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Seattle Danskin Triathlon 2010


You might remember a little post I did back in June telling you that I actually had a secret one little word for 2010. That word is athlete.

In that same post I said that what I really wanted to do at the Seattle Danskin Sprint Triathlon was show up and participate.

Well, that's just what I did.

And I totally loved it.

I loved that it was all women - 3313 women if you want details. I loved seeing all the different ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. I loved that they all showed-up. I loved hearing people cheer along the way and I especially loved when I ran by and high-fived a blonde woman that I won't soon forget yelling out "Way to go Athletes!" I loved that I got to do this with Cristina, my cousin Rob's wife, who's a veteran (x6) of this race. I loved that my sister was there with me bright and early to capture the experience with photos and cheer me along the way. I loved that it was in the city near where I grew up - a coming home of sorts in so many ways physically and emotionally. I loved that I got to see a couple old friends from high school out on the course. I loved clapping along the way and yelling out woo-hoo and cheering others on as I made my way through the course. I loved that I got choked up at different points along the course as it hit me again and again that I was really doing this.

I'm already signed up for 2011.

And I'm totally excited to really train for next year. This past year I trained enough to be able to "make it." This coming year I plan to train to significantly reduce my time and approach it in a more competitive fashion. Now that I
know what to expect and have gone through the experience what I want to
be able to do is much more clear in my mind.

Here's a look at the weekend in photos with a couple stories along the way:


I drove up I-5 towards Seattle on Friday afternoon heading to the house in which I grew-up.

For the past week we'd been talking about whether Chris and the kids were going to come along. As much as I would have loved to have them there, it ended up just making more sense for them to stay at home. It's been a crazy busy summer and with our move so recent I think it was the right choice this year. 

It also hit home how this was my journey.

I was thankful for the chance to just take care of me.


On Saturday Cristina, my cousin's wife and partner-in-crime for the weekend, and I headed up to Seattle Center to pick up our race packets.



We got our race numbers written on our arms with a Sharpie. Mine's still there.


After picking up our packets and other stuff we drove out to Genesee Park (site of the race) and "racked" our bikes. They have everyone leave their bikes there overnight so as not to have mass chaos in the morning.


I was getting really, really excited at this point even in the 95+ degree heat.


We checked out the Lake Washington swim portion.


A nice volunteer took this one of us.


Packing my bag on Saturday evening.


On Sunday I was up at 4:30am to leave my parents house by 5am. My sister and I followed Cristina and her family back up to Genesee park.


Walking into the participant-only area where our bikes were located.

At this point I was just really excited. I never got nervous but I was definitely filled with anticipation. I think if I start getting more competitive and wanting to beat some times then I'll likely get more nervous.

For this case, for this race, I was just so happy to be there.


Tons of memories of me in a suit with cap and goggles.


A look at one of the "waves" at the start of the race. I was in wave 18 which started at 7:50am. Two of my friends from high school were in wave 17 and Cristina was in wave 16.


Doing a little warm-up. The water temperature in Lake Washington was perfect. The choppiness of the water was not so perfect.


Still happy right before the start.


Doing some clapping as I walk down to the starting position in the water.

The swim is the leg that I'm most comfortable with in terms of my own personal life experience. I have a long history as a competitive swimmer throughout childhood/high school and into college. Diving into the murky water was exhilarating. I went with the tactic of being up front at the start and sprinting to get out ahead of most of the people in my wave. After getting out there I had a moment of panic as I took a breath and swallowed a huge gulp of water as a wave came right into my mouth. At that point I started doing breaststroke to regain a composure and to help me see where in the heck I was going and catch my breath. 

I ended up doing quite a bit of breaststroke through most of the entire 800 yard swim. It helped me see where I was going. I loved it when Cristina told me that there's nothing pretty about the swim portion...she was so totally right.


After the swim comes the bike. I love my bike. I'm not fast on my bike but I love riding it. In this event we rode for 13 miles - out a road along the park, across the I-90 bridge towards Mercer Island and back again. It was awesome. I'm probably most excited about learning how to become a better bike rider and gaining more strength in my legs this next year.


Coming back in towards the transition area. Again, super happy just to be experiencing this whole thing.


After the bike is a 3.1 mile run. Running was the thing I practiced most before this race since I hadn't really ever run for the sake of running. My preparation had nothing to do with speed and everything to do with making sure I could make it the 3.1 mile distance. I walked just a bit and spent most of the time running at my own sweet pace. Again - totally an area where I could make some serious improvements if I put in the time.

Coming across the finish line I actually wished it wasn't ending. 

