What is a Sprint Triathlon?

What is a Sprint Triathlon?
What is a Sprint Triathlon?
Photo: © Julie McCan

Big things happen all the time. Good and bad. Prince William marries, Osama Bin Laden is finally located and killed, a senseless mass shooting takes place in an Aurora, CO theater. In the past 12 months I have experienced more big moments than I have in the past five years.

To name a few… my only child and daughter got married, my sister survived a near fatal car accident with barely a scratch, I lost my mother-in-law whom I loved dearly to Alzheimer’s and I trained and competed in my first triathlon.

Ok, so maybe my triathlon accomplishment isn’t quite as big a moment as the others, but what happened after that was a fairly big deal. It all started when my daughter and her friends were discussing how fun it would be to do a sprint triathlon.

With the mention of the word “triathlon”, I pretty much tuned out. It could only mean grueling hours of training in not just one, but three different sports. After completing a half marathon and knowing how much time I spent training, my initial thought was, “you girls have fun with that!”

“What is a sprint triathlon?”

What is a Sprint Triathlon?
What is a Sprint Triathlon?
Photo: © Julie McCan

But, something lurking in the back of my mind forced me to ask, “What is a sprint triathlon?”

Answer: Typically 1/2 mile swim (many are 250 yards to 300 meters), 12.4 mile bike and 3.1 mile run.

Never mind that I had not swam or biked in months, for some reason I felt this was very doable. So, it didn’t take me long to spit out, “I can do that!”

Fast forward several months and sure enough, I finished my first Sprint Triathlon and even ranked first in my age group! It wasn’t pretty and truth be told, there were only four total in my age group. More importantly, I discovered that it was fun and with a bit more training (or at least some) I knew I had another one in me. From that point on, I became a Sprint Tri cheerleader, talking up my accomplishment and regaling how doable it was. Before I knew it, many of my clients expressed interest in doing one too.

The caveat… they wanted my help to get ready for it and I was up for the challenge.

The Old College Tri

What is a Sprint Triathlon?
What is a Sprint Triathlon?
Photo: © Julie McCan

We chose the “Old College Tri” sprint triathlon held in Denton, TX .

Using the overwhelming amount of internet information on training for a sprint tri and just a little over 3 months to prepare, I put together a 13 week training schedule that layered on top of my client’s current workouts.

I set up a blog with weekly updates that included training and race information and resources.

I conducted kick off meetings, technique clinics, long rides, hill workouts on the bike, timed runs, and even held two bike/run combo events so they could experience the transition from a long ride to a 3 mile run. Every event was well attended and surprisingly, the list of interested participants grew to over 40.

I fully anticipated the early enthusiasm to wear thin and the excuses to bow out to rapidly multiply as race day loomed. But, I was thrilled and in awe to discover that 42 participants ranging in ages 18 to 55 (majority in their 40‘s and 50‘s) were registered and ready to compete!

A picture perfect Texas day

What is a Sprint Triathlon?
What is a Sprint Triathlon?
Photo: © Julie McCan

Come race day, the weather was a picture perfect Texas day.  As we prepped our transition areas and got our body markings, the anticipation within our group was visible amidst the other 350 participants. One by one, we entered the pool for the swim.

From that point, for me, the focus wasn’t just on how well and fast I could finish the race, but on how well everyone was going to do.

Every time I saw someone from our group along the routes, I welled with pride knowing they were giving it their best. As we crossed the finish line we were congratulated and engulfed by our group, each of who were as excited for you to finish as they were for themselves. And, with the exception of a few minor mishaps, everyone finished.

Big moments

What is a Sprint Triathlon?
What is a Sprint Triathlon?
Photo: © Julie McCan

So, what made this experience one of my big moments? It started with the unexpected outpouring of gratitude and thanks.

Many clients told me that, “If is wasn’t for you pulling this together as a group, I would have never done this race.”

I was taken aback since I truly felt I was the facilitator and they were the doers. That’s when I realized this was something big and it wasn’t just about the gratitude.

It was about being a part of something that was a huge accomplishment for so many people. It was about wanting to witness someone else’s success. It was about wanting to see their joy when they crossed the finish more than you cared about how you did.

All of my experiences continue to make me a believer that every big moment, good or bad, makes you stronger and more prepared for what life deals you. Here’s the kicker… life always deals out moments. But to accumulate more good moments, you have to go out and experience life by taking chances and pushing your boundaries.

Article and photography by Julie McCan

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