We’ve known each other since high school, been together since college, and been married now for 40 years. We’ve strived to stay active over the years. For Mike, there was PeeWee baseball and football, high school wrestling, college intramurals, and adult soccer. For Kris, a generally active life-style including some criterion racing in college (for those who might remember, Eddy Merckx was the big name in international cycling way back then). As a couple, we’ve done multi-day bicycle road trips, climbed numerous 14ers/near-14ers (including Rainier), completed the Wonderland Trail, X-country skied, run various venues including Sound-to-Narrows, and eventually we found our way to triathlon.
From Mike: I attempted my first triathlon (AA Sports’ Black Diamond Sprint) in 2005 at the age of 53, mostly just for fun. I broke out my shorty wetsuit by Stearns, dusted off my $200 road bike, and sort of trained for a whole month (the closest I got to open water was the swim beach at Lake Meridian). At that time, my freestyle was only good for +/- 50 yards, so I planned to swim breaststroke for the most part. I had a simple race plan—start at the back, let everybody else lead the way, and just finish at my own (easy) pace. A couple of things disrupted that plan. First, I chose not to enter the water prior to the start—that stuff’s cold, right? And second, as soon as my wave took off, I was hit by this uncontrollable urge to “KEEP UP!” and immediately gave chase. The result (cold water shock, followed by a short burst of anaerobic freestyle) left me completely out of breath and emotionally overwhelmed just seconds into the swim. I somehow made my way to shore, sat awhile and tried to think of a good way to just collect my gear and go home. Couldn’t come up with one, so did the only other thing I could—reinstituted my race plan, got back in the water and finished the race. What was supposed to be a one-time, “bucket list”-type thing became a challenge to do it again the next year, only with better preparation. It was almost 4 years before I raced again. While training for the 2006 reprise race, I had a serious crash on my bike and spent a week in Harborview. I eventually recovered physically, but had lost my mental mojo. It took a challenge from an older brother in 2009 to get me back in the saddle and into triathlon again. That was the year I found and joined RTB, got a little more serious about training and equipment, and I’ve been tri-ing ever since.
When I think about why I still tri, it mostly boils down to that word “challenge”. I’m not particularly talented athletically, and so am constantly looking for ways to improve my freestyle (bike, run) technique, to be faster, stronger and/or more efficient. In addition, I’m starting to do longer distances than my usual sprint. I did my first Olympic distance (Meridian) just last year, and will repeat that this year, followed by my first 70.3 at Black Diamond to end the season. An added challenge is to do all this while dealing with a body that just isn’t as resilient as it used to be. Besides the challenge aspect, the other big reason I still tri is Kris (together, we are Team SchroMotion). Without her ability and willingness to train with me this whole triathlon thing would be lots harder.
From Kris: I bought my first pair of running shoes in high school… back then there were no running shoes for girls/women (yes, I guess that makes me old) … and since I have relatively small feet, I ended up with little boys’ size 4 1/2 Adidas. Thankfully, much has changed! I don’t really consider myself an athlete… I'm not competitive by nature… more goal-oriented with a love of muscle-powered sports (except maybe swimming). I came late to this party known as triathlon and I’m so happy I did! I joined RTB one year after Mike did… he seemed to be having so much fun!! I don’t race that often… am more drawn to the training (goals!) and to relays (fun with friends!) and to volunteering (all the excitement with minimal training commitment!). My biggest challenge with multisport was overcoming my fear and actually putting my face in the water while learning to swim (still working on it!). I’m inspired by all the RTB members… and especially by Mike… he continues to strive for improvement and he keeps me moving even when I’d rather not.
In closing, we’d like to just mention how much we appreciate the support and encouragement that comes with RTB membership. They’ve got your back, whether it’s related to multisport, or just life in general. We know this from personal experience. The attitude that permeates from the top, on down through the ranks, is basically, “You got this!”. Thanks RTB!
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