So about a week after I conquered Tough Mudder, I could start to feel my workout routine falling into a bit of a slump. For a little while, I just kept telling myself “completing Tough Mudder is the fitness accomplishment of a lifetime! You’ve reached your peak, congratulations!” Unfortunately, none of my runs or workouts seemed to carry the same passion and drive if I wasn’t training for something ridiculous and I quickly realized that I needed a new insane goal to work towards.
For a while, I tried looking at more obstacle course-style races, but even those that claimed to be harder and longer still seemed to lack the prestige and name recognition of Tough Mudder. Next, I looked into marathon-ing, but eventually had to come to terms with the fact that I usually hit the wall around 15km into a run simply because I start to get bored.
Eventually, I found the perfect compromise: triathlon. It had three different activities for me to switch between to keep from getting bore, plus, I knew I would feel amazing once I was able to say: “yeah, I’m a triathlete, no big deal or anything.” Within a day of this realization, I was signed up for the sprint length Vancouver Triathlon (750m swimming, 20km biking and 5km running) and was back in the training regime.
Before I knew it, I had somehow managed to acquire a wetsuit, rent a professional level road bike, reserve a hotel room in Vancouver near Stanley Park (where the Triathlon was held) and find myself standing in the ocean, ready to begin the race before 8am (a time I hadn’t been consciously awake for in months, since I’d been working in a bar all summer).
I was jolted out of my numbed excitement/nervousness by race’s signal gunshot and dove into the ocean. Over the course of the summer, I’d done most of my swim training in Whistler’s warm Lost and Alta Lakes in my bikini. The triathlon itself was during early autumn however, so I decided to wear my wetsuit, which I thought I was comfortable in after all the rafting and kayaking I’d done in it. This was a mistake. The extra weight I had to float while swimming was not something I was used to and I could feel my front-stroke beginning to sink from the surface. For several long and terrifying moments, I was certain I was going to have to seek refuge in one of the rescue kayaks surveying the race and forfeit.
In a desperate attempt to stay alive, I flipped onto my back and inhaled a giant breath of air. Miraculously, I regained my surface buoyancy and began to swim backstroke. Now, I’m notoriously terrible at swimming in a straight line when I’m on my back (you can’t see where you’re going), but the time I lost for this was more than worth not having to admit defeat. By the time I made it back to shore, I was near the back of the pack, but still alive (which at that point, was all that really mattered).
(Author’s note, please read in a dramatic narrator voice:)
… Will Judi redeem herself in the rest of the triathlon, or will she continue to face uncertain death by bike? Stay tuned for the next edition of “Travvelsized: a Triathlon-Sized Odyssey” to find out!