day, I got three personal bests on Strava. Also had a great time catching up with Jacquie.

Part B: Run 5 km in the neighborhood. Fine. Stinky hot Sunday but I did it.

Part C: Swim in the quarry at St Mary’s

That never happened thanks to the loud, wet, wild, and windy thunderstorms that typically follow hot humid weather here. Action plan, weekend triathlon, aborted.

Monday morning I was feeling a bit dispirited by the whole thing. Less riding and running than of planned thanks to heat and no swimming thanks to thunder and lightning. Bah.

But I realized it was still doable.

Instead, I had a taking it easy, weekday triathlon.

I started with dog jogging with Cheddar. I’m trying to teach him to run with me following the advice of our guest blogger here. We got about 3 km of mostly jogging. That was Part A.

image

Then my bike commute to work on my cross bike. I don’t race on the bike path but I went pretty fast anyway thanks to being late for a meeting. That’s Part B.

image

And Part C, swimming with Nat and friends! Hi Nat, hi Terry, hi Bev, hi Phyllis!

image

Thames Pool

An everyday triathlon, in the wrong order, with very long transitions!

Fun Times at the 2015 Kincardine Women’s Triathlon

wpid-fb_img_1436651967018.jpg

After last week’s group pre-race report, and a fantastic event on Saturday, we decided a collective race recap about Kincardine would be fun. Here it is:

Kristen: I love this time away with my old friends and meeting some new friends.  Every Tri I have tried it’s a warm and welcoming environment with someone always willing to lend a hand.  As an event planner and manager of volunteers I always try and remind myself that races are volunteer lead and driven events so try not and judge too harshly.  That being said I do think this group really does need to step up their pre-race talk and etiquette.  The organizing team  missed things I felt were important especially as this event is touted as being a beginner race and they have been at it for 10 years.  I found myself asking questions I knew the answer to just to make sure the many new and nervous faces got this information. Something I learned, although my fitness level is now at a point that I can do this length of a race with very little training (6 months of injuries will do that) I certainly was not happy with the results.  Maybe it’s better to say it feels like a new beginning and is wonderful to feel like I’m not longer broken so can again start to train in earnest.  Hopefully, I’ll be back next year.

Anita: Wow wow wow. Kincardine was such an amazing experience, mostly because of the fantastic spirit shared by everyone there. Of course I have to pass along special high fives to the group of women I was with: Tracy, Samantha, Leslie, Kristen, Natalie, Mallory, Susan, and Tara. We all came with different expectations and training histories but we all left with smiles. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive group of friends. My personal performance was great on the runs (I did the duathlon) but a bit of a poor showing on the bike. Guess what? That didn’t bother me one little bit. In fact I feel like I crushed it. Ya, I crushed it. And I’m coming back for more.

Sam: I went knowing I wouldn’t be fast but I went anyway. And that was okay. More than okay, I had fun. I had surgery less than six weeks ago which meant two weeks with no physical actvity at all, other than walking, then a slow return to normal. I concentrated on the friends and family aspect of this event, drove up there with my daughter, my sister in law, and my cousin in law. We had a great time together with a lovely group of bloggers, guest bloggers, and friends. My injured knee survived the 6 km of (mostly) running and didn’t hurt the next day. Victory!

I was surprised, not at how hard the running part of the duathlon would be as I knew that it would hurt given that I haven’t run much in the past month. I was shocked at how hard biking is after a tough run. I spent 78% of it in Zone 4 of my heart rate training zones. Strava had things to say about that. I also learned the bad effect of slow transitions. My Garmin had my moving bike time at 27 minutes but it was 31 on the race chip time spread sheet. Why? Because that includes getting in and out of my running shoes/biking shoes and swapping hat for helmet and helmet for hat.

I love this event, the smiling volunteers, the cheering community crowds, and the wide range of participants, all ages, skill levels, and fitness abilities. Certainly I’d recommend it to any women in the area considering their first tri. Go for it and enjoy!

image

Susan, Tara, and Sam

Nat: I‘m thrilled at how the race went. I absolutely loved being there with a group of friends, new & old. It really made the race interesting to keep an eye out for each other in the bike and race loops since they were out and back courses.

As we gathered to start a few folks were uttering nervous and anxious things. It was harshing my buzz and echoing my inner doubts so I gave a pep talk to those around me. “It’s a beautiful day, the lake is calm and you get to swim surrounded by all these beautiful, strong women. That’s amazing. It will take the time it takes. Enjoy it, it won’t last very long.”

