Train-or-Tri Sponsored Triathlete
Jessica Rogers – Why I Tri
I grew up in a family that was always moving. I have been doing fun runs, family bike rides, skiing, hiking and camping ever since I can remember. I ran track and cross country in high school and played Lacrosse in college. Even in grad school when I didn’t have much extra time, I still ran religiously and went to the gym. However, when my husband Rob announced he wanted us to do a triathlon, I was totally intimidated. Swim, bike, and run all in the same race? I could barely swim a lap without getting winded and the only bike I owned was a 1990 Novara cruiser with fat tires and upright handle bars. Rob on the other hand, had grown up racing bikes and competing in triathlon until he took a break to play high school and college sports. I decided I wanted to watch him do one first.
Rob signed up for the Seafair sprint distance triathlon. It was the first triathlon I had ever watched in person or on TV. I expected to see only perfectly toned, hard bodied athletes who were extremely intense. I was surprised to see people of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Many had really nice looking equipment but some had bikes that looked as bad as the one I owned. The racers looked a little nervous but mostly excited and energized as they got their transition area ready. Spectators were taking pictures and everyone was sharing words of encouragement. This race had the atmosphere of a party. I felt inspired as I watched Rob and the other athletes compete and I knew that I wanted to do a triathlon.
The next summer I signed up for the Clear Lake Triathlon. In preparation Rob worked with me in the pool and taught me how not to drown. He gave me his old race bike from high school and taught me how to clip into my pedals. He told me how to do transitions, even though I insisted that I would need to dry off, put on a shirt and socks and reapply my deodorant! Being the social person that I am, I convinced some friends to do it with me. I was so nervous before the race started. What if I get smothered in the swim? What if I can’t get my feet out of my pedals? What if I just get too tired to finish? But I didn’t drown in the swim, I didn’t crash my bike, and I was able to finish the race. But more than that, I loved every minute of it. It was a challenge beyond anything I had ever done and I was so proud when I completed it. I didn’t wash off my race number for a week so I could show it off and I immediately signed up for another tri later that summer.
Since then my involvement and love for triathlon has been steadily growing. School, work, and babies kept me from putting in the focus and time I wanted to at first, but I did races as I could. Each year I learned new techniques and acquired better equipment. I worked hard to find the time to swim, bike, and run even when it was not ideal. I did a triathlon at 21 weeks pregnant. I spent years doing my runs pushing one and then two kids in a jogger. I learned that it is actually possible to work out at 5 AM or 8 PM if that’s the only time you have.
Now that my kids are both in school I have finally been able to invest more time into training and racing. I have grown to love swimming and biking as much as I have always loved running. I love challenging my body to the limit and coming out the other side feeling stronger and faster. Even though I take racing seriously I still think triathlons are a big party. I have made so many friends that share my love for this crazy sport. The camaraderie and support for each other on race day is so much fun.
Of course Rob is still doing triathlons with me and is my best supporter and training partner. I love that it’s something we continue to do together and have begun passing along to our kids. At age 5 we started entering our two boys in running races and triathlons. Now at ages 8 and 10 their rooms are lined with race numbers, ribbons and medals from all the events they have done. Triathlon is very much a family sport for us and I look forward to many years of competing together.