A Beginner Triathlete Has Been Born

August 6, 2018   86 Comments

It is a little hard to believe since I have been writing about this for over a year – but on Sunday, August 5th, I completed a sprint triathlon.

A Beginning Triathlete Has Been Born

There is so much good stuff to write about that it may take me a few posts to tell the whole story. I must say that I was inspired by the event in many ways and perhaps my personal achievement was the least of it.

My first triathlon was the Greenfield Triathlon in Greenfield, MA. It was extremely well organized and has been going for 35 years!!

In case you didn’t know, a sprint triathlon starts with about 600 meters of swimming. Above, I am in a wetsuit swimming in a river. I am the one with the hand about to go into the water facing the camera.

Then you get out of the water (get out of the wetsuit), put on socks, a helmet, and bike shoes and ride 15 miles.

Here I am on my bike – chugging along as the course had two laps. I love my bike and the ride was both challenging and beautiful. It included corn fields, a covered bridge and lots of cute New England farm houses.

Finally, there is the run which is a 5K (or 3.1 miles). Here I am running slowly along in my triathlon outfit which is what you wear for the entire thing. It is quite comfortable.

And finally, you finish. I like this photo as you can see me hopping onto the finish line and my son running me in from the side. It was a good moment.

What can I tell you? I survived. The motto of this particular triathlon is “To Finish is to Win” and this photo is of me and my pals – Sarah and Amy – and our medals. EVERYONE GETS A MEDAL. I wore mine all day.

I want to say it was the greatest day of my life or that a surge of pride hit me when I finished but instead I felt frustrated. My left calf muscle told me to STOP RUNNING and I had to stop and attempt to stretch it. During the run, I was in pain and exhausted and I was thinking about calling an UBER. Instead, I decided to dig deep.

I reached into my body to find the strength to get me across the finish line. Hello?? Power, stamina, energy?? Anything?? LEGS?? Do I still have legs?

The answer came back very clear. You don’t have anything left. Walk your butt down the road and stop thinking about doing anything but getting to the finish line. For a good mile and a half - I was limping.

At a pit stop, I drank some water and a little bit of Gatorade. I began running to one telephone pole and walking to the next one. But not even the knowledge that I had .1 mile left was enough to get me truly moving.

Then, at the top of a little hill, there was my son and husband. They were smiling at me with shining eyes and yelling, “You got this, Mom!” “Go Lisa!!”. Because I was slow, I was the only one on the course coming into the finish line at that time (took me 46 minutes to do 5K).

The crowd of spectators (my friends and other people I had never met) starting yelling, “Go Lisa!! You look great!! Keep on going!!” and I found myself smiling as Amy gave me a high five.

I didn’t feel great and I didn’t want to keep going but I finished.

And I was angry.

I had done my best to let go of all my expectations about how long this thing would take me but I still had an expectation that I would feel powerful.

I wanted a Wonder Woman surge where I got out of my own way and blew past my limits. Instead, I had a very clear thought that I needed to ease up or I might injure myself. It was like Wonder Woman flew home in her invisible jet without saving anyone from evil.

That, my dear friends, was disappointing.

I don’t want to leave you on a low note. Here I am with my medal, chain grease on my jersey, and a number written on my arm. Don't I look tough?

I am a triathlete today. I survived but maybe next time a little bit of Wonder Woman will show up. I believe she is in here somewhere.

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Congratulations on completing your triathlon! You look like wonder woman to me!

I am so proud of you, Lisa! I know you must have been frustrated but you kept going and did not call an Uber! You finished the race! I think your larger accomplishment is setting the goal and working towards it. Brava, my friend!

Congratulations!!! You did it & you owned it. The race is not to the swiftest but yo those who keep running. Yayee you!!!

Congratulations! Amazing accomplishment!

Great accomplishment! And think about the messages you gave your children; planning, goal setting, working out, trying, persevering! I'm so impressed that you did this!

Lisa, girl you are encouraging me today . You are an overcomer and you have set yourself up to win . I must get started in my weight lose journey . Pray for me to get to where you have gotten . Thank you

Great job. You stuck with it for a whole year and did not let yourself down in any way.

Many congratulations!! A tremendous accomplishment and you look awesome. Please don't be so hard on yourself.


Congrats on an amazing race. What a fabulous accomplishment!

I’d like to say something more poetic, but what comes to me is, “Wow. I’m impressed!!” Good going, Lisa.

Mazel Tov!!! I am in awe of your determination.

Way to go! Congratulations!

