Why I Tri by Cindy McGonigal
Why I Tri: When I was turning 50 I decided I wanted to try something different. A few years prior to that time, I started bike riding with my daughter's mountain bike from when she was 12. I rode it for a couple of years! Then one day I went for a bike ride with Ann Hall, who had a road bike with clip in shoes! I was hooked and wanted a road bike. So that Christmas of 2007, my husband took me shopping and I looked at bikes. The dealer showed me a new bike marked down; he said it was for racing. He asked me if I would ever race. I said Oh No!!!! But I got the bike because it was such a good deal.
So now back to turning 50... I was already bike riding and wanted to try something new. I had just met Debbie Cederwall at the gym a few months prior and we decided to sign up and do Danskin. I took my good friend Ann Hall with me to listen to Sally Edwards speak. Ann said no way she wasn't interested and a few minutes later got out her checkbook and signed up!!!
Now, it was time to start swimming! I went to the KM pool and there we met the famous Patty Swedberg who was in charge of RTB. Debbie and I quickly joined and took a couple of lessons and swam a few times a week for an hour.
Now for the running part... no need to worry because I knew I wasn't much of a runner although I did run Varsity boys cross country (no Girls team) and even qualified for state.
Why I Tri ...continued, I was feeling a bit challenged doing a race that had 5000 women signed up, so I decided to do a smaller, less popular race Chelanman, with only 150 people signed up. This was in 2007. It was the month before Danskin. I also did STP for the first time and that was 6 days before Chelanman. I bought the traditional pink elephant balloon big enough to see in the Macy's parade and tied to my bike so I wouldn't get lost in transition. I had my fastest bike time ever in any race, probably due to STP.
Why I Tri... At this time I was on Methotrexate for a rare autoimmune disease and with all the exercise that was involved in Triathlons, I was able to be a stronger, fitter woman and get off some the medications that I had been on for 7 years. My doctor told me if you can do a triathlon, we can skip the pulmonary function testing which went from 78% to 98%!
My third year 2009, I signed up for my first 1/2 Ironman Lake Stevens. It was also my biggest disappointment. I was cut off accidently by a volunteer and had to turn my chip in early. They realized a few minutes later that it was a mistake but, my chip was at the bottom of the bucket and I didn't find out for an hour. Therefore, my biggest accomplishment was to go back this last year 2014 and finish although a slightly different race with different and difficult bike course. Needless to say I finished with a whole 5 minutes to spare. I crossed the finish line and cried. There was so much RTB support there!!!
Why I Tri...tons of support, lifelong friendships, training for health! Before now I wouldn't ride my bike on a cloudy cold day, now I do. I would never get up at o-dark- thirty to jump in a lake or a pool. I would have never put my bike on a trainer and rode in someone's garage when its 30 degrees outside. We did these training rides with Mike Swienty, one of my biggest supporters. We did these rides for about 5 years until he opened his studio. Lastly, I would never run in the rain and didn't until I saw a few Facebook posts from Kathy Morrison this year that said "outside” . So I trained outside for this year for the first time and have gotten faster and it's really not that bad! I improved my Seattle half marathon time by 36 min from 2013.
Every new distance brought the challenges of sleep the night before, but I don't think anyone ever says "Wow I slept great", the night before a race.
Why I Tri? To wrap up, I can't imagine not doing it! I have probably done over 70 races. I love the high you get from the event. I love being part of this great community. The support is second to none! The friendships are amazing. Looking forward to a great 2015! This will be my 9th year with RTB. A full Ironman is still on the list, just not sure when that will be.
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