By Colleen Turner

My triathlon adventure started last fall, and this season wrapped last weekend with Calgary 70.3. I’ve done a few sprints, one Olympic distance, and two half Ironmans. I’m not exactly sure how to describe why I wanted to tri…but it’s been in my mind for decades, and for a variety of reasons, this was the year to make it happen. No more excuses and no more waiting.

The season recap….

The best thing about this year was that every race has been a fresh experience. I’ve not known what to expect so everything has been shiny and new.

10 Mile Tri at Repsol was the first this year. I knew nothing about anything, but I learned here that it’s very frustrating to beat someone out of the water and then be left behind on the bike. Airdrie Triathlon was chilly. But apparently not as chilly as past years. My feet didn’t thaw at all that race. The mass start at Chinook Classic Olympic was crazy fun and so were the hills, potholes and gravel. 

Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene was a last minute whim, and everything about that race was just as I had imagined a half Ironman would feel. It was a privilege to participate and race with a group of other LYNX athletes who seemed happy to share their advice and experiences. The swim was peaceful with easy sighting, the bike was an ego busting hill then wind effort, and the run was an opportunity to think about the journey that brought me to that day. Running is my space, and coming down that red carpet felt like a personal accomplishment decades in the making.

Lake Chaparral Sprint Tri was pure fun; and it was over before I wanted it to be.

Last week’s Ironman Calgary 70.3 felt like a hometown race. Everyone seemed to know each other, and I loved that it was cool and rainy. Heat as a variable was removed from the equation, and the flat bike course flew by. The out and back run seemed faster and easier than Coeur d’Alene and I had told myself I could walk 30 seconds of the big hill coming out of Fish Creek Park so I actually looked forward to the incline. Coke was waiting at the water station at the top of the ridge, and then the race was done.

Top learnings and observations and recommendations from my rookie season:

  1. You won’t be the slowest. No one cares about your race or your pace; they are worrying about their own.
  2. When you buy a new bike, remove the plastic protector down by the gear ring. If you keep it on, everyone knows you are brand spanking new.
  3. You really have to fight the urge to tell everyone that you have DONE A TRIATHLON. Cause you are so darn proud of yourself. Just tell your tri friends. Everyone else thinks you are irritating.
  4. In triathlon if you skip a workout, you get to call it a Recovery Day!
  5. Some triathletes make it look easy on instagram. You know who you are! You guys are an inspiration.
  6. Many, many tri women are walking around commando right now. They talk about chafing amongst themselves in group chats and share cure-all’s. They are slathered up in cream and hoping for a miracle by morning.
  7. As with the rest of life, don’t judge a triathlete by his or her cover… That gal you think you can beat in the swim just dolphined by… and that guy with a 71 on his calf just blew by on his bike.

One final thought. Again, as with life, there are lots of emotions and fluctuating thoughts that go through your head in this sport. I’m too new to offer advice… but I’m also a mom, so I will offer it anyway! Don’t let your mind tell you that you can’t do something. You can. That next challenge is right there waiting for you. Go get it.

Footnote: a huge personal thanks to all the LYNX’ers and especially Coach Mary and my Oliver Training camp roomie Jen for making this a great year. Here’s to a fun fall/winter of more races and learning.

Coaches’ Note:  Congratulations on such a tremendous “rookie year” Colleen! It was so much fun being a part of all your “firsts” this season. We are looking forward to seeing how your 2020 season unfolds!