Admitting I’m Doing My First Triathlon and My First Marathon: Finding What’s Beautiful In Vulnerability

June 5, 2013

What's Beautiful? Facing down what seems impossible. I've committed to my first tri and full marathon


*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post through Under Armour and Fitfluential. I was not compensated, but was provided with apparel. All opinions are my own.

Okay, this is a post that’s been scaring me to my core for weeks now, but I think it’s time to embrace how vulnerable and nervous I feel, and lean into what feels like dooming uncertainty-  I’m training for my first triathlon …and, after five half marathons, I’m going to run my first marathon.

Even simply typing that big, audacious goal…to a run a marathon and complete my first triathlon sprint was scary, just typing it- much less realizing I’ll be doing it.  Telling my boyfriend was scary.  Heck, even asking question with other athletes before I committed myself to this has been scary.  Everyone has been supportive and helpful, but putting it on the blog makes it feel so real.

I’ve done 5 half marathons this year alone- in fact, my first five half marathons, ever– and while I’m a newbie in comparison to some, I feel rather comfortable in my running shoes.  13.1 miles is still a challenge for me- I’m not still not fast, nor is any race a “sure thing,” but when it comes to half marathons and running, I’ve become somewhat comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I can expect the unexpected because anything that can go wrong has gone wrong.

For some unknown reason, I felt the pull to sign up for my first triathlon and full marathon (It could have been the bling?).  Needless to say, this feels much more serious and scary than when I signed up for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon a year ago…yes, when I couldn’t run a mile I had more confidence than I do now!

The Felt ZW25 Tri Bike

Last week, I headed down to my local running/multisport shop and got fitted for a triathlon bike.  Unlike getting fitted for shoes, which usually takes about 30 minutes and only involves some light jogging- this was an intense experience that still intimidates me when I think of it, despite the fact that the staff were uber helpful, I felt like a fish out of water.  The bike you get fitted on is calibrated by computer in Canada and you pedal while experiencing different handle heights, experimenting with saddles and adjusting the frame by computer… wow.  Not only did it feel weird, I was pretty sore and tired afterwards.  The childhood days of biking will not be the same experience on a tri bike.


One thing I’ve learned from this experience is this- crazy is beautiful.  Signing up for my first triathlon and my first marathon is crazy but beautiful.  Facing down your crazy dreams, the big ones that scare you, is an journey worth taking and it’s truly beautiful because it involves courage, honesty and grit.  Of course, it is still exciting until you have to admit it to the public (or purchase an expensive bike, even on sale!) and then, you must get down to training and living up to what you said you’d do… uber scary.  If ever you want to indulge in an experience that is equally as challenging as it is soul stirring, both physical and emotional- do something beyond what you can physically and emotionally do and sign up for something beyond your abilities, and work on growing into the challenge.

Nobody starts off being ready, I’m not, but I’m working on it.  I’m upping my mileage to 26 miles per week and knowing my whole life and busy schedule will be circled around marathon training seems daunting-  you have less time than ever when you train for a marathon.  I’m nervous not that I’ll fail, but that I’ll give up and not train properly- that life will get in the way, that I’ll be too tired, that I’ll discover I don’t have the grit for it.  I haven’t even planned for the swimming yet.  (faint.)

Honestly though, I’m learning to lean into the crazy and embrace the vulnerability I feel around this big goal.  Being vulnerable, especially when it comes to admitting both the physical limitations of where you start and the emotional limitations of what you feel is possible, is quite a crazy beautiful experience.


#IWILL be running the Iron Girl Tri Sprint in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin on August 11th 2013.  

#IWILL be running the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma on November 24th, 2013.


Yep, so that’s happening.  Your words, whether of encouragement, experience or otherwise, are appreciated.  If you’ve done something crazy beautiful lately, or ever, please share!

12 comments so far.

12 responses to “Admitting I’m Doing My First Triathlon and My First Marathon: Finding What’s Beautiful In Vulnerability”

  1. Awesome! I’m also deciding on pursuing either my first Tri or first Marathon this Fall.

  2. Megan says:

    That’s so fantastic! A) I hear nothing but great things about Route 66, it’s supposed to be a spectacular race! B) You’ll never forget the feeling of finishing your first full. Double the emotions of finishing your first half. 😉 Congrats!

    • Shannyn says:

      I’m so glad it’s a good race, I’ve fallen in love with it- not just because of it’s wonderful swag but also because it’s Route 66 and it’s a special part of my personal and family history.

      Ready (scared) but ready for this challenge!

  3. Sai Gonzalez says:

    Changing *I Can’t* to *I Did* says it all. While I can’t wait & get back to running until 2015 Tinker Bell (Pregnancy/Work-Schedule Conflicts) It’s amazing to keep on seeing your journey & the new challenges.
    Congrats on having the Courage to pursue something even if it looks imposible to even think of doing it.

  4. Susan says:

    Go you! So excited!

  5. Melina says:

    Wow! A marathon and a triathlon in the same year! I admire your courage to dedicate yourself to training for those two events! You can do it!

  6. emillie says:




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