Train-or-Tri Sponsored Triathlete:
Michelle Blumenshine – Beyond Just Swim, Bike, Run
If you would have asked me five years ago if I ever thought about doing a triathlon, I would have thought you were crazy. Sure, it sounds cool, but no matter what order “those 3 sports” were in, it sounded way too intimidating.
First of all, I couldn’t really swim (other than the swim lessons as a kid to ensure I could at least tread water), I’d never been on a road bike (is that the bike with those itty bitty skinny tires that go so fast?), and probably the ONLY thing I felt I knew a little about was the run (even so…I ran the 400 and 800, so not much endurance there). So, unlike many triathletes that come from a background in at least one of these sports, I have had to pretty much learn how to swim, learn how to ride, and build on my sprint background of running. That is why this this sport has become such a beautiful evolution of raw determination, desire, excitement and hard work that I am blessed to be a part of and has become a part of who I am.
I was introduced to some of the beginnings of triathlon through my neighbor, Peter Cutbill, who has been in the sport for over 20 year and done many Ironman races. I had hurt my knee running (probably what I now see as an overuse injury) and was depressed that I couldn’t maintain my fitness. Peter suggested riding an extra bike he had on a trainer, and maybe look into swimming, as both of these would allow me to stay in shape, but allow my knee to rest. So, I agreed. I borrowed his wife’s shoes (that were way too big), and consulted You Tube on a regular basis; from how to clip in, to how to breathe for swimming.
I started out only being able to swim the 15 meter length pool at the BAC without running out of breathe, much less, form. I was determined to succeed and so I began reading, researching and practicing every chance I could, to get better. I loved it! I could see improvements in a measurable way in the pool, and that encouraged me.
My first bike ride with Peter out on the rode was a little scary and the whole clip in thing didn’t go without some trial and error, but again, I loved it. I loved learning something new, and beating Peter up the first hill (; His encouragement that I really “had something” inspired me to work even harder. With an online plan, I raced my first race, Clearlake, that next summer. I was so nervous I thought I was going to just start crying and wanted to pull out, but my husband encouraged me to take my hard work to the test and just “do my best”. And that’s exactly what I did. I absolutely was inspired to another level, as the competitive (I come from a family of quite competitive natured individuals) aspect came forth also. I placed 2nd in my age group and to my surprise 3rd woman overall! I couldn’t believe it! It was fun, it was hard, and it was in my blood now.
Michelle Blumenshine TriathleteTriathlon has become a part of who I am. I love structure, I love competition, and I love the aspect of hope –to be the very best you can be. The training itself inspires and creates discipline, hard work, and pushes me to limits I didn’t even know I could accomplish. It allows me to not only see these successes, but shows a picture of each athlete out there and a portion of who they are; who they want to be; and for each person, so many reasons deep within themselves that when pushed to the physical limit of a triathlon, both an emotional and spiritual affect is summoned. God has made our bodies truly amazing…to go beyond limits you don’t think are possible, and by doing this, obvious blessings are seen. Getting to be outside in nature, the camaraderie of others who are all working hard within themselves to be the best they can be, being able to decrease the stresses life brings, and the simple secondary benefit of being healthy. Who would have known that a sport can do so many things, and it’s different for everyone.
As in what I offer to help triathlon in our community, I hope to number one, be an example on and off the race course of hard work, discipline, and balance of sport, family, and work. I have a lot of opportunity to talk with co-workers as a nurse at Peace health, friends from church, other athletes that I have met through Masters swim, Mt Baker bike club, the mountain biking community, local running races, etc. to share and represent BSB2 and TOT. Through my God given success as an athlete, and who I am on and off the courses, I see this as my biggest asset. Since I have never had a sponsor, I would love to be as involved as I can, as my time commitment allows, with helping other aspiring athletes, and to be a part of growing this exciting business.
Overall, I love this sport. I am passionate about it, and each year aspire to do more…be better…and have fun while doing what God has allowed me to physically and mentally do. Helping others to see this, try this, and be a part of this and gain so many things through this sport, would give me great satisfaction. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of growing this in our wonderful city, Bellingham, which holds so much in terms of offering opportunity to the many who live in this active community.