Friday Feature – Julia Vlaming

OAC Team Triumpher

When I started with Team Triumph I had been working out pretty much all of my adult life. Physical activity has always been a great outlet for me. When I started with Team Triumph I wasn’t really working out. I played beach volleyball once a week, but that was the extent of it.

I noticed myself getting slower at volleyball and was not as motivated to be active. I had quit my gym membership because we moved and needed to do something. I did 2 triathlons before I had my son (who is now 3.5). I was already in love with the sport but needed a serious butt kicking to get back into it, and training with a club seemed like a cool adventure, so I joined the Team.

When I signed up my goals were to make it to practice and fit into my jeans come the fall! Haha. I was being very realistic. I was also hoping to do an Olympic distance triathlon the next year.

These goals were important to me because…new jeans can get expensive and I wasn’t about to go out and get ”mom jeans”. In the midst of work, moving, and taking care of my family, I lost some of the athletic drive. It was time to get it back and having a purpose to my training definitely helped motivate me.

My goal to finish an Olympic distance triathlon had been in the back of my mind since I had my son, but this summer seemed like a ”now or never” situation. I did have some obstacles in my way upon starting my triathlon journey. I went from being really active, to being put on bed rest when pregnant, to having a baby while running my own business. Then I moved my office twice and was renovating and selling our house. Working out was put on the back burner for a while. Also, last year a picnic table fell on my foot, so that was a bummer.

As mentioned above, I was signed up for the gym but I wasn’t going consistently. So, I went to one of Julia’s spin classes about a year ago. Best spin class ever! I wanted to know what made her so awesome and she told me about Team Triumph.  It was perfect timing for me! I had a more flexible schedule. However, I was slightly terrified, because I was out of shape! Out of shape people don’t do triathlons, but I had nothing to worry about. The coaches are really knowledgeable and everyone was so encouraging and supportive! Teammates would ask if I was coming to next practice, so there was a level of accountability. I also liked that the summer program offered all three sports too! Oh, and I saw results!

It was not easy to get started.  All the old injuries made themselves known when I started, my muscles were on fire, and I felt like I was going to throw up after every practice for the first 4 weeks. Did I mention I was out of shape? I wasn’t about to quit after all that and after 4 weeks I started seeing incredible results! Also, as a business owner, I had to trust that things weren’t going to fall apart while I wasn’t available (you can’t answer your phone when you’re in the middle of the lake).

How did I stay motivated while all my muscles were telling me to stop? I trusted that the coaches knew what they were talking about, it just took my body some time to figure out what was going on. And for the most part, things at work didn’t fall apart, which was a good lesson for me too!

I have had some great achievements that I am proud of this year

  • I swam 4k! and I biked 93k! I’ve never done that before, it was amazing!
  • My running still needs work, but my ankle doesn’t hurt when I run now and I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up, so that’s pretty great!
  • I’m down 14 pounds, my body is happier. Also, my 3 year old told me he wants to be fast like mama. I’m proud of that.

My view of myself has changed. “Mom jeans: are no longer in my near future. My goals are more concrete, and I can do things that I didn’t think I would ever do, even back when I was in good shape! Before I thought that it’s all about how many hours you put into training, and that’s definitely part of it, but I learned that there is so much more to it. I learned when to rest and when to push myself. I’m still working on technique and excited to race next season.

What is different in life now is that I give myself time to workout, it’s no longer on the back burner and I met so many wonderful people! I’m part of this triathlete community that I didn’t know existed! I feel encouraged to keep going.

I’m pretty sure that if I had not started training with Team Triumph I would be rocking mom jeans and probably paying for a gym membership I was not using and not be part of this incredible team and triathlon community.