Somewhere between six and seven months ago, a group of Shawnee gals got this crazy idea. Needing some motivation to get off the couch and into the gym, they decided to enter a triathlon.
This past weekend, that group — the Red Dirt Divas — saw six months of hard training come to fruition in Austin, Texas, at the Danskin Sherox Sprint Triathlon. This was a pretty amazing event, and for the women who were able to compete, an incredible achievement. With the exception of a few, none of them had ever done a triathlon. Few had any real experience in competitive swimming (or swimming any sort of distance, for that matter).
First, let me give you some background about the event. It takes place at a lake in east Austin. The competition includes an 800-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile (5k) run. The swim is in the lake while the bike ride is on a hilly course with few flat stretches. The run is mostly on a trail. This particular event is for women only.
Most people participated for the sake of completing it or possibly improving times from past competitions. A select few were out to win their age groups or, in the most elite classes, with the thing outright. A lot of groups just like the Divas entered and competed together. Women of all ages, physiques, shapes and sizes crossed the finish line.
As for the Red Dirt Divas: They’re an eclectic mix of endurance athletes, former athletes and first-time athletes. The group expanded to include team members from Tulsa and some other areas of the state. One team member won her age group. The rest finished the course in times ranging from two hours to two hours and 49 minutes. Their theme for the event was “Tri Baby Try.”
They overcame a lot. The open water swim spooked a few of the ladies. Injuries, illnesses, crises of life and other obstacles confronted them. A nasty stomach virus did sideline two team members (they vow to compete in a future triathlon), but those who were able to participate all finished.
I’m proud to say my wife, Becca, was one of those who embarked on this journey and saw it through. I think she’s hooked. Moreover, she’s rediscovered a love for biking and swimming that is likely to contribute to a new and lasting active lifestyle based on outdoor sports. I couldn’t be more proud! And the same could be said for other husbands who traveled to Austin to support their wives.
I got a lot out of this, but or the purpose of this blog, I’ll just say this: Go out and try something new. Challenge yourself. Do what the Divas did: Get off the couch, get outside and push the limits of what your think you can do. You may end up discovering something new about yourself and what you can accomplish.