Member Moment – by Tanya Patterson

Member Moment – by Tanya Patterson

When Larissa asked me to write a Member Moment piece about myself and my training, I admit to being somewhat perplexed. I have nowhere near the biking or swimming experience of other members; in fact I have never done a triathlon. I do have years of running experience though, and hopefully some “life-wisdom” since I am of Greg Pace’s vintage. LOL

My husband and I live in Burlington and have 3 kids ages 28-34. I joined TCOB 2 years ago because for some time I had been very curious about the whole open-water swimming/wetsuit thing, and because I had a bike that didn’t leave the garage. I was also starting to feel a bit “stuck” in the running world. I still loved running, but it was getting somewhat repetitive, and I was increasingly prone to injury so couldn’t really progress. I knew I had to expand my fitness options, and in fact, was really wanting to learn something new.

Greg started teaching spin classes at Cedar Springs, and I loved his classes. He told us about a swim program he would be offering at the club. Always in need of swim instruction, I joined it, loved it, and learned so much! A couple of the ladies in the program told me about TCOB’s TT101. It sounded like a perfect way to get the bike out of the garage, actually learn what to do with it, experiment with open water swimming…..and see where it would go……

As it turned out, I never did do a race that first summer. I didn’t feel ready to do the open water swim safely and enjoyably; it wasn’t worth the risk for me. But I did meet lovely people and get a summer full of new experiences and new skills, albeit at a beginner level. Shorter distances of the 3 sports, plus some strength training in the gym made me feel fit but not sore, and mentally the rides outside the city and the evening swims in the lake made me feel miles away from everything, and yet we were basically at our backdoors. How fortunate!

The brick workouts were, and continue to be, my favourite, because I get a great workout, and am always slightly, but not too much, outside my comfort zone. At my age it’s important to balance the two.

Is there anything in particular that motivates me?

Well, races themselves are not important motivators to me. I do, however, like to pick a race that I MIGHT do, because that provides me with a training schedule. Without a training schedule I can be inconsistent. I overdo things for a couple weeks, then I am sore and pooped for a week, then repeat. A goal race provides me with a schedule, which keeps me consistent, which builds my fitness, which makes my workouts more “enjoyable????” And then maybe I do the race or maybe I have just learned stuff, met people, had fun, spent time outside, improved my fitness, perfected my swim, bike and run…..all good reasons to be in a tri group. I do know many people ARE motivated by a specific goal race though, and that’s awesome, and that experience of training and race day together is precious!!! I also find training with a group helps me be more consistent because I don’t want to let coaches and fellow members down by bailing on the workout.

What are my plans for 2021?

This year, until gyms open up their group exercise programs, I am continuing with my yoga (I’m a big yogi!!), and upper and lower body strength workouts in my basement. I do one inside spin on my trainer because I need the cardio. Hopefully pools will be open safely soon and I can add swimming back into the mix. My running has been on hold for the past couple months (hip issues), so obviously I am working to get that back on track. I am thankful to have swim and bike options now, so that I can decrease my running distances and still stay fit. When the brick workouts start up, I hope the new route will be doable for me, so that I can participate again this year. I also intend to do some open water swimming…gingerly but with enthusiasm!

Will I do a race?

Probably not this year, with COVID still around, and the fact that I still have so much swimming to learn to get up to my comfort zone, but I could definitely see myself doing a duathlon in the near future!! Meanwhile my hope is to continue developing my bike and swim skills, and enjoying new experiences. I am proud of myself for having the confidence at this point in my life to dabble in something new, and I am very grateful for the coaches and TCOB members who have shared their knowledge and who have encouraged me the past couple seasons.