My Sister’s Turn

I have a sister. She’s insane. I don’t mean that in the clinical sense. I mean that in the fun sense. One time I said I was going to run into the freezing cold ocean with 4000 other people at the annual New Year’s day Dolphin Dip. Without hesitation she said, “I’m in.”

Another time we were driving on a frozen highway. I stopped the car, got out and started sliding on the ice for the fun of it. Without asking me what I was doing she got out and did the same. It’s not that she always copies me. She has plenty of her own crazy ideas, but now she wants to do a triathlon. She’s insane.

Rather than reading my words on her journey, you can read them straight from the newbie herself. I’m going to bow out now and leave you with my sister, Deb.


Preparing To Race Alone II: The Newbie

My baby “bother”, Lowell (LG), has been telling me and the world everything we always (and didn’t) wanted (or not) to know about triathlon for many years now. I used to work out, Before Kids. Over 2019, I had gotten rid of quite a bit of weight and had picked up working out again. My Chiropractor, Dr. John Hunt, asked me to restart his long-dormant walking club, so I have also been walking with some wonderful folks for the last year.  While visiting LG, Lori (the other LG), and Hunter, at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020, I got bit. 

LG, Lori, and I planned to enter the  “Three Little Pigs Triathlon Sprint” June 20, 2020 in Smithfield, North Carolina. I live in the Los Angeles area, California, so plans were made for me to fly back out a couple of weeks early so we could all train and then race together. That was mid-January, just before I flew back. When home, I started to focus on beginning to train — find a swimming pool (my home pool is a 36-foot kidney shape that I hadn’t used in years), possibly find a coach and/or other triathletes, get my son’s bike back in shape, and make sense of the beginners’ 12-week sprint triathlon training schedule sent to me by LG. After talking to several people, some who encouraged me, some who discouraged me, no coach or anyone willing to train similarly emerged. The local Tri Club had recently disbanded due to the founders being unable to find anyone willing to take over the stewardship from them. The bike is a beauty; I love it. Little by little, I’m learning about flat tubes, accessories, attachments, etiquette. There seem to be some great places to go for pools, but…

Then CoronaVirus/Covid 19 and sequestering hit. 

Training solo is mostly what it’s about. Loving the way my body feels as it moves, feeling the muscles, breathing the amazing air, pushing and challenging myself. I still feel left out in left field sometimes, though. Not really knowing what I should be doing to get ready, if I’m doing enough or correctly. The training schedule doesn’t take into account that I stopped running 10ks a while back because of bad knees and foot problems. It doesn’t take into account that it’s been decades since I’ve been on a bike and have to bike through heavily trafficked city areas (choosing not to drive to paths or trails or pay entrance fees or risk being stopped to have my bike stolen). It doesn’t take into account that I now have no access to regulation-size pools. It’s all good, though, and exciting. To quote LG on TriRiot:  Life is an endurance event. Training for triathlon is training for life.

So, I’m training away, getting better little by little and even running. The length of my pool is 36 feet (12 yards); that means to get to a 250-yard swim, I must swim 21 lengths. Doable, now. Riding around my area, I found the San Gabriel River Trail that goes about 40 miles from Seal Beach up into the mountains behind me. No one at the bike shop could tell me about local bike trails. Go figure. The walking group and I do anywhere from 2 to 4 miles up and down the local, hilly streets, have done several local 5k walks, and I do lots of solo walk/run/incline work at the local middle school track. I’m thinking “Maybe I can do this.”

Beginning of May, Lori and I started to make plans for me to fly out early June. Then in mid-May, Mom hears about a doctor who was interviewed saying that he tested Covid positive and was sick after catching it on an airplane trip. I look into that. Nope, I’m not flying. I called Lori and, getting choked up, told her I can’t put myself on a plane. Not two hours later, LG called and said that Three Little Pigs had been “postponed.” I felt lost, like the “bottom” had dropped out, maybe a little like the seniors who lost the last part of their senior year and graduation ceremonies. For what was I training? Oh, yeah, for me. The love of the way it feels and I feel overall. 

All Lori had to say was that Lowell would be doing his own Ironman 70.3 (TriRiot 70.5) and I knew that I had to do the same. Scary? You bet! Lonely? Scary for a first-timer. I’ve been getting a great amount of long-distance coaching from a special man who has immensely supported and encouraged me, also a triathlete, in England, who says to use this as practice. So, come June 20, 2020, I will be doing the “One Little Pig Triathlon Sprint” in Charles Roberts’ honor. Swim 11 laps at home being timed and spotted by a young friend and son of a roomer, hop on the bike and ride 12.3 miles partly on the San Gabriel River Trail up to the track at the middle school, where our dear brother Josh will meet me to be my support in all ways for my 5k walk/run. 

I still have so much to learn and for which to prepare in the next 2 weeks, but it’s exciting and beginning to seem manageable. LG will be giving me more pointers, as, I hope and pray, will Charles. Lists need to be made for things to buy, things to prepare, things to be aware of, things to ask.

I learned from a Hallmark movie that one doesn’t wait to get over the fear of doing something, one does it anyway while feeling the fear.


Until next time…