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Triathlon 101: beginners only
To those who have never participated before, a triathlon might seem an imposing event -- dominated by hardcore distance runners, road-racing cyclists and endurance swimmers.
Luckily for the first-timer, theres now something akin to Triathlon Lite.
The My First Triathlon series, an event that originated in Canada five years ago, has made its way across the border to Lake Chelan.
And Meaghan Mounger and Christin Gordanier -- both born and raised on Bainbridge Island are heading there this weekend to see what its all about.
She was kind of egging me into doing it, admits Mounger of her friend Gordaniers persistence.
I dont have a lot of discipline to just go out and run, but it blossomed out of a desire to get involved. And Christins constant harassing, laughed Mounger.
Joining the pair is Gordaniers future mother-in-law and island local, Penny Lamping.
Christin dragged me into it, Lamping said. She kept saying whats the worst that can happen?
According to Brent Kamenka of World Endurance Sport, the creator of the My First Triathlon series, was intended to get people up and moving and give them confidence that they can do something they never thought they could.
Athletes are only eligible to participate in the event if they have never competed in a triathlon before. More than 2,000 first-timers, ages 7 to 69, took that
challenge last year, prompting organizers to put together the Lake Chelan event. Similar competitions will be held later in the year in California and Florida.
The event has been so popular that organizers are adding My Next Triathlon in 2004, for My First alumni.
Normally, a triathlon features a 1 1/2 mile swim, a 25-mile bicycle ride and a six-mile run. The My First event distances are less than half of their Olympic counterparts. The swim is 1/4 mile, followed by a 12-mile bike ride and a three-mile run.
They guarantee the run and bike ride are pancake flat, said Mounger.
I wonder exactly what they mean by that, Gordanier mused.
Mounger has participated in three organized running races since signing up for the event, and Gordanier just completed the Grand Old Fourth Fun Run.
Training, though they are hesitant to officially call it that, consists of running, cycling and swimming when their work schedules permit -- usually about three times a week.
I just havent done any two things in the same day yet, Gordanier said. Itll be a matter of doing them all right in a row.
They use the Green Lake trail in Seattle, which provides a suitable three-mile course for running. Swimming is usually done at public pools, and cycling takes place in various locales -- sometimes more out of necessity than training effort.
I ride my bike to the university because theres no parking, Mounger said.
And Ive started to really incorporate biking into my daily activities.
Lamping, who will turn 53 next week, has been working up to the event as well.
Id been running a bit. I started riding the bike and swimming up at the pool, she said.
And while theyre already looking beyond this weekend to future triathlon events -- citing the possibility of participating in the next Danskin Womens Triathlon Series and the Seattle half-marathon -- all insist its not about competition, but about having fun.
Mounger pulls on her flowered swim cap, purchased just for the event, and she and Gordanier break into laughter.
Were going to have a great time, Gordanier said. How can you not have fun in a swim cap like that?