The water was very cold and I didn’t rent a wetsuit but it only slowed me down a couple minutes on the swim.

The bike portion felt amazing as I huffed along on Ethel. I actually passed some folks! Me! Passing! That felt really cool.

Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!

But the run, oh the run, it felt really harsh along the boardwalk then the course merged with the returning runners and I decided I needed some high fives. I needed them bad so I started offering “high fives of awesomeness” to anyone who looked like they could use a boost or even looked me in the eye. Totally gave me something else to focus on and I felt better. My run wasn’t much slower than my usual pace. Yay high fives!

I came in much faster than I expected and faster than I deserved as I hadn’t really trained for this. It was a PB even over a much shorter Try a Tri I did in 2011!

I can’t wait for next year!

Super Nat!

Super Nat!

Leslie: I did it! What a great feeling of accomplishment to have completed (without stopping!) the Kincardine Women’s Sprint Triathalon.  I was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of the volunteers before, during and after the race.  Even the spectators who lined the route were amazing. A special thanks to the kid with the garden hose-man that cold water felt great on the return leg of the run.  So many smiling faces, and such positive energy.  For me the swim was the most difficult, and therefore presents the main challenge for the new goal I plan on setting down for myself for future triathlons.  I was so impressed at all the results, from all the amazing women participants.  Wow, Katie Peach 43:27 overall race time, you rock! and Jennifer Di Jong in my age category 50 – 54, with a time of 50:17-inspiring.  I had the privilege of meeting the core group of women that my race buddy and tri-mentor Tracy introduced me to.  To Anita, Sam, Kristin, Mallory and all, great to meet everybody.  Finally what had started as something that I was resistant and afraid of, “transitioned” into a positive, empowering experience. Hope to see you all next year.

Tracy in her wetsuit, bathing cap, and goggles, in an exuberant pose before the start of the swim.

Tracy feeling pretty excited that the swim didn’t get cancelled!

Tracy: I had the most fun at the 2015 Kincardine Women’s Triathlon than I’ve ever had at an event. So much so that I wonder if I’m in love with triathlon or just the KWT! It’s a well-run, high-energy event for women (and you know how I love women’s only events!). The volunteers are amazing and the race organizers have their system down to a fine-tuned machine geared at making sure everyone is having a great time.

It looked touch and go for the swim because of water temperature, which registered 8 degrees C the day before the race (minimum to go ahead with the swim is 13 degrees C). But Kincardine’s water is known to “flip” and flip it did.  By the race morning it (just) passed the minimum. Still kind of frigid but with my wetsuit and a pre-race warm-up to get used to the cold water, it was tolerable-ish — it did take me about 2/3 of the swim to find a rhythm, get my stroke under control from the flailing and desperate character it had at the beginning, and start breathing well. I took some time off of my swim from last year and had a good T1.  Swim: 8:35 TI: 2:28

Despite my general struggles with bike training, which meant that I did no training at all once the indoor trainer season ended in late March, I enjoyed the bike ride. As expected given no training, I lost all of my time on the bike. People whom I’d smoked in the swim caught up and passed me all along the route. But I felt solid on the bike and I had absolutely no difficulty with the hills, so there’s that.  Bike: 34:02 (including T2).

I felt pretty good on the run, though I started out of breath. My goal was to push beyond my comfort zone, which I did. In retrospect I could have pushed harder but that’s for another day.  Run: 19:04.

What did I love? I loved being with everyone and having a whole group of people–Sam, Nat, Anita, Susan, Tara, Kristen, Mallory, Leslie, and me. My longtime friend, Leslie, was doing her first triathlon and it was exciting to see how dedicated she was to her training and to watch the mix of nerves and excitement the morning of.  Anita was also doing her first event, a duathlon, and she loved it. And all nine of us were happy. I went into it with no huge expectations and my only real plan (besides pushing on the run) was to have fun. When I came through the finish chute and saw Mallory waiting at the side, and then everyone else started rolling in, I just had a surge of joy!  Perfect weather, perfect company, and a personal best of 1:01:40 that gives me something to work towards for next year, namely, a sub-60 minute finish. That means bike training. Meanwhile, I will bask in the glow of an exhilarating event with an awesome group of women.

image

image