For all the newbies: by Janine Dammann

//For all the newbies: by Janine Dammann

For all the newbies: by Janine Dammann

To all the Newbies…..

Just like many women in the MHWTC, I never thought I would be swimming, cycling, & running on a regular basis, let alone writing a blog about it.

It all started on New Year’s Eve, 2010.  The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club was going to be launched in March and Colleen suggested I join the club and consider doing a triathlon in August.  After thinking about it for a while, I said I would join and train for the SheRox Tri but didn’t think I was able to do all three events.  My girlfriend and I decided that we would do a relay.   I was going to run (haha I was NOT a runner) and my girlfriend was going to swim and bike.  The next week she was going to run and I was going to swim and bike.  This went back and forth for a while, all with lots of apprehension.  After the 1st kick off meeting, we changed our minds and decided to do all three events on our own.  I emailed Colleen telling her about the change and her response was, “I was waiting for this email to come.”  – She was confident from the very beginning that I could do the entire triathlon all on my own!

So I started training…. Early one Sunday morning I met two friends at the Future Fitness pool for our first practice swim.  We got into our lanes and started putting on our swim gear, talking, laughing and having fun! On go the caps, then I put on my “face mask” (you know the one that covers your nose i.e. SNORKEL MASK).  We were all laughing at my mask.  This is how new I was to swimming, I didn’t have a clue that I was supposed to have goggles!  Once the weather got warmer, I started the open water swims at Lakes Garrison and Wenonah.  I began to really enjoy them.  I would text my friends the afternoon of the Wenonah swims and would ask, “Who’s interested in swimming tonight”.    I was given the nickname “Swamp Queen”.

I liked the swims at Lake Garrison because most of the time, just as I was finishing the 10th lap swimming the side stroke, the sun began to set.  It was incredible!  After doing the swims for the month of July, I started getting more confident and actually thought, I can do this!  There were days that I couldn’t wait to get home from work to bike, run or swim. I was in a groove!

I participated in the 7am Saturday morning group bike rides.  I have to say, they were a little early but I always felt so good because by 9am I was done with a 15-20 mile ride and had the whole day ahead of me. As I continued going on the rides, I got a little faster and even started saying “on your left”.  For some reason, I would stay behind a person even if I was fast enough to pass them.

When I first started running, I was able to run longer if I listened to songs on my IPod rather than looking at my watch. It was more motivating for me.  At first, I would run for three songs then walk and increase the number of songs each week.  I kept it up, listening to the same 8 songs, yes only eight songs, over and over for 2-3 days a week.  Towards the middle of the summer, everything started connecting.  I started to see weight loss results. I was exercising, I was eating healthier foods and I was psyched! I lost 30 lbs. that summer and didn’t have to say I was still trying to lose my baby weight (considering, my baby was 22 years old at the time – LOL)

The beginning of August came and so did SheRox Triathlon. The night before the race, my husband said, “Now, have fun tomorrow”.  I just didn’t get that, how can I have fun?  I was soooo nervous.  I knew I was prepared though – the swim, like for most of us, was a challenge for me.  Maureen, saw how nervous I was, she took my hand, brought me to the edge of the river and showed me where I had to swim and how far.  As soon as I got into the river, I calmed down and did what I had been training for all summer. I still didn’t feel comfortable swimming freestyle the 1st year so I swam the sidestroke the entire time.  While swimming, I was looking at the mansions and scenery of Philadelphia.   I took my time, and before I knew it, I was doing the happy dance, out of the water and headed to the bike transition. During the bike ride, I noticed my son Ben on the sideline cheering me on.  I was thrilled to see him and had fun the rest of the race. Yes, I had a smile on my face and I was having fun!

This whole Tri club experience is one of the best things that ever happened to me.  It changed my life.  I eat healthier now, I have more confidence and I learned to push myself even if “I don’t want to.” (Still perfecting that one!)  I’ve made good friends and even added more songs to my IPod!

Good Luck Newbies!


By | 2012-03-27T08:31:48+00:00 March 27th, 2012|Triathlon|2 Comments

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  1. Dawn Ware March 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Great Story J9! So glad to have come across you in my life!

  2. Michelle M April 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    That post was inspiring! If only I had the drive to wake up at 7am on Saturday mornings. For someone as active as your are, you should check out the New Balance Philadelphia & South Jersey Facebook page. They are doing a contest to win up to $!,000 worth of sneakers for the year! You won’t have to “run” out of shoes.

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