My Tri and a Free-bie (See, it ryhmes, kinda)





Want to lose those pesky pounds and inches without breaking a sweat. I know how NOT to do it. It’s called a triathlon.

It all started when Son One called and asked if I was interested in doing an Iron Man Triathlon. Because I’m not entirely certifiable, I immediately said, “No.”




“Okay,” quoth he. “How about a HALF Iron Man.

I deliberated for 1.39 seconds and said, “Nope.”

“All right then, what say you to an Olympic length tri?”

And here’s where I began to weaken. See…I’ve always liked titles. New York Times best seller, for instance, has a nice ring to it. Valedictorian slides nicely off the tongue. But…and follow my logic here…I’ve achieved neither of those lofty challenges. So TRIATHALETE seemed like a nice little notch in my belt. I mean, come on, you have to admit, it has a sweet ring to it. Right?

So, as you’ve already probably guessed, I acquiesced to the idea of an Olympic length tri. How bad could it be? I believe I actually said those words at one point. It was probably one evening in the dead of winter while I was sitting on the couch watching Castle and sipping hot chocolate. But now, after completing my first, and let’s be honest here, very probably my LAST, triathlon, I can tell you, it was bad.

Let me just run through the schedule with you.

Numero Uno: Swimming! I like to swim. Hell, I can float forever and I’m not too bad at dog paddling, not as good as a labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Dog or anything. But I’m all right. But…a mile you say? I have to swim a mile? Well, okay. All right. I mean, I can probably do that if the conditions are decent i.e. it’s not too windy or deep or cold or… What say? Lake Rebecca is at 61 degrees?? Ummm….that’s a full 30 degrees nippier than I like my water to be. But ahh, all right.

Numero Dos? Biking! Biking’s fun right? I mean…tooling along through the countryside, not a care in the world. And 24 miles isn’t that far…in a car. And, oh my lucky stars…I HAVE a bike. True, I bought it 29 years ago, shortly after I got married. But I still HAVE it and fortunately, I’ve hardly ever used it. So… that’s got to be a good sign.

Numero—oh who am I kidding? I don’t speak Spanish…I barely speak the king’s English. Number 3: Running! Seriously, I can run. Just the other day I ran to the mailbox and back. Well…I mean…not ALL the way back. But part of the way back.

So…yes indeedy friends, I signed up for the Olympic length Liberty Triathlon. That was back in…I don’t know…one of those months when I spent too much time on the couch watching my waist measurements slip into the triple digits. Why not, thought I…I have months and months to condition. And I did. I even got a gym membership…for 60 days. After that, of course, the weather would be conducive to exercising outside. Or so I told myself. But as spring rolled around, so did more snow…tons of snow, yards of snow. True, the nasty temperatures and snotty percipitation probably had next to nothing to do with my training, or the lack thereof, but it didn’t help any either. Ergo, when race day arrived I may have been a little less than totally ready.

Still, I am nothing if not determined and CHEAP! See, I paid for the tri back in December while sitting on the aforementioned couch. So heaven help us, I was going to do it. And I did.

True, the save-me boats were circling like vultures while I swam; I was pretty sure I would die of affixation long before I got a chance to drown. (Which didn’t seem like such a bad fate while I was dog-paddling my way to anonymity.)

When I finally schlepped out of the water and toddled up the roped off corridor to the bike corral, I was so disoriented I was literally bouncing off one rope onto the other. And you know what’s really great? Biking when you’re wet and cold and so dizzy you can’t quite see straight. That was the worst part. My jaw seized up because of…well, because of something. Shock or cold or my body’s desperate plea for me to stop being a dumb ass. But did I stop? No, I did not. Because after the first fifteen minutes or so of biking I could swallow again. And then all I had to do was peddle 19 more miles and run 6. And by that time I had invested so much into it that stupid competition that stopping would have been tantamount to high treason.

There was a lot of self talk during those last few miles. A lot of “I’m not a quitter. I do what I say I’ll do.” Etc. And the people along the way were great. Both the athletes and the volunteers. There were dozens of people yelling, “You’re doing great!!” when clearly, I was NOT doing great. Unless ‘great’ involves stumbling along like a drunken sailor mumbling, “I finish what I start. I finish what I start.”

So…I did finish the race and I got the t-shirt to show for it. Also, okay, I DID lose those pesky pounds and inches. But there WAS sweat. Lots and lots of sweat, plus a fair amount of humiliation and enough aching muscles to convince me that honestly, lying on the couch hour after hour isn’t such a terrible idea.

So…what about you? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done this summer?

finding home cover

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To celebrate the sale I’m giving away a free Amazon gift card to one much appreciated commenter. So please chime in.

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31 Responses to My Tri and a Free-bie (See, it ryhmes, kinda)

  1. Mary Louise says:

    Hi Lois: Look at you! You rock! A triathlete. My hat’s off to you. I have often thought of tacking such an event but I don’t like to swim. I only hope the biking and running was on flat ground and you did not have any hills to navigate. Hills are killers on the legs. I did run a 5K when the temperature was 90 and ran a decent race. I think the high temp and my sweating buckets helped mitigate my aches and pains. The worst part? Ramps… lots of ramps up to the third level and then back down the ramps. (The run was at Gillette Stadium.) Are you kidding me? I thought I would make up time running down the ramps. And how did that work out? Not too well. I picked up speed, started to lose my balance and almost took a header taking a corner — so much for that strategy. You know what? I want to do another race. I had a blast. Next time I will have a strategy. Perhaps I should discuss it with Ben & Jerry Phish Food first.

