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2013-07-05 7:03 PM

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Subject: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Hello.

My first triathlon, sprint distance, is in a little over 2 1/2 months. Even now, this far away, I'm very nervous and having major doubts.

An abbreviated version of my story is that I have a history of depression. I had an eating disorder during my teen years, but consider myself recovered for the most part--it is questionable whether the depression part will ever go away. I moved away from home to attend graduate school, but found myself feeling very alone and hopeless and I spent a lot of time lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. During one of my bedridden phases, I made a pact to start training for a triathlon. My desire to do a triathlon stems from my love of biking and fitnes coupled with the feeling of community that is associated with the sport. Most importantly, actively signing up for a race and becoming dedicated to a sport has given me something to look forward to; it gets me out of bed most mornings.

However, whenever I am training and can't get that 5k in under 25 minutes or struggle on an uphill climb, those feelings of worthlessness permeate. Am I good enough to do a triathlon? Would it be better if I just quit while I was ahead and spared myself the embarrassment? Will people stare and laugh if I struggle during the race? Will they watch my body jiggling and snear? I am by no means unhealthy, but I am also by no means an elite athlete. I had a stint in powerlifting, so I'm a bit bulky for a barely 5'4'' female and do not have the greatest cardiovascular endurance yet (and before that I did ballet for 15+ years but was told I was too big boned so I quit). But my struggles now are weighing heavily on me.

The short version of this post is that I was looking to see if people have gone through the same type of doubts.
I wanted to ask everyone: How did you start out? What did you do before you were a triathlete and what brought you to the sport? What sorts of struggles brought you to where you are today? Is it ever difficult for you to watch others who are more athletic? Have you ever wanted to give up after the first race (or before)? What made you keep going?

Thanks.


2013-07-05 8:39 PM
in reply to: katbrun77

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere

Hi, welcome to BT and triathlon!

We have a lot in common--height, did sport fighting in weight divisions (stocky for an almost-not quite 5'4" ) I have major depressive disorder and have found endurance training to be invaluable in helping that.

Lot of great resources here for you.

This thread, sometimes more active, sometimes less, is great too:

http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=109489

2013-07-06 5:44 AM
in reply to: katbrun77

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
no one will laugh at you during the race remember they are racing their race and you are racing your race. This is my 5th season doing triathlons. For the most part I am one of the slowest swimmers. Bike is ok, Run is poor. I am a BOP type person. I still love doing triathlons.

I find that when I am struggling during a race it is the spectators who encourage me to keep going. Even other racers will encourage you.

For some races I think there has to be someone who finishes last so why can't it be me. I keep trying but have never been dead last but have come very close.
2013-07-06 1:37 PM
in reply to: suefesta

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
First of all well done on getting this far - remember there are loads who think "triathlon .....no thats way to hard for me".
We all started somewhere and even though I've been doing them for 4 years I still have doubts about different aspects of my races. Definately no one will laugh at you - every race I've been to is full of respect for those competing - more so from other competitors as they know what it takes to get to the start line but also from supporters because they see how much friends & loved ones put into it (and because on the inside their jealous that they're watching and not doing it like you!!)
Keep up the good work and you'll finish with flying colours.

and welcome to BT!!
2013-07-06 6:04 PM
in reply to: grahamclarke_6

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Stay positive and don't beat yourself up. I did my first tri last weekend and had a BLAST! Finished in the middle of the pack for my age group M45-49 and my 5K time was 30-min. So don't sweat the fact that you haven't run a 5K in under 25-min. I got started last year after photographing a triathlon - after that event I was so motivated by all the racers from all walks of life having overcome all kinds of diversity, I knew I wanted to be apart of the community

I will tell you this - that once you are in the race you will no doubt feed off all the positive energy from those around you. As you have already stated it is a very supportive community. Visual the finish line and enjoy the moment.

My doubts were with the swim but in the end it wasn't as bad as I had imagined. Good Luck and stay positive!
2013-07-06 7:59 PM
in reply to: Ranski

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
I came to triathlon from a long period of inactivity and obesity.
I absolutely love the fitness lifestyle and am so much more happy now.

I agree that having a race on your calendar helps get you out the door and working out.
I am trying to break 40mins for my 5k! It is a struggle for us all to meet our personal objectives.
Even with that the community is so supportive no matter where you are at!

I am so happy for you that you are working on doing positive things for yourself!!

You have a place in this community no matter what level of fitness you are at. That is what I think of when I look around at the very fit bodies at events. I may have body lumps and things I don't like but I don't think about them when my body is moving at taking me further than I could have ever imagined!





