An overly pushy, but avid, triathlete approached me after my Ride n’ Stride class a few weeks back. “So, do you do triathlons?” she asked. “No,” I said, shrugging. I thought this might be the end of it, but then I looked at her. She rode the entire 30 minutes of cycle and ran 30 minutes of treadmill boot camp in her swimsuit. I’ve seen many an impressive outfit at the gym, but never quite this. She was serious.

So, I had to confess. I’m not a triathlete. I am a chicken. Triathlons strike the same fear in me that rollercoasters and parachuting out of an airplane strike – being out of control.

I’m not a swimmer. I realize a lot of triathletes’ weakest link is swimming…but really, I am not a swimmer. I do not like the pool and I do not want to spend time in the pool. I resent that it requires a change of clothes and that I have to get wet. I may sound like a child, but well, I’m an adult and I don’t have to what I don’t want to – at least when it comes to water sports.

Then, a triathlon requires me to bike…outdoors. I have utter confidence in my cycling ability – uphill. Downhill, however, I’m not so sure about. Actually, I am sure about it – I can’t do it. I was anxious getting on Splash Mountain. I don’t ski and I don’t mountain bike for a reason. Going downhill at any speed over 5 mph sends shivers of fear through me. Nope, not gonna do it.

My virulent tri-pusher would not take these excuses. I could get over the swimming and she would find triathlons for me that had mainly flat roads. “You must cross train,” she said – little did she know that cross training is not a problem. 

The reality is, I’m okay with my inability to overcome my “issues.” I am jealous of people who do triathlons. I long to learn about transitions…to perfect a stroke…to pass someone who smoked me in the swim…to do brick workouts – but I know my limits. I always swore I would never do a full marathon, but was talked into that…but deep down, that was something I knew I wanted. I don’t have any openness to a tri.

I do try, when I can. Sometimes, I just can’t.

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  1. [...] of being just average, or (gasp) below average. All the obstacles I put before me are listed in “Why I don’t Tri.” At one time, I put up all sorts of barriers about marathons – and now, I’m training for my [...]

  2. [...] 2 years ago, I wrote “Why I Don’t Tri” with an adamant anti-triathlon tone.  Sunday, I completed my first real triathlon and I have to [...]


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