On the weekend around July 4th I was sitting at my son’s baseball tournament in Des Moines, Ia keeping the book. As his Cyclones 12U Red were playing in the Global World Series of youth baseball I saw these crazy people in tight clothing hop on bikes and take off like they were fleeing a crime scene. Roughly an hour later they came back just as fast and took off running! I mean they were running like they were being chased by Halloween clowns, not like they were grudgingly on the third leg of a triathlon and gasping for air just trying to finish. I was amazed at these athletes endurance. I knew there was a triathlon going on but I’d never seen one up close. I looked at the guy keeping book next to me and said, “I want to do that!”
You need to understand, for me to express desire or interest in a triathlon the stars needed to be aligned perfectly. I’ve spent my entire fitness life trying to gain weight and get strong. I’ve always been the skinny guy dreaming of picking up heavy things. Over the last few years injuries have forced me to look at fitness from a more complete picture, incorporating things like cardio, stretching, and better nutrition. I’ve always been deathly afraid of losing weight for fear I’d lose an ounce of my hard gained muscle. But there I sat, amazed at these triathletes wanting nothing more than to experience the same pain and suffering they were going through.
After we got home from the tournament I couldn’t shake the triathlon thing. It kept consuming my thoughts. I started running and biking more. I told some clients what I had seen and began researching triathlon training. This whole thing is something I knew nothing about, and still really don’t know anything about it. I began tracking my running and bike riding. I really had no idea how to structure my training. This was a whole new animal. I can do strength programming in my sleep, but endurance stuff… Not a clue! A month later I got a swimming only membership at a nearby fitness facility. The first time I got in the pool I was totally freaked out the minute I knew I couldn’t touch. I barely made it across the pool before grabbing the wall and gasping for air. I had no clue swimming was so hard! I was getting lapped by elderly people!
Despite barely fending off drowning, running myself into a healthy case of shin splints, and riding a mountain bike like its a road bike, I’m determined to figure this thing out! Don’t the experts tell you if your goals aren’t scary they’re not big enough? Besides, aren’t we supposed to get out of our comfort zone to challenge ourselves and grow as people? If that’s the case, I’m all in. Honestly, I worry about losing my hard earned strength. Will my spine be able to take the pounding from running? Will I ever improve at swimming enough to swim a mile without reaching for the wall and coughing? What if I sign up but can’t complete one? Or what if I really enjoy a triathlon? This is going to be a fun journey for sure, but I’m all in!