Train Together, Race Alone-by Guest Blogger, Abra Pulley

Train Together, Race Alone-by Abra Pulley

I have a training team.

We run together, bike together, and swim together.  We encourage each other, help each other, and push each other…but only in training.

We race alone.

I used to do only races I could do with my husband or friends.  I loved talking and crossing the finish line with the people I trained with.

Triathlons are a whole different thing.

Women start separately from men.  Different age groups often start at different times.  That makes the chances of me even starting with anyone very slim.  The first leg of the race is swimming.  You really can’t race and swim with someone.  That sets you up to do the bike and run alone.  This leads to triathlons feeling a bit lonely…

Sometimes it made me wonder why I really have a training team…

Then I had a really bad race this spring.

I did so much worse than I expected…I reached the finish line and cried.

My friends let me cry.  Then, they hugged me…and made me feel better about the whole thing…  Then they started talking about our next race and the training we would do.

And I realized I have a training team not to run with me in the race, but to get me to the next race!

Thanks to all of you.

Matty J, me, Braxton, and Abra after Copper Creek Triathlon

Braxton, me, Matty J, and Abra. My training partners supported me (Cassie) in my first 5K in 2011.




  1. Excellent post Abra. Unfortunately I have to settle for support training via text messages and phone calls with Cassie which still helps even though the questions I ask might sound ridiculous. (Cassie how many dolphin dives do I take at start of tri swim?). She never did answer. Since I just swim it is hard to find people who want to come swim laps with me, so my early morning
    lane mates don’t know it but they are helping me train. So Abra hopefully my solo training will pay off come September.

    1. Hi Mom,
      Not entirely sure your question, but I just run until it is too deep then kind of dolphin dive (shallow!) to start swimming. Just one is all it takes because then you’ll be swimming like a champ! Have you looked into Master’s swimming in the Quad Cities? There isn’t a good program (time/locationwise) for me here. boo.

  2. That answers my question. I wasn’t sure if I was to pretend I was Flipper and dive out into the sunrise. As for Masters I think there is something at Downtown Y, but not sure how many are involved.

  3. Abra, I have to say it is nice to have training partners who understand training while owning a business and that unexpected schedule issues can come up. Abra and her husband (and my mom!) are awesome at keeping me motivated as we can text our workout successes and failures to each other, even if we can’t workout at the same time.

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