Post by Kristie, Rex Wellness Center of Garner Member
Kristie on Race Day morning
My triathlon journey began two years ago when I attended my friend’s triathlon. I just went to support her, but when I left her event, I caught the “bug.” At the time, I was pregnant with my twin boys and I remember thinking, “just let me get these boys out and settled – I’m doing that!” After they were a year old, I thought I would start to prepare myself for the triathlon, but I knew I needed a pool and the gym fees discouraged me. So I just signed up for a half marathon instead. While this was fun and definitely a bucket list item, my heart still wanted to do a tri.
I ultimately joined Rex Wellness Center and began the road to the triathlon. I had NO idea what I was doing. I was already a runner so I felt the most comfortable with this portion. My bike purchase was only a few months earlier and had only logged greenway miles because of my fear of the road. I knew how to swim from childhood lessons, but somehow felt that meant nothing competitively. So I decided to spend the most of my time in the pool and on the bike.
Kristie and her fellow Rex Tri trainees
Right around the time I began my membership, I started receiving the weekly newsletters from the wellness center. In one particular newsletter, I read that you could submit your name to potentially win triathlon training from a well-known triathlete! My initial thought was I NEVER win anything, but I signed up anyway because I knew if I didn’t sign up I CERTAINLY wouldn’t win. Let me just say, when I got the email that I was one of the ones chosen, I just about exploded with excitement because now I KNEW that my goal could be achieved now. The best part was knowing who would be training me- the infamous Rodney Jenkins!
We met initially and he asked me if I had support at home because training for a tri would take commitment. With 3 kids at home and working full time at night, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I discussed this with my husband Jason and my parents, and they supported me fully. Rodney ran through all the things I needed, and I went out and got everything required for the tri.
I looked the part, now I had to train for the part. I soon met Theresa, last year’s Rodney-triathlon-protege and Angie, Rodney’s wife, and these two would help me a lot along my journey with their encouragement. We were all able to get some road miles in on the bike and I continued the swim journey on my own. I was introduced to Shannon Thomsen and he helped me tremendously on shifting gears and hill work. I was able to learn from him how to use the terrain to my advantage with the hills. His patience and confidence in me boosted my confidence level and I thank him for that.
Swim portion of the Mock tri
The mock triathlon occurred one week before the Garner Triathlon and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. We all went out and I got to experience how it might be on race day, and it taught me several things. First, I now knew it was possible because I completed it! Secondly, it taught me what it feels like to be in the pool with others that have varying skill levels. I got to feel what it was like to pass someone and have someone pass me. Lastly, I learned what a great supportive family there was in our own Rex family of triathletes. Everyone had wonderful things to say. While I felt slower than them, they all said I did a great job. No one ever made me feel like I was wasting their time. It was a great feeling.
On race day, the adrenaline was definitely pumping! I arrived at 5:45 and Shannon and Theresa helped me set up. Body marking was next. Afterwards, it became a waiting game. As I got in the water, it really sank in, and all I could say was here goes nothing!
Kristie crosses the finish line faster than her goal time!
At this point I had to trust my training. I estimated that I could swim in 7 minutes and I did just that. The bike transition happened faster than I had anticipated, and because I had ridden the course a few times, I knew what to expect. The run transition was fast and the brick training helped me get on the road without feeling too tired. I actually ran my 2 miles faster than I had anticipated. I finished the whole thing in 1 hour and 12 minutes. I was shooting for 1 hour 15 minutes so I was very excited.
To anyone who wants to do this, you can do it! It is possible. After all, I am a mom of three young kids and a full time nurse who works nights. It is possible. You just have to believe in yourself and run your own race! I am signed up for the second and third part of the Rex Triathlon Series and hope to do an Olympic Distance Triathlon next year. It is my ultimate goal to do a 70.3 Half Ironman. Then maybe, just maybe take it even further. We will see! Thank you Rex Wellness Family for the opportunity and the support!