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Why do I tri? Because over the last 5 years I have learned that I am capable of anything. So... Why NOT tri?

I did my first 1/2 marathon in 2012 when I was convinced by a friend that it was a good idea. I didn't run, but I started and I hated it. Every training run I grumbled. I kept waiting for that day when I would love running, but I just couldn't get there. On race day when I crossed that finish line, I was so beside myself that I was capable of taking on something that I never thought I could do, and finish it. I realized that it was the challenge of pushing myself that I loved. I no longer hated running. I didn't love it, but it was part of the challenge and accomplishment. In 2014 I took a chance and entered the drawing for the New York City Marathon. Go big or go home, right? I was drawn and I questioned myself if I was capable. I ran and ran and ran and on Nov 2nd completed my first (and only) full marathon.

What next? One day while hiking with a couple of friends I was told of a group called the Tucson Tri Girls. It was suggested to me to try a triathlon. I told them they were crazy. I can't ride a bike. Never rode one as a kid and I'm absolutely terrified to start now. The obvious solution? Sign up for a Tri. I joined the TTG and Friends Facebook page and was a lurker for a while. I eventually started asking some questions and was told to come to a beginning bike skills class with Coach Robin and Coach Fred. I didn't know a single person there. While everyone else was riding around with their clip in pedals weaving in and out of the cones while waving their hands all around over their heads, I was just trying to stay on top of my mountain bike instead of under it.

After the clinic, when I was loading up my bike to go home, someone came up to me and asked me to go to breakfast. It was Gloria Vasquez, Kay Wolferstetter and Kate Lemke. My first thought was to decline because they knew each other and I would just be sitting quietly by myself while they talked, right? I could not have been more wrong! These were the kindest ladies that made me feel so welcome! We talked about everything and they answered all my questions about my upcoming first triathlon and encouraged me to attend a TTG meeting. When I went to a meeting there was a WHOLE ROOM of these amazing women! One room full of a combination of runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes all different ages, all different experience levels, all willing to help a newbie. I knew I had found a new family. I bought a road bike and I think I rode it all of 3 times, terrified and only what I absolutely needed to get through this triathlon. I finished my first triathlon with my sister (also her first) and we were last in, but I didn't care about that. What I really cared about was that I rode a bike for 14 miles and I didn't crash and I didn't die. I had to stop 5 times to shake out my numb hands, catch my breath, get a drink, walk up that hill or just regain my composure, but I didn't die! But I didn't feel any more comfortable on bike either. I had many offers from many amazing Tri Girls to come ride with them and "We'll go slow", "We'll just ride on the bike path" and "We'll ride at your pace." I answered every offer with a smile and a "Great! Thanks! I'll let you know!" Knowing I would not go through with it. I was too embarrassed about my bike skills, control and speed to ride with anyone. I didn't want to slow anyone down. I figured I would just ride alone until I got a little better and then try riding with people. After a few months I realized riding alone wasn't working because I wouldn't go out and ride. I needed people. Carolyn Audilet suggested I come ride with her. Um...Ya. Knowing what kind of a cyclist she was and what kind of rider I was, this was NOT a match. So I found excuses why I couldn't ride with her. And then it happened. One day when I cancelled on Carolyn (Aug 2016) she had me meet her for coffee. She told me I was letting my fears get in my way and I needed to face them. She made me promise to meet her to ride. So I very hesitantly rode with her and she was AMAZING! She taught me so much I can't even list it all but the biggest and most important was that she helped me find my confidence. Once that happened I was able to venture out with other people as well. The more I rode and the more people I rode with, the more I learned and my confidence would build. I was starting to actually have fun and enjoy my bike instead of being scared of it.

I signed up for my first El Tour de Tucson and rode the 54 mile. Something I never thought I could do. One more challenge completed. In the last year I have completed my first ETT, successfully completed Saguaro East Loop without dying, completed the 51 mile Nogales Classic, climbed Mt Lemmon, descended Mt Lemmon, rode to the Whipple Observatory Visitors Center and learned to NOT ride my brakes on the downhill and much more. Still working on reaching down for my water bottle. My goal for this year is to complete the full 106 mile El Tour de Tucson, which will be my first century ride. Also something I never thought possible. When I started riding, all I wanted was to be able to ride 25 miles without feeling like I wanted to die. I think I have officially passed that accomplishment. None of this would have been possible without Tucson Tri Girls. Individually, so many strong and amazing women. Together, one powerhouse of a family. If I have one piece of advice for any newcomers to the club, it would be don't do it alone. You don't have to. You'll go so much farther with friends, its definitely more fun and so much help is offered here. Welcome to the club!

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