Sometimes You Surprise Yourself

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on June 10, 2010

Hello there!

I promised you my thoughts on our try-a-tri race and I finally was able to sit down and write this post. If I had written it yesterday, it would have gone something like this…

Duhhhhhhh…… :blink:

It took me several days to wrap my head around the open-water swim. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. If you would have asked us if we would do another triathlon during the swim, we would have looked at your like you were nuts.

Following the race, we didn’t talk about doing another triathlon. We enjoyed the moment and allowed ourselves to just feel proud of our accomplishment. I think there should be a grace period after each race where you just enjoy the post-race glow for a while and not think about anything in the future. Don’t think about other races, training, workouts, nadda. Just breathe. Eat. Rejuvenate. Reminisce.

Eric and I talked a lot about Sunday’s race and we ‘re-lived’ certain moments. It is always fun to look back on some of life’s less than ideal moments and laugh, after the fact. For instance, Eric told me that I had the funniest look on my face when I was in the open-water swim (freaking out) and of course, he proceeded to imitate my expression in the water –> :cwy: + :shocked: and we broke into a fit of laughter.

The struggles we encountered with the swim left us wanting to improve. I for one, don’t want my last memory of an open-water swim being one of panic and fear. It also affirmed to Eric that he loves swimming in lakes. I have never been a fan of swimming in the lake (I get creeped out easily as you know), but now I find myself craving to go back out there myself. Very strange. We already have plans to go back to the lake this weekend!

For my entire life, I was never one to try things that were out of my comfort zone. I have always had a lot of anxiety and I preferred to keep it as minimal as possible. My mantra was to avoid anything and everything that provoked this anxiety. However, I started to view my fears differently when I quit my job and started up the bakery. I started to build confidence and face my fears. This led to my first ever 10k race in June 2009, and since then I have found that the more risks I take, the happier I am.


I used to be that timid girl who watched others from the sidelines and told myself that I could never do what they did because it just wasn’t me. I was somehow different than those people. What I have realized is that I’m no different from you or that girl out there in the water who was rocking the open-water swim and zooming past me on Sunday. Each and every one of us start somewhere in our journey. In 2008, I would go down to the park and look at my watch and tell myself to run for 1 minute without stopping. I would get to 59 seconds and stop in my tracks, gasping for air and walking for several minutes to catch my breath. I absolutely hated every second of it. I’m not going to kid myself and pretend like I enjoyed running, however with practice, I did just that.

Today, I headed out for my first run since the race on Sunday. I decided to do a 10k run to prepare for my 5-mile race on June 23rd. On today’s run, I noticed that I carried myself a bit differently. I felt powerful and I told myself, you just did a try-a-tri so this run today is in the bag. You can do whatever you set your mind to. I felt proud of what my body could do for me and I had a kick to my step!

On this run, everything became clear. I realized that I didn’t want to let my fear guide me, I wanted to guide my fear.

I would like to decide for myself just what I am capable of.

Surprisingly, I discovered that my husband felt the same way. We both didn’t want the open-water to beat us like we felt that it did on Sunday. We began looking at the events over the summer and we found a race that we would like to do in about 5 weeks time…

The Belwood ‘fat Tire’ Try-A-Tri on July 18, 2010.

  • 375m swim
  • 14km bike
  • 3km run


It is the same distance for the swim, but the bike leg is 4km longer and the run is 0.5 km longer.

The bike leg is also on a gravel path, which is why they recommend having ‘fat tires’.

Eric asked me what time it started at since it is a fairly long drive from us, and I said 1:15pm, and he goes ‘SOLD’. :lol:

And that was that!

This Belwood try-a-tri in July will be a great warm-up for the Women’s Sprint Triathlon in Milton that I am hoping to do in September. This sprint triathlon will be in the same body of water as was Sunday’s race. It is going to be my redemption day!

Sprint Triathlon:

  • 750m swim
  • 20km bike
  • 5km run


Each leg is double the distance of Sunday’s try-a-tri.

In upcoming days, I am going to talk about how I plan on fitting my training into my already crazy schedule and whether I will be following a training plan this time around. I will also be talking about whether I have plans to improve my gear for the sprint distance.

Wow, this took a loooooong time to write. It was quite cathartic though.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

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Eunice June 11, 2010 at 9:28 am

I love reading your blog because I always leave feeling more inspired and motivated! It’s cool to hear you talk about how you felt when you started running. I felt the same way not too long ago. Good luck with your training! You got this!


Danielle June 11, 2010 at 9:52 am

Do you think you are hooked after your first try a tri? Because I was! I felt so accomplished afterward, I want that feeling again. I can’t wait to do another one this year. The open water swim is the worst part, and it is best to just keep calm and just focus on technique. I did not do this my first time around. I panicked becuase of the current and I almost went out of bounds!!! I must have looked hilarious.
I look forward to reading more about your try a tri and sprint triathlon training!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm

haha I must have looked hilarious too…oh to have a bird’s eye view of me freaking out. Eric does quite a good impression.
Glad you enjoy them too!


k8 June 11, 2010 at 9:53 am

I still hate running. But I want it SO BADLY. Thanks for this post. It reaffirmed that if I just keep going, I will “get it.”


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Yes it takes time…not many people are true naturals at it. Even with all of the cardio training I did for years, I still couldn’t run more than 1 minute at a time. Humbling! Now I can run miles at a time.


Alayna June 11, 2010 at 9:55 am

Hi Angela!
I’ve been a reader of yours for a while now but this is my first time commenting. I was really interested to hear that running didn’t come naturally to you at first–that you had to push yourself to make it a minute without stopping. I’m at that point now in that I really enjoy running and have been at it for about 6 months, but I still can’t make it more than about 90 seconds before I just need to slow down. I’m wondering how you were able to push past it and run for longer and longer periods of time to where you are now. Does it just take time, or are there some things I can do to make it easier? Thanks for such an inspiring blog, I’m working on one of my own!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Hey! :)

What I had to realize is that I was running too fast too soon. When I slowed down my pace, I could run for a longer amount of time. Try to reduce your pace by 25-50% and you will be surprised at how much longer you can do. First build endurance, second build speed only later. Hope this helps!


Melissa June 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience and how you challenged yourself to combat fears. I too would sit at the side lines thinking I could never do this, or that! You really inspired me! Thank you:)


Steph June 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm

We are going to rock that women’s race on September! CAN’T WAIT!!!! My 12-week training plan goes into full effect on Monday. :)


Lauren June 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm

LOVE that quote.


Robynne August 23, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Angela… thank you for such a great blog post. I feel as though I could have written it… only I have not done my first triathlon yet. I have 4 weeks to go till race day. There was a mix up with our wetsuit order, so they came late – just got in the race water yesterday to aclimate with the suits. We’ve been training regularly in the pool, and have done one lake swim, but I didn’t go out very far then. I wanted to go out to the first buoy yesterday (which isn’t very far off shore), but after three tries, I panicked, flopped over on my back and practically hydroplaned back to shore out of sheer terror, ripped off my suit, sat down on the dock and started sobbing. My spouse came to my aid, wrapped a towel around me and held me until I stopped heaving.

I’m now entirely terrified, and thinking about backing out of the race. I think I bit off a chunk bigger than I can chew at this time in my life. Fear has plagued me my whole life (and panic disorder for the past 17 years), and yet I’ve done many things to try and overcome it. This endeavor feels like that one last step to freedom for me, and now I feel like I can’t take it.

All to say, I appreciate your post. Any other advice on how to get through this would be welcome.

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