I was so happy. So totally happy that I did it, that I showed up, that I finished...and that I know I can do so much better next year.


More clapping.


The medals we got after crossing the finish line.


This guy shows up in the craziest places.



Here's a look at my stats (as you might notice I wasn't in much of a hurry during the transitions):



When we were all done we went back down to the water to cool off.


Then we packed up our gear and headed out.


We'll be back again next year.

Let a new chapter of my story unfold. My life won't be the same again.

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315 thoughts

  1. maile says…

    So fantastic Ali. You are such an inspiration!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Aubrey says…

    So, so wonderful to read. *I* was nervous reading about the leading up to the race. Does that count? :) Your story gave me chills. Congratulations. Wow.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Elizabeth Rosemond says…

    Holy goosebumps! So fantastic. I love that you have this story of coming home, full circle in a way. Not only back to your geographical roots, but back to your competitive/recreational roots as well. What a gift to give to yourself, as well as to your family. Just amazing :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. northcarmen says…

    Bravo on following through and making this event such a wonderful gift to yourself. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Jen Spain says…

    Awesome! I was wondering when you were going to post about this -- looks like you had a fantastic day! I felt nervous too and it made me think about my own pre-ride jitters and the 10K run I did with my 10 year old this year. I've been working on my own cycling strength and I've found a lot of good information at www.roadbikerider.com -- there's a lot of good training plans in e-book form if you scroll down. Can't wait to hear about your journey towards next year's event!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. nancy faith says…

    Wow...you must still be on cloud nine. Big Congrats...

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Ingunn says…

    That's so awesome and inspiring. I've been running on and off this year but I think I might have to enter a race to keep my motivation up...and it looks like such a life-changing experience.
    (I can't believe you guys did that in the middle of the heatwave; I was on a short hike yesterday and practically melted!)

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Anna Aspnes says…

    Totally awesome Ali! I was never an athlete but I've proved over and over I can do anything I set my mind to. You can too :) Looking forward to seeing what you can do next year.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. julie huerta says…

    thank you for all the shared pictures and story of a day of you

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Vanessa Menhorn says…

    Congratulations, Ali!! This is awesome!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Jamie Lynn says…

    I'M SCREAMIN' EXCITED!!!!! So completely awesome!!!!! I feel so proud for & so excited that you accomplished this!! WOO-HOO!!!!!! (Do you really do it all?! 'K, the rest of us are not slackers! Repeat as necessary!) Huge congrats!!!!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. kelly purkey says…

    congratulations, ali!!!
    this is so inspiring to me and i love that you have all these photos along the way.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Natalie says…

    Wow, what an amazing achievement!! Congratulations. I've always been interested in doing something like this but it scares the hell out of me!! It was great to read about what it's like from someone doing it for the first time.
    Congrats again!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Jessica Woodford says…

    So awesome! Congrats!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. annette says…

    great job ali!!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Tami says…

    My eyes were tearing up just reading this. I too, did my first sprint tri this June. Those amazing feelings of happiness came back to me. It has changed me forever. Good for you. It's not easy with a family to find the balance to accomplish something like this. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Koren says…

    woo hoo! go you!!!
    you had such a good attitude and perspective going into it and look how wonderfully you were rewarded for that. so glad you fully enjoyed it all.
    very much brought back memories and emotions of my sprint tri a few years back here in Federal Way. good stuff!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Jessica says…

    Great job!!! Super fun! I just did my first sprint tri this weekend too... in Central Oregon. I also can't wait to do another.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Rani says…

    Congrats!!!! So excited for you and your new found love to train harder for next years! I just completed my first Triathlon (SLO TRI) a month ago, and now I am hooked! Looking forward to more training and participation!!!! You go!!!
    Check out this site for women too:
    or just google irongirl! it's pretty amazing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. sarah says…

    so fantastic ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Krista Nash says…

    Way to go! That is so awesome! You have no idea how inspriring you are to me. Perhaps I can channel your enthusiasm and start running more. Congratulations!!!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Jessica says…

    Wonderfully inspiring! Thanks for sharing. I am getting up to go run tomorrow! I live in a part of Hawaii where everyone around me is a triathlete. I'd like to get into good enough shape to start kite surfing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Randa says…

    What an accomplishment! Congrats :)
    What a testimony in later years to your children. You have shown them it is important to take care of-and take time for-yourself. A great lesson to learn!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Rani says…

    Here is one more great site for empowerment and athletic training for women
    Again, congrats!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Angela Cardas Meredith says…

    Wow. That's awesome. Congratulations! :)

    Reply 0 Replies

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