THE PLATEAU AND THE VALLEY BELOW: Make a change for your health and get involved in the Chamber’s triathlon

Thirty-seven days. That’s how many days until the third annual Labor of Love Triathlon.

Even though I have been involved in organizing the race since our first event in 2009, this year’s will be a special one. You see, it was at this event last year that I made a decision that would change my life for the better.

I distinctly remember standing at the docks at Allan Yorke Park, at 0-dark-thirty in the morning watching hundreds of crazy people jump into the cold water and swim what seemed to me, like an impossible distance, bike another seemingly impossible distance and then run a very difficult route that included killer hills.

That sounded more like torture to me than fun, so why was it that this ridiculous race drew so many people?

As I stood there watching racers cross the finish line, I noticed one thing. Everyone was happy. Now I don’t know if they were happy just because it was over, meaning their torture was over, or if they were happy because they just accomplished something really significant that they couldn’t help but feel good about. I choose to believe the latter.

After the race, I had the opportunity to talk to many of the athletes. People told me this was the culmination of many months of training and preparation (except for Dan Roach who finished the race with absolutely no training) and for that reason it was an accomplishment that they will always have, which is definitely something to feel good about.

Even though I was overweight and completely out of shape, I felt a spark of desire. I had an inkling of what it would take to get me from my current out-of-shape state, to the finish line of the 2011 Labor of Love Triathlon, but was ready to take it on anyway.

Randy Morris with NCS Personal Training was the announcer for our event last year. Randy is also a Chamber member, Certified Personal Trainer and three-time Ironman Triathlon Finisher, so I knew that Randy would be a good one to ask about whether or not he thought I could possibly do next year’s race.

He told me that I absolutely could do it, but it would take a lot of hard work, commitment and discipline. That was the beginning of the end, so-to-speak.  Randy has been there with me every step of the way, helping me to lose weight, and prepare for each discipline.

Randy is also leading a weekly teach and train session that meets every Wednesday, 6:30 pm at various locations. Join us! Call the Chamber office for details 253-222-5945.

I wouldn’t recommend a person to go from couch-to-tri in five weeks, but just know that there are several options for most levels of fitness. Here’s the breakdown:

Olympic Distance: .9 mile swim, 22.2 mile bike and 6.2 mile run

Sprint Distance: .32 mile swim, 12.2 mile bike and 4.1 mile run

If you have trained and prepared, pick a distance and do all three disciplines. If you would like to participate but aren’t ready to do all three disciplines, go for the one or two person relay options.

Registration fees start at $60, and vary depending on which race option you choose. Registration is limited to 500 participants. Online registration is available at

Even if you decide not to participate, I invite you to come and watch the event. . .it really is quite fun. The race will be held at 8 a.m. Sept. 3 at Allan Yorke Park.

Lora Butterfield is the Executive Director of the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at (253) 222-5945 or The Chamber office is located at 20608 Hwy 410 E (Inside Harborstone Credit Union) and the Chamber’s website is