Next month, I will compete for the first time in the Luray Sprint Triathlon, an endurance event that combines swimming, bicycling and running into one über-tough, mega-fun event. I have participated in this event before on relay teams, racing the run and/or swim events, but I have never attempted to complete all three events on my own.

If you're like most normal folks, the question you're probably asking yourself right now is "Why tri?" Why would someone torture themselves by swimming 750 meters, biking 17 miles and then running 3.1 miles, all in the course of one morning? Well I'm here to tell you that if you like to stay fit, the triathlon event is a topnotch workout that will challenge you in ways you've never been challenged before.

Feeling intimidated? I know I was when I first heard about triathlons. I was a decent swimmer and a so-so runner, but I have always had two left pedals on the bike, so I never considered myself a contender for such an event. But after attending a few triathlons to cheer on my husband and our friends, I found myself answering the question "Why tri?" with "Why not?"

I've never been an "athlete," but I can put one foot in front of the other and paddle one stroke at a time. If these other folks — of all ages, sizes and abilities can do this — why can't I?

And so here I am, training away for the Luray Sprint Triathlon. Now, instead of just going for a quick run in the morning, I'm focused on how long, how far, and how fast I'm running. And rather than just splash around in the water while my kids are swimming, or slowly pedaling along while they're riding their bikes, I'm swimming laps and logging my own miles on the bike to get ready.

The best part about participating in the Luray Sprint is the sense of community that surrounds the event. I have no illusions that I'll win any of the events, or even come close, but it won't matter. I'll be swimming, biking and running alongside folks who have come from around the corner and around the world to do the very same thing. Some will be slower than I am; most will be faster. But we'll all cross the finish line with the same tremendous sense of accomplishment. And I am seriously looking forward to that moment.

Wish me luck!

Why tri?
MNN's family blogger plans to swim, bike and run this summer in preparation for her first full triathlon event.