In 2 months I'll be participating in my first triathlon. (I'll wait while you check the url. Yes, it's me.) I know! I never thought I'd do one either. Besides the fact that preparing for a triathlon is an awful lot like working out, the big hiccup for me is that there is an entire section of this event devoted to running. I tried like hell to find a triathlon that didn't include running and instead included something like, oh I don't know, shopping or dining but no luck. Bottom line is, if you're going to compete in a triathlon, you're going to have to run. And I think you know how I feel about that.
Running and Jenne just don't mix very well. We're like oil and the Exxon Valdez. We stick together for a short while, but really it's just a disaster waiting to happen. And wildlife will die. I just don't run well. I once decided that if I ever die in a horrible and tragic violent crime, it will be because I refused to run. Killer would be all "Run or die!" and I'd be all "Can I hear those choices again?". Running just doesn't feel right. It feels wrong – I mean like, morally. Like the entire time I'm doing it I feel ashamed of myself. Humiliated and violated at the same time. And it isn't like I haven't tried to run. There have been a number of times when I've decided I'm going to become a runner. And I try. I try and I try. With no luck. "Maybe you're trying too hard" a runner friend of mine once said. "Maybe you should work up to it." And she proceeded to tell me to not try to do so much straight away. Instead, she said just run for a block, and then walk for a block, and then run again … she said to do that and it would make a big difference in the misery factor. So armed with this half-assed notion and a full-assed rear end I headed out the door. I got to the end of my block. I crossed the street and then broke into a run. I ran for a block then I stopped and walked for a block. Then I ran again. Then I walked. Then I ran. Then I walked. Then I ran. Then I threw up. Then I went home. The entire way home I thought my head was going to blow off my shoulders. My face felt hot and emergency-room red and I could literally feel my pulse in my ears … and it felt like machine gun fire.
I should be so lucky.
Later that morning I had breakfast with the know-it-all friend who suggested this method of getting into running. I explained in great detail my little adventure. She listened. She laughed. She almost got water thrown in her face and then she turned serious and said. "Look, I totally understand. But believe me, if you just keep doing that … if you do it over and over … if you do that same thing like every other day for 3 or 4 weeks, in the end, you won't throw up and you won't feel like your head is going to explode. I promise." And all I could think of was that sounded like an awful lot of work to just not throw up. Let's face it, I could stay on my couch and not feel like my head was going to blow off my shoulders … in fact, it's one of the things I sort of like about my couch … there is rarely any head explosions happening there. And so that's what I did. I stayed in and on my couch and sure enough, right away I felt like I wasn't going to throw up.
But deep down the urge was still there – is still there. Deep down I want to run … or rather, I want to want to run. Deep DEEP down I want to be able to effortlessly glide across the ground, to run next to The Hub and have meaningful conversations, to join one of those running groups and keep pace with other people while we enjoy each other's company and the sound of our feet slapping the pavement.
Then again, deep down I also want to be a kangaroo … and frankly, that ain't happenin' either.
Still, I have signed up for and have been training for my first triathlon. Run included.
For those of you who don't know, a triathlon is an event consisting of 3 legs – swim, bike and run – in that order. (As a reminder, I only have 2 legs – the right and the left.) There are different distances of triathlons, the most well-known is the Ironman – which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. I won't be doing that. And I won't be doing the Olympic distance either. I will however be doing the half-olympic distance. Which is a 750 meter open water swim (that's a little less than ½ mile for the metrically challenged), a 20 km bike (that's 12.4 miles) and a 5 km run (that's agony). I'm not a swimmer – I like to swim. I enjoy being in the water. I know how to move in the water to decrease my chances of drowning but I wouldn't call myself a swimmer. I'm not a cyclist either – the giant bruise on my left hip and cuts up and down my right leg sort of prove that. And clearly, I'm not a runner – even though I've somehow worked my way up to actually being able to run (and I use that term very, very loosely) for 45 minutes without stopping (or puking). Regardless, in 2 months I'll be doing all those things. In that order.
Kind of exciting, isn't it?