I bet most of us reading this couldn't even imagine completing one of the three events here! You did it all! Hurray! Great job!

Well done you!

Congratulations on your triathlon! A great


What you did is amazing: you said you'd do The Thing; you trained for The Thing, and then you did The Thing! Congratulations!

And thanks too for writing about your disappointments, because they're real too, and when no one ever admits to these feelings, it makes **having** them feel real. So thanks for validating that yes, you can have those feelings too. (But still--it's a fabulous accomplishment and I can tell only just the beginning.)

You have 2 giant things to be proud of (and hundreds of little things) #1 You trained for a year! #2 You ran the race! 2 things that 99.9% of us can't share! Way to go!

That last pic? Beast mode! Great job out there. You rocked it and are a finisher.

Congratulations, very proud of you

CONGRATULATIONS! Such an amazing accomplishment :)

Well, Lisa, you can be proud of yourself! You set a goal, trained, and did it. I was glad to read that you did not keep running when you needed to stretch your calf, and that you walked/ran at the end. You need to listen to your body and respect its limitations. I can say this after some exercise injuries that have humbled me to the point that I now feel fortunate to be able to walk without pain.

Congratulations. What an accomplishment!! And what a role model you are.

Great job!! Wow plus!!!

You out-swam, out-cycled, and out-ran everyone sitting on the couch! Go, Lisa!!! 😄

Congratulations, job well done! When I saw the pic of you on the bike, I thought, oh no, she doesn't have her pads on! I quickly went to the bottom to see the finish (with elbows and knees looking great)! Again, great job!

Thanks for keeping it 100% Real. That means a lot.

Thanks for sharing your journey. And the final fantastic ending. Congratulations!

Congratulations!! That’s so awesome!

Congratulations Lisa!

You got up off your butt, which is what I'm sitting on right now! You are to be commended for sure! You are super brave for taking on this huge commitment for a year. Definitely pat yourself on the back big-time!!

WEll done Lisa! You started well. Your swim was pretty fast despite a strong current, something that we have never had for any of the previous 34 triathlons! But the big issue, those cramps, they just proved your metal. Overcoming that hardship was just pure mental power ... I can do this! Congratulations and now you have your own personal best time to beat and a new title. You are a triathlete!

You did fantastic! You are an inspiration.

Lots of kudos to you! I have enjoyed reading about your training for the sprint triathlon and now the end result as I too completed my first (and last one) 3 years ago. My motto was “One and Done”. I can’t say I enjoyed the training nor the event either but at least I could say I also finished and had the experience of doing a sprint triathlon. We are tougher than we give ourselves credit and it is a great accomplishment to be proud of. I did learn it’s the mental part that pushes you when you think you just can’t go any further. Way to go Lisa!

Inspirational and powerful! You should be proud of this amazing accomplishment!

You did a stupendous job! Just getting to the finish line when you felt so used up and hurting was a feat! To stick with the training for a year is something to be incredibly proud of. You rock, Lisa

I am awe of your accomplishment! You never gave up!

Lisa, congratulations on your accomplishment!! I get your disappointment, but Wonder Woman really did show up! She showed up and she finished! Maybe not feeling so great, but she finished!

Super achievement and super son!

Congratulations, Lisa! I am proud of your accomplishment and grit to see it through to the end! Some of us will never be able to say we did a sprint triathlon!


Great Job! It is nice that they give everyone a metal, to take away the day and that you accomplished something that your and especially your son will always remember. Mary Lou

Awesome - great pics. You go!!

Way to go Lisa!!

You should be proud of yourself. the work and dedication that goes into preparing for an event like that is no small thing!

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing how difficult it was. I think I’m going to get out there and try running again.

I understand your disappointment. It is similar to my own reaction to my 5K experience. Accept that this is where you are today. Next time may be more fulfilling. Don't give up.

A wonderful inspiring story. Congratulations!

AWESOMENESS right there! The finish line is a WIN!

Next time you may crush it differently, this time you crushed

all the naysayers and voices in your head that questioned

whether you would finish because YOU DID IT! <3

Just finishing the event is a hell of an accomplishment! Congratulations!

Congrats Lisa! I love how you persevered to the end yet knew how to slow down & not risk physical injury. You fought your negative thoughts and let us know about it, keeping it REAL! You're a modern super hero to all of us! I love your son cheering you on :) . Keep doing what you do--inspiring to be all we can be. Love and best wishes for more future achievements, great or small. <3

I totally understand your feeling! It’s really hard, I’ve been there. But next days you will keep feeling proud and proud of yourself... and is possible that Wonder Woman will appear in you! Of course, always taking good care of you. Congratulations, a few people dare to do what you did!

