Mary Padden swims, bikes and runs to find out how far she can go

Mary Padden is a senior from Seattle, WA. She is majoring in Public Policy Analysis/Sociology and French and is interested in Education Policy as a career. A an avid lover of sports and exercise, this semester Mary is training for the Desert International Triathlon, which includes a ¾-mile swim, a 24-mile bike ride and a 6-mile run. Here’s what she shared about her experience and goals:

Why did you decide to do a triathlon?
A friend of mine, Jordan Cohen (last week’s Campus Cutie!) told me he was doing a triathlon and at first I wasn’t sure I wanted to participate. I had never done anything like it before so I though, why not try something new. I miss having a sport and the triathlon training seemed like a fun thing to do, something to work for.

What is your background in sports? 
I’ve played basketball my whole life. I played for Pomona freshman year. I have also played soccer, I’ve done cross country, track, I swam when I was younger, played lacrosse… Now I mostly run for exercise and for fun.
How is it so far?
It’s been good. It’s very time consuming but I’m enjoying the varied workouts: I run, swim and bike and it’s challenging but I’m excited to, hopefully, actually complete it on March 6th.
Isn’t that the day after Smiley 80s?
Yes, unfortunately. I will still dress up and go to the party but I’ll take it easy. 
Tell me about your training?
I try to train for each sport four times a week, so I end up doing something every day. My workouts range in length. The swim should take me about 30 min., the run just under an hour. I can’t really tell about the biking, it’s a 24-mile bike ride and it depends on how fast I can go after I swim. Maybe an hour and a half… it’s long.  

What is a typical workout? Where do you swim, bike and run? I run outside, the running part is the easiest for me. I am most nervous about the swimming aspect. I swim at Haldeman Pool and it was very hard at first, but I notice it has gotten a lot easier. Of course, it will be very different in a freezing cold lake with other people swimming around me. I am also nervous about biking because so far I’ve always biked at the gym since I don’t own a bike. I will rent a special triathlon bike for the day of the race and they are a little different.
What does the triathlon it mean to you? Are you testing yourself? Is it a challenge?
Part of it is setting a goal and seeing if I can achieve it. It’s also fun and gives working out a bit more meaning. My sister is doing it with me so I’m excited to do it with her too.
What have you learned about yourself during your training?
I learned that I am capable of more than I thought I was. 24 miles sounds like a lot but some days I bike that much and then go for a run. It’s a great feeling.
Do you have a specific goal for the race?
I am not setting out to get a good time. It’s my first triathlon so I really just want to complete it and be happy with my effort. It’s not an Iron Man or anything. Another goal is not to walk during the run. It is the last component so I will probably be very tired, but I want to finish without walking. 
Do you have any advice to other women who are considering a triathlon?
Start training as early as you can! It takes a lot of time and effort but I would encourage everyone who is considering it to do it. I think it’s a great way to stay in shape and be healthy and it’s really fun.
Some facts and statistics about triathlon competitors from
- Evenly split between genders and encompass all age groups
- 54% of triathlon fans are between the ages of 16 & 34
- 75% of triathlon fans are either white-collar workers or blue-collar managers.
- 57% of triathlon households earn more than $43,000 annually
- 47% of triathlon fans are university educated
- 63% of triathlon fans have no dependants and a high disposable income
- The majority own their own home & car
- Most are computer & Internet savvy