2013-07-06 10:48 PM
in reply to: Chunga

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Thank you, all! Your words and stories are very inspiring--Keep them coming if possible!

Sometimes it is just good to know that there are other people out there like you, and that "everyone starts somewhere". I went out on a limb, and I'm pleasantly surprised to see this kind of supportive response. I have a feeling I will feel very at home doing triathlons. Unlike other sports, you have such a wide variety of participants from all different backgrounds and with different reasons for joining. More importantly, despite these differences, everyone is willing to offer support and advice.
2013-07-08 9:44 AM
in reply to: katbrun77

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Fun Fact? A 25min 5K will beat a lot of people (including me).
2013-07-08 10:07 AM
in reply to: VGT

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
I couldn't swim 10 yards when I first started last year, Talk about embarassing when you can't even make it across the pool without stopping, i didn't own a bike and hadn't ridden one since I was probably 10 years old and hadn't run much either.

I still struggle w/ the swim but I am getting better, starting to love running and biking.

Remember there will always be someone faster than you at some point in time, even for the Elites, just go out there do your best and have fun.

Now that I'm older, I do the best I can but I also encourage people along the way.

I encourage you to encourage people too when you are doing your 1st triathlon and every one after.

Good Luck!
2013-07-08 11:15 AM
in reply to: VGT

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Originally posted by VGT

Fun Fact? A 25min 5K will beat a lot of people (including me).


I only wish I could do a 25 min 5k
2013-07-11 10:04 AM
in reply to: austhokie

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Well...I am a long way away from a 25 minute 5k, but it is what I aspire to.

I was thinking about 5k's because I went to speak at a conference in Jacksonville last month. There was a 5k fun run one day, and I heard the winners announced. The first place people had 15-17 minute times. It was ridiculous and I felt terrible about my running ability.


2013-07-11 12:09 PM
in reply to: katbrun77

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
I started 50 pounds heavier than I am now without being able to put my face in the water when I swam, riding a squeaky $20 bike I bought at a yard sale. No one laughed at me except me. The tri community as a whole has to be the most inclusive and supportive group of people I've ever been around.

The people who run 15-17 minute 5ks are either genetic freaks or run every free moment they have. Don't worry about them. They're unhappy because they're looking at the people who run in the 14s anyway!

Seriously, just do your thing, enjoy your training since most of your time will be training anyway, and holy cow congratulations on how far you've come already in such a short time. The decision to do this and then the follow through to start down the path is the hardest part. Keep at it and you'll surprise yourself. And welcome to BT, we're all here to help out in any way we can.

2013-07-13 6:18 PM
in reply to: katbrun77

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Welcome to BT.

Feeling nervous before your first triathlon is incredibly common and completely and utterly normal. I was an absolute nervous wreck before mine, but race day was an incredibly good and fun experience and triathlon has hooked me for the last 3 years.

Everyone does triathlon for different reasons, some to compete for a podium finish (certainly not me!), some to lose weight and be more athletic (yup, one of my reasons), some to push themselves to be better than they were (partly my reason), and some to have fun (me, me, me!). Everyone races their own pace and their own race and usually have no idea where you came in your group until you reach the finishing line. Yes, I do check my race times, but the training and racing is the most important thing for me. I love chatting to people during training and on race day, and I have met some fabulous triathletes both locally and here on BT. Nobody laughs at me being a 'slightly-larger' triathlete, and I always get a lot of support on the courses, from supporters, volunteers and other athletes.

Keep going, sounds like you're doing great, despite your doubts and struggles. Just remember to be patient but enjoy your training. I have no doubt that you'll be there on your race day in 2.5 months time. Good luck
2013-07-15 8:12 PM
in reply to: katbrun77

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Subject: RE: Everyone Starts Somewhere
Welcome to the community. Let me just tell you NOBODY will laugh at you ever in this sport. I'm new to triathlon and fitness as well this year. I started doing triathlons in April and am getting ready to do my 5th triathlon next weekend. I've competed in two olympic distances and this will be my third sprint. I am also in the back of the pack and in fact in my olympic distance race last weekend I was last by a good fifteen minutes. After I crossed a sign or water table a guy in a truck packed it up. And you know what, when I crossed the finish line a bunch of the athletes (many of them medal winners) were there cheering for me even though none of them knew me.

Triathlon is unique because it's not a vs. sport it's a challenge sport. Many times when someone passes you (even the 75 year old) they will say "good job" or "you've got this". Everyone competing understands the challenge.

You can do this!!
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