My mom and I learned the hard way years ago that when you pass out Gatorade to runners you shouldn’t put your fingers in the cups.

Unless you want yellow hands for the next few days.

For years we walked around the corner and up the hill to volunteer at the aid station, passing out water and Gatorade to athletes finishing up the run leg of the Columbia Triathlon. Sometimes I was with my mom; sometimes with my track team. But for years, I was out there.

I don’t know when “ew those guys are bleeding through their shirts” changed to “I have to do that one day.” But it did. Watching the Columbia Triathlon is what made me want to do a triathlon one day.

Columbia’s known for being a fairly tough course, so I knew it’d be awhile before I’d be able to do it. The race fills up quickly, so I knew I’d have to be patient waiting for my chance.

I had no idea that chance would come this year. Yeah, this year, the year I’ve spent sitting on the sidelines watching, injured. Not the year I spent the off-season training and building a base, preparing to do my best race.

And then last week, I got an email:

team fight columbia tri announcement

I checked and double checked- it wasn’t a mistake. I had a spot in the Columbia Triathlon. This year. As in less than 9 weeks away.

See, last year after 24 Hours of Booty, I did something I’d been thinking about for awhile. I joined Team Fight, a team training, racing, and raising money to support the fight against cancer.

24 hours of booty team fight

When I signed up, I selected the races I wanted to participate in as a member of Team Fight. I was a little late signing up, and I knew the chances of getting a slot in the popular races was low, but I picked them anyways, just in case.

A few days later I got an email saying I had a slot in one of the August races. Woohoo! I was disappointed I didn’t get into the Columbia triathlon, but I wasn’t surprised. I knew I just needed to sign up earlier next year.

transition area at triathlon

And then that other email came. Last week. Umm.

Sure. Right. A tri in 9 weeks? Maybe a sprint. Or a casual indoor tri. Not an Olympic tri that I’ve been looking forward to racing in since I knew what a tri was.

I can run a whopping 3/4 of a mile right now. I have no idea how this is going to go, but after thinking about it, hopping in the pool and on the bike, I’ve decided to give it a try. {Haha pun intended.}

triathlon swim leg

It’ll be like training for my first tri all over again- where the 3 sports I’m training for are: swimming, biking, and strengthening. Only this time I’ll be strengthening my knee. I’ll be building my training slowly, but “slow” will have a new definition for the running part- as in painfully slow. I’ve been signed up for a 5K at the beginning of April for a few months. That’s what I’m training for- 3.1 miles. Then I have another month and half to double that.

Of course, if anything hurts, I won’t be doing it. And this race is attached to a fundraising goal – I’ll start fundraising in a few weeks, once I’ve figured out I can really do this. Like reallly do this. It’s not fair to fundraise and then not follow through on the race, although the organization deserves the money regardless.


It won’t be my best time, or even my best race. But it will be the Columbia Tri, and I will be setting a time to beat next year.

triathlon finish line