The Trouble With Triathlons

If you haven’t noticed, late summer is prime triathlon season. Everyone’s got a grinning selfie with medal and social media is giving me a little bit of the racing bug. This weekend something major happened: I rode a bike that moved through space. I rode it from Point A to Point B (well, several times, since I rode a circular loop in a park).

But it wasn’t on a trainer or a Spin bike. It was my real bike. And although it had been 18 months (!) since I pedaled outdoors, my love for the bike was still there. I really do love riding outside. Nothing crazy, just a warmup 21 miles with Tara who is awesome for getting me out there.

I also woke up early (for me, 6 a.m.) on Sunday to volunteer at a race in my hometown, a 10K that’s held on the trails I run on. I ran this two years ago and I love these trails. It was nice to see all the runners and do the running-water-cup-handoff…Who knew the super fast people drink water at a 10K? Almost all of the leaders drank. I figured they didn’t have time for that when they’re running under 40 minutes but they did. Now I’m rethinking my no-water-stop-stance when I race.

The major takeaway from that was that getting up early wasn’t SO bad. I made sure to get up after one of Henry’s multiple night nursings (yeah) and then my husband slept in the bed with him (yeah) to replace me and hopefully keep Henry asleep (yeah) and I didn’t feel DEATHLY tired or anything.

This is my Working Out at 5 p.m. face. Not my 5 a.m. look.

At least until 8 p.m. when I only had enough energy to be really grumpy and lay on the floor as my kids ran frenetically around me. They were insane bouncing off the walls. For hours. It was so bad my husband and I actually wondered for a few minutes if a chocolate cupcake she ate earlier had been made with espresso and I was going to call the bakery and ask if it had SpeedMethBalls as a secret ingredient.

Every day is pretty much a circus around here.

And amazingly, the morning I left early, Henry woke to root around for the boob around 7 a.m. and found it wasn’t there (just a sleeping, useless due to non-lactation parent) but only cried for a reported minute and went back to sleep. So that worked out well. Maybe I can even start meeting friends for early weekend morning rides. I just require a nap or a padded cell for the 8 p.m. decline in mental function that’s sure to follow.

So if I can ride my bike outside, I can get up early (sometimes) and I want to race, the logical next step is to sign up for a half Ironman, right?


Let me ennumerate the problems with triathlons. Or, more specifically, my problems with triathlons.

1. You have to wake up at 3 a.m. Or 2 a.m. Or so early it’s actually the day before. You have to go to bed, then jump right out of bed and start getting ready. What is with the masochistic Type A personality high school drill sergeant obsession of these tri people? They delight in thinking they are morally superior because they biked and ran before everyone else woke up. Some of us were born with a different circadian clock. If we happen to also like to race, we’re pretty much screwed.

2. You have to swim.

3. You have to swim in open water.

4. You have to swim in open water in a wetsuit.

I can’t wear a wetsuit. When I tried to swim in a wetsuit, I had panic attacks and thought I was being choked to death. I had to peel the wetsuit off every time and swim without it. I still had a panic attack about 50% of the time without it, but still better. I’ve tried different types, sizes, etc. I will have to solve this issue before I can do most of the races around here, especially early season ones. And even the later ones, when the water is warm enough to swim without a suit, I kind of get screwed because all things being equal, wetsuits make you faster.

Why can't we just race in bathing suits and stop for a drink at every transition?

5. You have to do crap like change your own tires and learn the mechanics of how your bike functions. I just find this boring, and thus, I am obstinately stupid about it all. I’d like to be a cool chick who can fix my own shit, but, no. Science, math, troubleshooting electronics that break, I’m there. Packing my bike into a box and putting it back together? I’d rather rebuild a car transmission. In other words, I’d rather walk.

6. You have to FIT INTO your sized small wetsuit from before your last baby to swim in open water in a wetsuit.

But with all this being complained about, I do want to do another triathlon. I just need to wean my baby, get him to sleep all night, get back to my former paces and fitness level, and find a way to learn to swim, and obtain endless child care for my children to train. So I should be ready for a sprint triathlon next summer.

Or, in fifteen years. See you then! At 1 a.m.!


Filed under Running and Racing

3 Responses to The Trouble With Triathlons

  1. Lauren

    Nice you got out on the bike! As much as I love riding outside, I sometimes just find myself wanting to mindlessly spin away indoors so I don’t have to worry about traffic or where I’m going.
    I’m with you on triathlons. I did one on Block Island a few years ago and thought I was going to drown. I really hate swimming. I can swim, just not well. I seem to remember turning over on my back half way through and kicking my way through the water. Also, as much as I ride outside, I’m really bad at taking care of things on my bike. Sometimes I have to call the husband to come fix things or pick me up if something breaks. Probably should work on this, but I just want to ride, not fix things!
    Also, that picture of Henry is hysterical :)

    • admin

      Wow, Block Island is such a beautiful spot for a tri though. Yes, same with me…I want to ride my bike, not become a bike mechanic. Are you going to do any more tris?

      • Lauren

        I’m hoping to take some sort of adult swim class this winter. I really need some work on my stroke since I basically just used to do what I could to survive the swim. Would love to try another one next spring or early summer if I’m not pregnant with baby #2 by then!

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