Earlier this week, a friend sent me the link to an article titled, “30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Know at 30.” Originally featured in a 1997 issue of Glamour magazine, the article looked familiar to me. I remember reading it in the privacy of my bedroom at the age of 18, thinking, ”I am going to be an utter failure at life. All I’ve got so far is a black lacy bra…” Now that I’m 33, I’m happy to report that I have accomplished nearly everything on this list. (I still need to figure out who the best tailor in town is, but I don’t much care since my mom has hemmed every pair of pants I’ve ever owned).
With my womanhood taken care of, I started thinking of the other ways I should be accomplished by now. Naturally, my progress as an athlete came to mind.
In many professional sports (including triathlon), the twenties are regarded as the prime years for athletic success. But for most of us, we’ve spent that time finding the right work/life balance that lets us be Ironman, Family Man and Go-To Man all in the same day. Alas, here are the 30 things I believe every triathlete should have and know at the age of 30.
By 30, you should have…
1. A bike that has been with you through at least one race—from your first training day to the finish line.
2. The ability to recite a quote from memory that makes you feel inspired.
3. At least one piece of workout wear from your past, that everybody in your life is grossed out by and believes you should throw away.
4. A go-to playlist that can energize you through any run.
5. Friends that you only see when you’re training.
6. A kit that makes you feel like a superhero whenever you wear it.
7. A preferred lubricant for the various parts of your body pre- and post-workout.
8. Someone that you’re trying to get into triathlon.
9. War stories about your best and worst races.
10. A race that you’ve registered for more than three times.
11. Sneakers that don’t give you blisters.
12. A back-up plan for every workout that is supposed to take place in a pool.
13. At least one horrible picture of yourself, taken by the photographer on the racecourse.
14. The ability to skip a workout without feeling guilty about it.
15. A race goal on the horizon that is yet to be fulfilled.
By 30, you should know…
1. How to walk away from a bad race without letting it ruin your day.
2. How to change a flat tire on your bike (and how to remove the back tire from the bike).
3. How to make a race be about something more than winning.
4. Where you’re getting your first beer after you cross the finish line.
5. How to circle swim.
6. Who Mike Reilly is and why he matters.
7. What T1, Z3 and VO2 stand for.
8. Your position on M-dot tattoos.
9. How to pee in public without making a scene.
10. The difference between Sprint, Olympic, 70.3 and 140.6 races.
11. How long it takes to set up a transition area.
12. How to get a wetsuit on and off without any help.
13. How to hydrate and fuel properly while training and racing.
14. That spinning is actually a cycling term, not a cardio class.
15. That triathlon is the real fountain of youth.