By Emily Kulkus
I’ll never forget my first triathlon. I was so nervous in the days leading up to Iron Girl 2010 that I almost got into what would have been a pretty bad car accident the day before the race because my mind was far, far away. I had a million “what ifs” running through my head and I had butterflies the size of dinosaurs. Looking back I’m not sure what I thought might happen to make me so nervous. Was I going to drown? Definitely not. Would I get a flat tire? Possibly, but I felt fairly confident I could change it if necessary. Would I have to walk during the run? Maybe, but so what? (And for the record, none of those things happened.)
Training for that Iron Girl was a great way to get in shape and stay fit the year I got married. I had jumped completely out of my comfort zone of running a few 5Ks and taken up swimming, bought a bike and decided I could do all three activities back to back to back. The night before the race, the only thing going through my mind was: “What was I thinking?”
So when the morning of the race arrived and I stood on the beach waiting for my chance to enter the water, the dinosaur butterflies chomped at my insides. I thought I was going to puke. Several women around me started talking about how nervous they were, too, which helped. For many of us, it was our first tri. Then a woman standing right next to me said something that resonated as much as any experience had that year. “I’m three months pregnant,” she said with as much nervous energy as the rest of us. I thought, “if she can do this, I can do this.”
I have no idea who that woman was but I think of her at the start of every triathlon I’ve ever done. Crazy to think that her little nugget is probably entering first or second grade this fall. Even crazier to think that come Sunday, my fourth Iron Girl, I will have two munchkins cheering me on from the sidelines – if you can call gnawing on a cowbell cheering…
I’m excited to race and wish all of my fellow triathletes tremendous success this weekend! See you on the beach and remember, If she can do it, so can you.
** Are you registered for Iron Girl? Make sure you visit the Iron Girl "Rehearsal Dinner" 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4 at Fleet Feet Sports in DeWitt. We'll have snacks, drinks, raffles and other fun events in store to get you ready for race day! It's also a great opportunity to pick up any last-minute items and ask Iron Girl experts and athletes any questions you might have about the race. Click here for more information about the event.
Emily Kulkus is marketing coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports, Syracuse. Reach her at email@example.com.