Published: August 23, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
A couple weeks ago while cruising through social media I came across an announcement for a new event attached to the Red Lake Triathlon, an entry-level distance meant to draw more competitors into the sport. I mentioned this to Lisa here at the office and her response was “I could do that.”
So this past Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. battling our nerves we gathered at the government docks to watch the “real” triathloners take off. At that time our motto became – Keep going, Just don’t die.
Full disclosure I was not quite a beginner as I did complete a sprint four years ago, although that was a new bike, 40lbs and about 1,455 missed training days ago.
There were six of us in the Tri-the-Tri event, beginners that, about two hours later, became real triathloners. Here at the office we haven’t talked about next year’s event. I think each of us is waiting until getting back on our bikes is not such a painful though.
Over the last few years I have read a lot about Jennifer Szaflik’s journey into the sport and find it fascinating because her first experience with triathlon propelled her to a second career of competing while my experience gave me a free pass on anything athletic for a long time cause “I had done a triathlon”.
Szaflik talks a lot about being judged by many for the hours she spends training and her response to the criticism has remained that she wants to be a role model for female athletes, including her daughters.
When I attempt endurance events like this or half marathons I very rarely have a pit crew. Primarily because I believe the least number of people that experience me hot, sweaty, hangry and swearing the better.
And while I ate, drank and was merry this last few weeks Szaflik trained hard and jumped into Howey Bay on Sunday morning, the only female in the eight going for the Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run) she was cheered on by a chorus of “Go Mom”s. You can’t manufacture that kind of motivation.
Triathlon has been going strong in the district for almost 30 years due to the dedication of the volunteers and the drive of local althletes to push past their comfort zone and try something new.
By the looks of the young competitors finishing their events at the same time I dragged my fatigued body down Howey Street it will continue to have a bright future.