By Kristin Goett, Rev3 Ambassador Team Member
My alarm goes off at 5:45am every morning. I groggily stand up and shuffle to the door, grab my stuff, complete a workout of some sort… and then from there head out to campus to sit in my first class of the day, a lecture of 600 people, where I casually update my training log and plan for my second workout that afternoon. That’s right, I’m a college kid. Actually, I’m a college triathlete, if we are being technical.
Let me start from the beginning. As a child with an unquenchable need to move and an antsy personality that was never quite fulfilled by after-school sports, my parents signed me up for my first triathlon, a super-sprint kids’ race, when I was 12. It was bound to happen at some point; my father had been doing triathlons since the ‘80s, and my mother is a former track cycling national champion.
After a successful fourth place finish at my first race, I was hooked. I had “caught the bug,” as is frequently said by us crazy triathletes. The next eight years of my life would quickly become consumed by and focused on propelling myself forward in the long course triathlon community.
Triathlon, despite seeming to be very much a solo sport, is, in fact, not really solo at all. My parents have been to all but three of my races, and that is no small feat. They have sacrificed time, money, and sanity to bring me to where I am now, which is not too far from becoming a professional long course triathlete. A lot of people ask me what my parents did that made me as driven as I am today. I smile at the fact that my answer is an unwavering, “They never once tried to stop me from pursuing what I love.” Not only did they not stop me, they did all they could to support me.
After that first race, my parents never gave up on my dream. They spent many hours of their own free time driving me to the gym, to the pool, or, before it was safe me to go on long rides alone, hopping on their bikes to ride upwards of 20 miles with me. As a college student who values her weekends now, the fact that my parents gave up their Saturdays to ride with me make me all the more appreciative of their investment into my athletics.
On race day, whichever parent was with me made sure I had a nutrition bag packed and that I ate a post-race recovery meal with appropriate nutrients. One summer, as I struggled with eating disorder tendencies, they even made me an appointment with a sports nutritionist so I could get back on track and fuel my way to success.
Likewise, my parents always helped me find races that would be friendly and feasible for a young triathlete. For example, after completing the kids’ race, I knew I wanted to jump up to the “big leagues” and compete in an adult sprint triathlon. The next summer, setting aside his own pride, my father graciously allowed me to take the spotlight when I competed with him at a sprint triathlon he had been doing annually for almost two decades. My mother also let me grow giddy about my segments on Strava as I began to crush the same hills she had originally guided me up not a year before.
Now that I am a bit older, I see just how much my parents invested in my passion for triathlon. Not only did they support me, but they led by example. It all started from growing up in an active and supportive household that encouraged conversation about both our good and bad days. I believe that my parents became so involved in my triathlon career because they knew that they were fostering not only my deep love of a sport, but also the skills of discipline, structure, and accountability that I rely upon so heavily today. Encouraging me to stick to a workout regimen, to reach for realistic goals, and to learn when to be hard on myself and when to ease up are all traits that I apply to my life outside of triathlon today.
Currently, I am a junior at Penn State University studying public relations. I have a full time triathlon coach, I get up at ungodly hours to train, and don’t party very often, but it is worth it. I have the most amazing group of friends, most notably a boyfriend who, despite coming from a hockey background, has quickly become an expert on mile splits, aero bars, and the difference between clinchers and tubulars.
So why do I so relentlessly pursue a sport for which I neither receive a scholarship nor varsity status? I pursue it because it is the one thing in my life that I feel an unshakeable pull towards. It all started from age 12 when I felt the most incredible sense of self-reliance and self- success upon crossing my first triathlon finish line. I chase those sensations in every workout and race I compete in today. It is the best feeling in the world, and that is in no way an exaggeration.
Rev3 Triathlon is a family organization at its core. I know many of its participants are loving parents who would be thrilled to get their kids involved in triathlon. I highly encourage you all to do so. However, let love be your motivation, not a sense of living vicariously through your superstar child. It was my family’s love that allowed me to feel confident enough to tackle a full ironman at age 19, not fear of their disapproval.
I feel fortunate each day that I am a member of this unique athletic community and a catalyst in the sport of triathlon. Rev3 welcomes families of all backgrounds to participate in our races and to continue the wonderful traditions associated with triathlon. I hope to see you all out on the course and to give you reassurance that as triathlete parents, you are setting the best possible example for your children: to go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Happy training, and see you in a few short months!
Kristin is a long course triathlete who is currently a Junior at Penn State University. She is pursuing a double major in Public Relations and Spanish. When not training to pursue her pro card or doing schoolwork, Kristin can be found avidly eating, begging someone to roll out her hamstrings, or eating while having her hamstrings rolled out.