From a type-A person who always gunned for straight As in school, I never thought I'd get excited by placing 386th in anything. But I did. And I'm thrilled. #605 (that's me!) finished her first endurance race-alive and able to walk the next day. (If you'd like to check out my scoring, log on to http://www.cgiracing.com/2009Events/PhiladelphiaWomensTri.aspx and click on results/photos to find my name). And if I can do it, anyone can. (Know that just being the editor in chief of Shape does not "genetically" make me able to finish any sort of race; it takes slow and steady training and a will to finish.) BUT (and this is a big "but") I did not swim. The swimming part of the race was cancelled due to strong river currents and extremely high bacteria levels (due to the extreme heat and high water temps). So everyone had to run 2 miles before the bike and the 3.2-mile run...in place of the swim. Everyone was disappointed, including me. But I finished the race despite having to run those 2 additional miles and got my medal (I meant to take a picture, but my son wanted to wear the medal and had since put it in his room ☺). And I'm already looking for my next race so I can get the swim in...and call myself a triathlete, not just a duathlete.
But just so you know that even editors in chief get pre-race jitters, I did not sleep a wink the night before and even convinced myself that I just wasn't going to do it. "Why would you sign yourself up for such a silly thing," I told myself at 4:30 a.m. after tossing and turning the whole night. But I got up, got to the race, was amazed by the energy and enthusiasm-and I finished. The moral of the story: we are all scared by that which we do not know. Break out of your box and things will look less scary - and you'll be more confident as a result.