Half our school has experienced it: second year. From the months of January through June, I probably worked out 5 times or less. I had made the interesting (but worth it!) call of getting a puppy in December, immediately before my two hardest quarters of school which definitely did not help the exercise situation. By the time June came around, I was stoked about my extra free time but was NOT stoked about how out of shape I was and how I hadn’t prioritized my physical wellness.
In June, I decided on a whim to sign an Olympic triathlon at the end of the summer. An Olympic triathlon is one of four standard triathlon distances (Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, Full Ironman) and is the second shortest distance. Even so, it’s a 1.5km (0.93 mile) swim, 40km (24.8 mile) bike, and 10km (6.2 mile) run, which I DEFINITELY could not do in my current state in June. Once I decided I was going for it, I googled a 3 month training program, followed it as best I could and that was that. I was going for completion, not time!
The week leading up to the race, I got really nervous about how unprepared I was. Not so much about how in shape I was to do it (because let’s be real, I always knew I was going to finish bottom of the barrel), but about my lack of equipment and how little I had practiced swimming in open water. I knew everyone was going to have all the gear like wetsuits and clipless bike shoes that I haven’t been able to make the investment in, I was just hoping I wouldn’t freeze swimming without a wetsuit!
By the time race day came around and the race started, I knew I didn’t need to be worried. While I was only one of two women wearing a one piece instead of a wetsuit for the swim, the water was warm enough that it wasn’t an issue. It was some people’s first ever triathlon and some people had obviously already done an Ironman or two. It was my first ever organized race (somehow I haven’t even done a 5k?) and I WILL be back! The vibes were amazing and made me want to go home and sign up for another race right after. What a wonderful celebration of all the participants’ hard work training.
The race was on September 7th and was an awesome way to kick off Wellness Month for me. Wellness Month comes at the perfect time each year—just in time for us to remember how important our well-being is before losing our self in another school year. Dental school is all-consuming, sometimes it seems, but it’s worth it to get out there and try something new like a triathlon (or like a Wellness Month event, perhaps?)
About the Author: Shale Ninneman
Shale is a D3 - not only is she in the top of her class, Shale is also the current Secretary for the ADEA Chapter and former ASDA Wellness Chair.