You make me want to try it!!!!! And, I am 76 years old! (I'll talk myself out of it, but at least you make me want to consider doing it!)

Congratulations! You are wonder woman.

Congratulations! Your determination is inspirational! That definitely makes you a Wonder Woman.

Congratulations to you for your accomplishment. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa, you made everyone stop today to reset our fitness goals and challenges. I was with you all the way from Hawaii cheering you on. Go Lisa!!

Way to go!!! Wear that medal for the next month - you earned it!!!!

Great Job. I really enjoyed your story. I know it takes a lot of hard work. I completed a Duo that was supposed to be a tri but there was no swimming do to the lake conditions. You rock.

CONGRATULATIONS Lisa. My son has been doing triathlons for years and now has accomplished his second iron man. He has always said it's NOT a case of winning and he does it for FUN!! However, I being 81 years old I can only be proud of doing my 2 mile walk but WHAT an accomplishment!! with 2 knee replacements and a new hip

Congratulations! You have a lot of reasons to be proud! We all are proud of you. Great job. 👍

Congratulations on your very first sprint! No doubt you can list all of the things you could have changed beforehand, and might in the future....but give yourself time to bask in the glow of accomplishment! You DID it!!

Congratulations! You did it and that's what is important. We are all so very proud of you, Lisa.

Congratulations! You're experience, good and bad, brought tears to my eyes! You've done it! I'm so happy for you! Finishing is the most important part of the adventure and you hung in there. =) Bravo girl!

Congrats, Lisa! Gr8 job! Way to accomplish your first triathlon, Wonder Woman! All that energy expended on a hot day is depleting. Learn from it (e.g. hydrate, stretch, train, etc.). Few athletes crossing finish lines looking/feeling refreshed. :-)

Lisa you did a great job!!! You are amazing!!!

I think you are too hard on yourself, but can understand where your disappoint comes from. I'm pretty sure your son thinks you're Wonder Woman!!! Just finishing is a major accomplishment (at least it would be for me)! Rock on, Snack Girl, rock on!!!!

You did well and what an achievement. Wonder Woman would be proud of you. A motivator is what you are to us all so keep it going Snack Girl, I like your style. YAY YOU!

I'm impressed! My husband does them and I can't imagine doing all three events in one workout. You set it as a goal and accomplished it! That is total success, next time you will be faster and more powerful.

Congratulations! Yea for you. You did it and not just talked about it.

So inspirational! You rock!

Congratulations!!! You are an inspiration!!!!!

You are Wonder Woman! You finished. You conquered yourself - the most difficult adversary of all. You are a Wondrous Woman!

YOU. GO. GIRL!!!!!

Everything everybody already said!

Christine Lecluse: Thank you for the perfect way to describe the feeling of that incessant inner voice we all have that doubts ourselves! ''the most difficult adversary of all'' and when we conquer that ''we conquer ourself''.

Lisa, that is how I felt reading your story of extreme effort, determination amid that feeling of not wanting to let yourself down. I share your story of success and honesty with anyone who listens to me. I agree you should wear your medal all week. Thank you so much for being a positive role model and having the best feel-good news of the week!

You inspire us. Thanks for all you advice, recipes and your very honest story. You are a hero!

CONGRATS!!! i am sooo excited that you met YOUR challenge of finishing this race.

Your race story kinda sounds like a metaphor for life. :-) Congratulations!

Your adventure in this triathalon was interesting and fun to follow. I feel like I ran the race with you. You are open and honest about your feelings. That was enjoyable. Congratulations on being a winner!!

You did it!!! Congrats. Yes, you didn’t do as well as you wanted but you did it. You completed the entire race. You should be proud.

Being a real life Wonderwoman is a process, not an event. You ARE Wonderwoman to us and maybe, like you say, next time for yourself.

Congratulations. It's an amazing accomplishment. Focus on all that you did right in preparing and completing your first tri! You set your PR!

Congratulations, Lisa. Way to go!!

You look awesome!

Way to go!

I look forward to hearing about the next race.

You rock girl!

I never really post here but I have to say this is completely incredible. You took this task and completed it and I’m amazed and you do look like we Nader woman in all the photos! This is great. I’m wondering more on how you started. I looked back in your articles but I’m not seeing much on specifics with groups of Athena’s( love it!) goddess dressing all the way! Congrats girl!

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