By Megan Clute
ISSUE #10, April/May 2001 – When I hear the gun go off, my heart immediately leaps into my throat. I have been trying to join the University of Colorado’s National Championship Triathlon Team since the winter of 1999. However, I was not successful. Intimidated by the hundred dollar gear, the thousand dollar bikes, and the million dollar muscles, I did not attend one practice. By the summer of 2000, I became tired of running with myself (plus if you talk to yourself, you receive many strange looks). I needed some training partners. Since I had already been to several triathlon meetings, I braved the first one again in the fall of 2000. After seeing the WILDFLOWER slide show for the 2nd time my heart began to race and my mind began to wonder what the future could hold.
Intense and determined, I can feel adrenaline coursing through my body as I starve for a breath of air while my arms and legs are swept about by the rough current. I have to admit the first couple of practices were a bit intense and a little overwhelming. I felt out of my league with my boyfriend’s mountain bike. In addition to the chaos of trying to perform three sports in one week, my study schedule was not the most flexible to accomplish this endeavor. However, I managed to participate and finish my first sprint triathlon at CSU. I could not ascertain the “high” I received from one Sunday morning. I remember the pain I felt after a cross-country race, but after a triathlon there is too much pride to feel pain. This sense of pride and accomplishment made me crave more. My adrenaline levels increased with every thought of WILDFLOWER in my future.
Laughter creeps into my mind as I realize how insane I am swimming in a cold, deep, dark lake. I have always sought a challenge. Throughout my high school and college careers I have been challenging my mind and my body. As a hopeful medical school student, I know the discipline and determination to achieve this goal. I carry these qualities not only in my education, but also on the playing field (pool, street and track, rather). I began running in high school and was fortunate enough to run in several state competitions and place well. Luck struck twice when I made the CU cross-country team and ran two hard years for them. However, some would think here is where my luck ran out. When the coach did not desire me on his team, I thought my luck did run out. But after participating on the triathlon team for only a semester now, I realize it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. His decision not only gave me a new opportunity but it let me achieve something I never thought I could do.
Donning a helmet on my wet throbbing head, I gear up to pursue a mountain. While I have been fortunate in many aspects of my life, obtaining funds has always been a mountain very hard to summit. However, I find myself capable of supporting my lifestyle by accepting the responsibilities of multiple jobs. Having worked in multiple positions I have had the opportunity to come into contact with a variety of unique individuals. Working at Alfalfa’s as a cashier supervisor I learned to communicate and organize a team of cashiers through very busy times. These jobs prove to have endearing qualities that helped me acquire communication skills and reemphasize the importance of teamwork. As a student research assistant at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center I have learned how to pay close attention to detail. This aspect of both my research jobs is required in order to do the job well. Developing a skill such as swimming and cycling takes these sorts of qualities. Without precision and accuracy stemming from my research jobs, learning how to do these sports would be a very tough mountain indeed. Currently I work at Registered Physical Therapists Associates. Despite the minimal monetary benefits, this opportunity has provided me further physiological education and the chance to sit with people and learn where they come from and who they are.
Feeling the ride, the wind on my face, I hear the cheers of the crowd and of my fellow teammates. I can state without a doubt that the CU triathlon team is the best team on campus. Having come from an extremely intense NCAA environment, I appreciate the varying levels of ability. I love being a part of a team that does not discriminate. It is both relieving and reassuring to be associated with an all-welcoming team. The camping trip proved to be a very enduring time. With the wind chill at –70oF, members of the team huddle together to prevent each other from freezing (not quite but very close). This adventure will certainly go down as one of the best experiences of my college career. Though, I have only spent a little time with the triathlon team so far, I have already met people I will never forget to cheer on.
Lungs and legs on fire, I finally site the transition area…relief encompasses me, two down one to go. As previously stated, I tried to get involved with the triathlon team my junior year. I went to several of the spring meetings and heard of the famous meet called WILDFLOWER. The meetings motivated me beyond belief, but by the time I attended another meeting my chance to go was gone. Disappointed, I vowed I would go next year. The time to register for the year 2001 came. At first I was indecisive to sign up due to financial constraints. I made up my mind that I just couldn’t afford to attend. Fortunately, my enthusiasm to race with the team would not die. I realized this year might be my last chance to go to WILDFLOWER as a member of the University of Colorado Triathlon Team. Determined to make this happen, I signed up, knowing I will do whatever it takes to get there. Now there is only WILDFLOWER to go.
Once on my feet, I felt a certain comforting calm that gave me the confidence to finish. Now that I have committed to participating, I feel sense of relief. Knowing that I am training towards a goal brings comfort. This comfort brings a strong motivation to train the best I can so I can do the best I can. Furthermore, I am eager to become friends with my fellow teammates and share with them a great adventure.
Wondering to myself as I pound out the mileage, is there anything else more fun? Some would say “triathloning” is an extremely tough sport. Not to discredit their opinion in anyway, I find “triathloning” a very tough sport yet so fulfilling that it seems almost easy. Everyday I train in one sport or two that I have already loved or have come to love. Having the ability and the opportunity to do a sport as this can not be surpassed. This is how I have fun.
Extraordinary euphoria overwhelms me as I see the finish line, heart pounding, lungs heaving; I take my last step across the line and finish.
Really I seem to have said everything, except maybe one thing…GO CU!!!