    • loisgreiman says:

      🙂 I totally know what you mean. Grueling as the tri was, I’m considering doing a half marathon just to keep the old joints moving.

  2. Leanna says:

    No matter how much you hated the training and the actual event it is still quite an accomplishment. Congrats!

  3. Teresa Hughes says:

    Oh wow! I can’t imagine doing a triathalon. Congrats on doing it! I have worked overtime this summer so I haven’t really had time to do anything. With all the hours I have been working thou I do feel like I have been in an IronMan tri.

    • loisgreiman says:

      Summer’s so short here in MN and I enjoy it so much, but I’m always exhausted.
      Take some time for fun, T.

  4. Anne says:

    Congratulations on your achievement which is wonderful. After recovering from breast cancer I decided to build up my strength by walking in the foothills which is uphill and strenuous but well worth the effort.

  5. Kathleen O says:

    Big Congrats on your hard won achievements. You are to be commended and I know the satisfaction you feel from your triathlon will be with you everyday and in everything you do. You can do anything now.. OH WHAT A FEELING you will be shouting from the rooftops.. Good for you. I am reading Finding Home right now on my e-reader.

  6. CrystalGB says:

    Congratulations on finishing the triathalon. I admire you for doing it. 🙂

  7. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks. I’ll do anything for a little admiration. Sad….but oh so true.

  8. Kylie Brant says:

    You are sooo funny 🙂 I laughed and laughed reading your post, all the while feeling inferior. Next time if you pay me (and I’m very very drunk) I could come along just to make you look like a STAR! Because swimming’s not my strength (when my feet can’t touch the bottom) and I an incapable of running further than my front walk. I mean just the short part leading to the sidewalk. So I would be outstanding serving as stark contrast to what a tri-athlete looks like. Dumbest thing I did all summer was to have dermabrasion done under my eyes and believe them when they said it heals in two weeks. Six weeks and counting…signing up for a triathalon sounds brainy in comparison.

    • loisgreiman says:

      Oh man!! Tell me about dermabrasion. Does it work? Is it worth it…if one is starting to look really really old????

      • Kylie Brant says:

        It takes the first three layers of skin, so not as deep as a peel. It ‘softens’ the wrinkles drastically…and relatively cheap. Messy two weeks of healing as you’re constantly applying vaseline but overall probably worth it for the price. I just have one eye that’s still jacked up, but I long ago faced the fact that I’m a statistic….

  9. Kathy J says:

    The dumbest thing I did so far (as it is only about half way) I still have time, I took a 10 hour car trip to see my mom for only 3 days because my summer is so jammed I was afraid if we did not go then, we would miss the trip entirely and not go this summer (which as it turns out is probably true), but that did not help when I drove the 10 hour to and then back in 5 days. The the following week went to Chicago for another vacation. By this time, I really just needed to stay home and catch up.

    • loisgreiman says:

      But we must visit mothers whenever we can. My daughter, who just had a baby a few weeks ago said, “You know how much we adore our moms? I’m just so thrilled to get a chance to have someone to feel that way about me someday.” 🙂

  10. Martha Lawson says:

    Wow! I would never attempt a triathalon. You are awesome – congratulations!!!!

  11. loisgreiman says:


  12. Quilt Lady says:

    You rock, I couldn’t do it. I don’t think I have done anything dumb yet this summer but its not over yet. I do need to get back to walking steady every day. I have slacked off some and now its gotten really hot.

  13. Barbara E. says:

    Well, I thought walking in a 5k was a lot, LOL. It was certainly enough for me. My dumb thing was I spent a bunch of money on a set of unfinished closet doors for my guest room and I’ve managed to stain one whole side of one and still have one side and one whole door to go. Did I mention they’re louvered doors? All those nooks and crannies are ridiculous. I might finish before winter sets in, at least that’s the dream. 😀

    • loisgreiman says:

      I got half the wallpaper off the bathroom wall and haven’t done more in weeks. Those projects aren’t supposed to be done in summer!

  14. MsJudy Long says:

    I read about this once. Considered doing it and read a book about it in the winter months. Then summer rolled around and I went for one swim in the lake. Met up with a scary turtle. That was it. No triathalons for me.

  15. ellie says:

    Your strength and perseverance is to be admired. What a feat. Congratulations. Wonderful.

  16. TrishJ says:

    Wow!! You are the BOMB!! I have a son who does the iron man thing. Not easy. My dumbest move this summer? I was helping with the kindergarten class with vacation bible school. I got the best idea ever to invite my 5 grandchildren to stay with me and attend VBS. (Ages 5 thro 11). Siblings squabble all the time, but throw in cousins … ARGH. I did manage, but I am a few brain cells short .. and I really did need those cells, cuz I am already thinking of doing it again next year. Hubby is planning a vacation somewhere far, far away.

  17. diane says:

    Impressive! I did a few runs but would be very apprehensive about an iron man specialty. Great to be in shape you are a superwoman.

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