The Almost-Perfect Triathlon Experience
Pretty Close to Perfection
I don't believe in perfection. But I have to say the experience of the YWCA Minneapolis Women's Triathlon came pretty close to perfect. And for me it was a culmination of a year and a half of living life differently, as well as a catapult into a lifetime of prioritizing health, empowering others and building community.
Could I Complete a Triathlon?
Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would train for and complete a triathlon. I never considered myself an athlete and had not been able to find a positive, fun way of incorporating regular exercise into my life. For much of my life I've struggled with self-esteem and weight maintenance, and after having my first child I struggled with postpartum depression.
Encouraging, Supportive Community
Luckily for me, I have always been surrounded by amazing, encouraging women. I found support in my sister and some very dear friends who helped me find community and fun in caring for myself and cheering for each other. I then went looking for more ways of doing that; and I found it in the YWCA's Women's Triathlon. Training for the race gave me purpose and excitement. Going to the training clinics held by YWCA was so helpful and the instructors were informative and positive.
Race Day Mix of Anxiety and Excitement
Driving to the course on race day was emotional! I felt excited, nervous, happy and scared. I sat in my car and took some deep breaths. All the fears I had, quickly washed away as I biked to the staging area. Other racers rode alongside me and welcomed me with smiles and friendly greetings. The volunteers and staff were helpful, efficient and knowledgeable. I could feel an incredibly positive energy coming from the powerful women preparing to race.
As we gathered on the beach before race start, and the anthem played, I looked at all the women there, seeing females of all ages, races, sizes and abilities was truly inspiring. I cried tears of joy as I thought about my own journey and what the stories of the others might be.
The race itself was fantastic. The start timing ran smoothly. The course was well marked and beautiful. Hardly a minute went by without hearing encouragement from spectators and fellow racers! Seeing all the faces of the fans: children, partners, parents and friends was just heart-warming.
Family and Friends Zone Embraces Racers
One of the most special parts of this race is the family and friend finish. Seeing my husband and two young children waiting for me made my tired legs strong again. Being able to show them, and myself, that I could accomplish what felt like an impossible goal made me burst with happiness and pride! It's a feeling, and a moment, I will never forget.
Applause Until the End
Cheers and applause greeted each racer as she finished. With maybe the loudest support going to the brave final finisher. I knew none of these women personally, and yet felt bonded to them because they all inspired me. I'm sharing my experience with the YWCA Minneapolis Women's Triathlon with as many women as I can with the hope that they can feel this empowerment, too.
Already Signed up for Next Year
I've already signed up for next year's race and have created a team for all my family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to be a part of. Each time I receive a message from an interested friend I feel excitement! I'm looking forward to creating a ripple effect in my life and their lives. I hope to encourage myself and others to live healthfully and happily in an empowered community. Thanks to all who were a part of the 2017 YWCA's Women's Triathlon. It's truly a beautiful event!