Packet swag.

If I were a real athlete, I’d probably be in amazing shape right now. But, I’m a mom first, I’m employed with a cool cube job, I’m a house wife who can’t quite keep up with house work. Our training table is questionable, and that’s partly because we’re a normal family who enjoys bacon, bread, pizza, and ice cream. I do eat plenty of vegetables and we more often than not serve dinners without starch. Let me give you some advice: Keeping a food journal works. I don’t always do it, and I should. We forget. We don’t balance the calories-in, calories-out checkbook at the end of the day.

Running out of Lanikai for the third time during our triple-mini-triathlon workout last weekend. Photo by teammate Jules.

When I think of all the training I’ve done since I first joined Try Fitness Hawaii in May to prepare for the Honolulu Tinman, I can’t help but think that I’m healthier and stronger. The schedule included three group workouts per week, two we were to do on our own, and a day off. I’d change my days off a little because I did Masters Swimming on Mondays at The Oahu Club. So my day off would be Wednesday. And I confess, those days when I was supposed to work out on my own didn’t always result in a workout. I often wondered who could keep it up. Maybe if I didn’t have kids! Maybe if I didn’t get up at 4:30 in the morning for work!

The workouts did irritate my Achilles heel injury and I now have arthritis and patellofemoral, irregular tracking of the knee. While my sports medicine doctor cluck-clucks at my impending marathon readiness series and the Honolulu Marathon in December, he does encourage me to continue to participate in triathlons, and to not spend so much time running. No doubt, I’ll not be on the podium for as long as I’m a participant, but deep in my soul will be the satisfaction of having completed. I plan to get through the athletic schedule I have planned for 2012, and then in 2013, I will probably focus more on triathlons. I’m not getting any younger.

Some of my Try Fitness teammates after a swim-run workout at Ala Moana Beach Park. I think this was July 3rd. Fuzzy pic. Sorry!

Even though I’m a person who finishes toward the end of the pack at most of these events, there is nothing better than the sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing the finish line. When you look at past events, you see the same few names as the top finishers time after time. They are the 1 percent. They are the people who can dedicate so much time to training, who get the free gels and the free shoes and the sponsored entries. They probably are the reason people like me sign up to participate. Imagine getting an in-real-life glimpse at Lance Armstrong, or a Kenyan, or Bree Wee! They are so fast and so inspiring! And we get to see that they are also a blend of amazing and plain ole regular people.

Glassy calm pool at The Oahu Club last night. It was exactly how I was feeling inside after our 2,650-meter workout. Gotta remember that feeling while I’m in the Tinman.

So here we are. Tapering week before Sunday’s Honolulu Tinman. You can bet I’ll be crazy anxious in my blue swim cap in the midst of a mass ocean start. I’ll stumble out of the water and fumble through my transition to the bike. I’ll finally get my peace while out riding, but my heart will race and I will try, try, try. And when I park my bike and slip into my running shoes, and launch into my rubber chicken run, I’ll have to accept it when my friends fly by. I’ll finish. I’ll finish with a smile and a shaka. I’ll get my finisher’s T-shirt and a medal, and I’ll have something inside that wells in my heart and soul.

What’s next? I’ve got the North Shore Challenge 2.3 mile swim from Pipeline to Waimea Bay, the Duke Kahanamoku Oceanfest mile swim on August 25, the Waikiki Rough Water Swim on Labor Day, and the Na Wahine Festival in September. Training for the Na Wahine starts in a few days! Join us! That Honolulu Marathon readiness series, too! Then I’m gonna celebrate on 12/12/12 because it will all be done and it’s my birthday. Pop the bubbly!

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. I’m so proud of and excited for you! I’ll be at KCC on the corner near Makapu! I’ll look for you! I’ll wear a big straw hat so you can see me and I can cheer for you on Sunday! Good luck Paula! And we can celebrate together after the marathon!!! ❤

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