“Do one thing every day that scares you.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

This is a quote my friend Lisa shares frequently. Well, not sure that I have been doing one thing every day that scares me but tomorrow I’ll be doing something that is sort of like 365 days of scary all rolled in one. I’m doing a TRIATHALON!!!

Jersey Girl Triathalon

Jersey Girl Triathalon

Nope, never done one before. You know that I only recently bought a bike for the first time as an adult and I’m still quite the novice on it.

photo copy

And I don’t know if I’ve shared this before but I didn’t ever learn how to swim so when I am in a pool I mostly just do the doggie paddle or hold on to the wall. And my body issues usually keep me from ever getting into a pool in the first place. Not to mention the ocean. I love to be near the ocean but swimming in it?! Um, I think I might have once in Bermuda in 1991. So how did this all happen? Thursday evening Jane, my NJ Marathon friend texted me to let me know a friend dropped out and they had an extra bib.

see jane and sally finish the marathon

see jane and sally finish the NJ marathon

I said “thanks, but no thanks”. She worked on me for a bit until finally the text that changed my mind “I’m just trying to keep you young!” Challenge accepted! Yesterday on my lunch break I bought a bike helmet, swim cap, goggles and some longer spandex/nylon bike shorts.

bike helmet

bike helmet

swim cap, nose plugs just in case and goggles

swim cap, nose plugs just in case and goggles all on sale 25% off because the store was going out of business! SCORE!

I’ve got a sleevlees spandex tank already. And I’ve obviously got running sneakers and a bike. Gear: CHECK! The Jersey Girl Triathalon is a beginner friendly, all-women’s event consisting of a 300 yard open water swim, an 11 mile bike and 3 mile run. They welcome all types of bikes so my 6 speed cruiser will be fine. And they even have “swim angels” in the water to help you if you’re struggling. Swim angels are guys in gold spandex shorts with angel wings on their back. This may or may not be the real reason I agreed to this =)

Training for a TRI in 2 days:

The bike and run are both along the same course as the NJ Marathon so I’m familiar and know that the route is fairly flat. I spent the month of June bike riding and worked my way up to 24 miles so 11 miles doesn’t scare me at all. And a 3 mile run? Well, that’s cake (save for the fact that I’m sure I’ll feel like a ton of bricks by then). But the swim? How on earth would I manage this first leg of the journey? I live in a condo development and we have a community pool.



I’ve lived here for 14 years and until yesterday had never used it. I knew I had to at least see if I could stay afloat for 300 yards before I truly could agree to this event. I got to the pool at 7:15pm last night knowing they closed in 30 minutes. I jumped in and just started paddling. First the doggie paddle which then lead to some sort of side stroke. I barely let my limbs break the water but keeping the splashing down made it easier for me to stay calm. I ended up finishing in 15 minutes with just a 5-10 second stop at each end of the pool to get in a good inhale.


Obviously in a normal triathalon you don’t have the option to stop and take a breath but since this event is beginner friendly they have this info on their website:

Course will be lined with more than 20 lifeguards. In addition, swim angels will be available on shore and in the water (wearing yellow caps) if you need assistance for the swim. You can rest on a surfboard, rope or use a noodle* at any time during the swim”

This morning I went back and did the same only i shaved one whole minute off my time!

And that is how I trained. As for the tranisitions? Jane has been giving me the 101 via pictures she took of her transition area all laid out for last years race and a checklist so I’m following that as a guideline. The good thing is I don’t care about how long this event takes me.

photo courtesy of Jane

sample set-up run gear left and bike gear right…photo courtesy of Jane

So basically I just need to A) Not have a panic attack in the ocean B) somehow fake it with my half side stroke/half doggie paddle swim style and complete the 300 yards. C) Figure out transitions on the fly having never practiced this before and D) Not screw up with mounting/dismounting spots and end up disqualified.

And yes, I’m crazy. But I’m excited. I can’t wait to conquer fears that have plagued me for so many years, and my healing foot will love the cross training and short run.  Just think….3 months ago I was afraid to ride a bike having not been on one since my accident at camp when i was a kid.

Now you tell me one thing you did that was WAY out of your comfort zone? 


  1. I think this is awesome and sounds like a fun way to spend the day trying something new! Good luck, Sally!

  2. I’m proud of you Sally….I now want to try a tri.

  3. Pingback: more about body issues

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.