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I Kept Showing Up – Liz Nguyen

I Kept Showing Up Liz Ngyuen How It All Started Run Tri Bike Magazine
Liz Nguyen
Year started: 2019
Next race: September 12, 2021 / 70.3 Ironman Santa Cruz / Santa Cruz, CA
Favorite gear: IRACELIKEAGIRL kit from Pearl Izumi!

I’m newer to endurance sports and did my first sprint triathlon in Sept 2019. My husband had started running and riding and wanted to do a triathlon to challenge himself. He also wanted me to do it with him because we like to do a lot of things together.

There’s Something Called A Duathlon

Initially, I said no because I didn’t know how to swim (I knew how to not drown), I didn’t even own a bike, and I hated running. The real reason was because I was afraid of swimming in the ocean, especially if it’s not crystal clear, warm water like Hawaii. California water is not like Hawaii water! I also didn’t want to spend hours in the pool training because I have purple and pink hair and chlorine is just not good for my hair. I told him I would do it with him if I could just bike and run. Well, it turns out there is something called a duathlon (I had no idea)! We found a race that offered both the Sprint duathlon and triathlon so I had to eat my words and sign up! I bought a bike and started riding and running.

That Wasn’t So Bad. What’s Next?

When I started running, I couldn’t even run 1/4 mile without stopping to catch my breath! Did I mention that I was not athletic growing up? AT ALL. I didn’t play any sports. In fact, I did everything I could to get out of taking P.E. like taking dance classes at the local college in lieu of P.E. Anyways, I found a generic sprint duathlon training plan online and somewhat followed it. I completed the duathlon and thought to myself: That wasn’t so bad…maybe I should learn how to swim and do a triathlon. So I signed up for the next sprint triathlon.

I Kept Showing Up

I met someone that told me about a local open water swimming group, now known as One with the Ocean, and I showed up the next weekend with a brand new wetsuit on. When I arrived at the beach, there was a coach and he handed me a swim cap and told me to go jump in and just go at my own pace. Before I jumped in the water, the coach and I chatted and I told him it was my first time swimming in the ocean so he told me to stick with one of the coaches in the water. I put my cap and goggles on and ran into the ocean with everyone else. As soon as I hit the water, I said WTF am I doing here?? Needless to say, I didn’t really swim that day. More like I hyperventilated and floated from one buoy to the next. But I showed up again the next weekend, the weekend after that, and so on.

Taking The Next Step

Fast-forward, I completed 2 sprint duathlons and 1 sprint triathlon in 2019 and just completed my 2nd sprint triathlon this past month and saw a 22 minute improvement from my first one! I’ve been working with a coach since last summer and I’m training for my first half ironman race this September – IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz!

I was so hesitant about doing 1 triathlon and now I have to admit that I am hooked! I kept showing up and the community I’ve found through triathlon has been so supportive. No matter your background, experience, or speed, there is a place for you.

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