Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why do I tri - Part 1

I recall watching my first Ironman back in the early '80's on Wide World of Sports. I was around 10 and distinctly recall asking my Dad if he'd ever want to do that. His response was something along the lines of "Heck no". It looked grueling, but as NBC does today, Wide World of Sport told a compelling and interesting story.

My first in person experience with triathlons was as a volunteer supporting a triathlon at Sea World in 1990. I don't recall the name, distance or who won, but I recall saying that someday I would do a triathlon.

Flash forward to 2007, 17 years later. I hadn't forgotten about triathlons, but I wasn't making any active progress towards actually doing one. I'd followed the sport on Wide World of Sports and NBC, I knew who the big names were Dave Scott, Scott Tinsley, Mark Allen, but it never really occurred to me that this event was for regular people like me. The biggest deterrent was the run. I really do not like running. Probably has something to do with not being good at it, it hurts and in general, why run when you can walk? Two contributing factors led me back to thinking about triathlons:

  1. I'm not getting any younger, my waistline is expanding and I've got a family that I want to stay healthy for.
  2. We moved to a new house on a cul de sac where everyone is running, cycling and doing triathlons. Healthy lifestyle is a way of life on my street!
I started again to think about triathlons and the impression it left 17 years earlier, that maybe I could do this. I joined our local recreation center in March of 2007. I started attending Boot Camp class 1x per week weighing in at 240 lbs on a 6' frame, not exactly in shape. For two months or so, it took a full week of recovery. Gradually I built up my endurance to attend twice a week, usually sore between classes. I ran my first 5k at the end of April and although I had to walk more than I wanted, I did well enough to keep the dream alive of completing a triathlon.

I looked online and asked friends for recommendations and finally settled on the Greeley Sprint Triathlon, which was scheduled for June 10th. While I was hemming and hawing about signing up, my neighbor encouraged me to just do it and tell all of your friends and family, then you're committed, so I did. Immediately I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into and doubts creept in and out of my mind. The one thing that really helped me was a book called Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now by Jayne Williams. Great book for beginner triathletes, that you don't have to be Dave Scott or Scott Tinsley or in great shape, basically, just do it. Jayne also let me know that I didn't need all new equipment or a road bike or any of the other fancy nice to haves, just the basics. I trained 6 to 8 hours a week, running, cycling, swimming and boot camp cardio classes for the big day.

To be continued...

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