By Jodi Broz – Personal Trainer
Standing at the finish line of any endurance race is at the heart of how and why I am a trainer.
Watching the men and women complete a long distance or multi-sport race like a marathon or Ironman makes me want to cry every single time. And when one or two of those athletes happens to be a friend or client it brings me chills. I remember vividly the first time I stood at the end of an Ironman. It was November 2013 and two of my closet training friends were running the final stretch of the Arizona Ironman, a distance of 140.6 miles. They had started in the morning hours before the sun was up and it was now after the sun had set and darkness filled the skies yet again. I had spent the entire day running from point to point around Phoenix trying to catch a glimpse of them both to give any kind of smile, encouragement and reassurance. And as I stood at the finish waiting for them to cross, I began to cry, big messy tears. I tried to conceal them. I tried to stop them. It was no use. The emotions were too strong. They were happy tears for sure. Tears of pure joy for what they were both about to complete. The culmination of months and months of training. Miles and miles of roads and trails biked and ran. Many of which we did together to prepare them for such a feat. I was so proud to be there sharing in their triumphant moment. A moment that calls for tears. But I knew right then those big messy tears were not all just for them. Those tears were also about me. You see I knew what was going to happen next. I knew it was only a matter of time. I knew that one day I too would train and complete my very own Ironman. And in that very moment… I did not want to!! So, I cried!!
Who really ever wants to do these crazy endurance races? Surely not me. Yes, I am a runner. Have been since I was ten years old. I am also a trainer. I taught a cycle class but I didn’t own a bike or know the first thing about what it takes to ride outside. I also couldn’t swim. I didn’t like the water and it is why all of my children had swim lessons, so they were able to save themselves if needed. I didn’t know the first thing about being a Triathlete.
The world of outdoor endurance sports is every growing. And the choices in distance range from your friendly 5K to an ultra-distance of 100 miles or more. They can be single disciplines of running, cycling, swimming, trail running and more or they can be multi-sport races like a Triathlon which consists of three disciplines: swimming, biking, running in that order. Now before you decide triathlon isn’t for you hear me out. Triathlon is not an extreme sport. It is not a sport for elite athletes only and it is not an unachievable target. While a long course or Ironman distance is attractive to some, it is only one tiny part of the sport. Triathlon is for all ages and abilities; it is a good way to keep active and it can keep training fun and varied.
Take our very own triathlon held at the club in August every year (pandemic aside) and organized by Melanie Vovk. It is considered a “mini sprint” and a great introductory race for people new to the sport. There is no official distance for these races; the only requirement is that they be shorter than a traditional sprint tri. So how long does a triathlon take? The short answer is it depends. There are four common triathlon distances covered and they get longer as you progress.
The sprint distance is great for those new to triathlon races. Athletes are quickly pulled into the lifestyle of triathlon and will jump to the Olympic distance, also known as the “international distance”, “standard course”, or “short course”. The distances are double that of a sprint tri. Next is the half triathlon sometimes called the 70.3 triathlon for the total mileage covered during the race. The final step in the triathlon journey is the Full triathlon… Go big or go home!! This epic event requires participants to complete a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a full marathon of 26.2 miles running. You may hear both the half and full referred to as “half Ironman” or “Ironman” triathlons. Ironman is a brand or trademark event and not all races get the Ironman distinction. Completing any race of those distances is an accomplishment whether “Ironman” is in the name or not.
Athletes of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds share a common characteristic: the search for their next challenge. The back-to-back combination of swimming, cycling, and running is a test of both physical endurance and mental stamina. And it’s not just the athletic accomplishment that gets people hooked on triathlons. The tri community is welcoming and very friendly. Some of my closest friends come from endurance racing. The time spent together training builds a unique bond between people. An understanding of tiredness, exhaustion, hunger, anguish, drive and determination that you feel and experience together. And maybe the best part, the traveling. Races are weekend long events and generally held in beautiful locations. If you can, pick a race in a location you would never visit otherwise. You won’t regret it.
The location was Phoenix, Arizona where I cheered my friends to their Ironman finish. It was also the location of our GM Jennifer Azevedo’s finish line one year later, 2014. And did you know Paseo club trainers Melanie Vovk, Lynette Willis and April Larson as well as several instructors and members can all call themselves Triathletes. On a dark misty morning in August of 2015, two years after crying like a baby while witnessing my first Ironman finish line, I dove into the water of Mont Tremblant Lake in Quebec, Canada to begin my 140.6 mile journey. Finishing in the darkness of night, more than 13 hours later, crying, big messy tears again. I can still hear the announcer say my name and those four iconic words… “You are an Ironman”.
What an incredible feeling it is to cross the line myself or watch my friends cross the line. But, coaching someone to finish any endurance event is at the heart of why I am a trainer. I am ready to do it again. Who’s with me?? Are you ready to take on your first triathlon? With all of the race options available, there’s no excuse NOT to consider a triathlon for your next challenge!
Coming soon A New Triathlon Club at The Paseo Club. Watch for pop-up bike rides, swim clinics and of course run training in the coming months. If you’d like to be a part of the exciting world of Triathlon contact Jodi Broz at [email protected]. The race schedule for 2021 is open and live events are expected to begin by summer. And if you’re are still not ready to commit let’s spend this year building our training base, get a feel for what you can expect and then we race big in 2022.