We have an incredible team of athletes at Triathlon Training Team. Each member has a story and a path that brought them to the here and now, we are so excited to share their stories with you so you can get to know our team that much more. We will be featuring athletes every month so be sure to check back often. Maybe you’ll find someone that shares your same fears, loves the same distance as you, has similar obstacles making it difficult to commit to training. Whatever it is you are looking for, we are confidant you will find it at Triathlon Training Team and look forward to joining you are on your journey!
Today we are honored to feature Triathlon Training Team member: Cheryl
1.How did you get your start in triathlon?
My brother-in-law and his wife convinced my husband and I to do a sprint triathlon about 3 years ago. Did no training, but knew how to swim and had mountain bike and running shoes. Enjoyed it (the swim was not pretty…). Did another sprint and decided I needed training if I was going to continue. A coworker mentioned a free “Give It a Tri” triathlon clinic in Los Alamitos. That is where we met the coach, Diego. I chickened out at the last minute for the Long Beach sprint triathlon (the ocean swim got me), but we joined his team and later his personal coaching and evolved from there.
2.What do you enjoy most about the sport?
The training, both group and individual. I like the variety of running, swimming and biking. The team is terrific. They are all very inclusive. There is diversity in age and ability, which I found surprising. I thought triathlons would be for the young and really athletic types. But it’s really for anyone who wants to give it a try. Our team also gets together socially which has created a great source of friendships. Our youngest daughter is also on the team.
3.What is your favorite triathlon distance and why?
Still pretty new to the sport (completed 3 sprints, 1 Olympic and 1 half Ironman), but would say Olympic distance for fun and half Ironman for challenge. I never thought I would say this, but sprint doesn’t seem to be worth the effort anymore (too short, haha).
4.What are your goals for this season, what are your upcoming races?
Getting ready for another half Ironman (in Tempe) coming up in October. After that we’ll see. There’s so many races out there, it’s hard to decide.
5.Do you have a bucket list race?
I’ve been saying “never” to doing a full Ironman, but my husband wants to do one and the team talks about it (a group of them just finished Whistler). It’s a good kind of peer pressure to have though, so maybe… Santa Rosa (wine country!) and/or Kentucky (encouraged by team friend) next year.
6.Describe the feeling of finishing your first triathlon?
I did three sprints before I did my first half Ironman. We had to sign up for Oceanside half Ironman 9 months ahead of time because it sells out quickly. I think of Oceanside as my first triathlon. I trained long and hard for it. Going in, I was definitely fearful of the swim. But once I started, I knew I had it. I felt prepared and elated all the way until about mile 6 on the run. I was never so happy to finish and said I’d never do it again. That lasted for about 30 minutes, then I couldn’t stop talking about doing another one. Go figure.
7.What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to participate in the sport?
The swim was the most mentally challenging and the run was the most physically challenging. Swimming seems to be the most common hurdle. Definitely a big difference between lap swimming in a pool and open water swimming. But with team practices and coaching, I’ve come a long way. Still working on the running, but when all else fails, walking gets you to the finish too.
8.What is your favorite memory/experience the sport has brought you during either training or racing?
Finishing the race and having the team there to cheer me in. Also, just hanging out with the team before and after training and races. They’re just a great group of people. The Triathlon Training Team is the best!!
9.Is there anything else you would like me to ask that I didn’t? What would that question and answer be?
What advice would you give to anyone considering this sport?
1. Join a team – offers encouragement, camaraderie, inspiration
2. Get a coach – keeps you accountable, track progress, overcome hurdles, set goals
3. Enjoy the process – It’s an evolution. I went from mountain bike using running shoes, to road bike with bike clips and now it’s second nature. My swim is getting better with lap swim and open water swim practice.
4. You can do it – We’ve had folks that couldn’t swim when they started. This sport really has all ages and athletic abilities. I am continually surprised by this. Of course, check with your doctor first.
5. And one more thing – on the bike, unclip early (before stop, etc.), always unclip on the same side first (so it becomes automatic), and never go up a driveway sideways (the stupid skinny tires can’t get over the lip of the curb). Lessons learned the hard way.