Well I decided after numerous 5, 10 and 16 K runs that I didn't like running. After losing 95 lbs I needed another way to keep it off and suggested to myself that perhaps our local triathlon would be a good place to start. I recruited several coworkers and I challenged them to join me. The training began and in six weeks we swam biked and ran.
The first attempt at swimming was painful, I consider myself a good swimmer and having lived on a lake for most of my adult life I love the water. The first time out and 50 meters in my oxygen was in very short supply, I realized that all that running didn't do much for this sport. So on it went day after day till we could swim twice the distance no problem.
Now to the bike, everyone can bike right? Well yes they can but it's not quite the same when you go hard from start to finish. So again, very painful to start but practice makes perfect, or closer then before anyway. Along the way I ran into a good deal on a triathlon bike and could not resist so an upgrade in my bike made the results better though the pain was not any better. So again after many kilometers on the bike at twice the distance needed, we were ready.
Now for the part I love to hate and as such don't train well for, the run. As I'm not really built for running but more for hockey or football. At 5'6" and 200 lbs, running is not my forte. So to say that I trained well enough for this part would be a lie. I did run the distance several times but never more then required.
So now to race day. One of our team members was not a good swimmer and didn't train much so we all rented wetsuits to make it easier but also to make sure he didn't drown.
We all got to the area early as I had read in many articles and got setup and then watched the first waves go out. As our event was only a Try-a-Tri we were sent out last.
We got the wetsuits on and yes, we actually tried them beforehand to make sure we were comfortable. We again donned the suits and went for a pre race swim. All went well. So everything is setup and the race is ready to go.
This is where the fun begins, having told myself to swim at my pace and stay wide as I had read, I go out like a lightning bolt and right up the middle. The first half of the swim I was in the lead as close as I could tell. At the turn around I remembered why I needed to go at my pace, I was out of gas and looking for an oxygen mask. I did the breast stroke all the way back in and crawled out of the water. The good, and pretty much only news is that I was the first of our group out of the water and heading for the transition...walking as I was out of breath.
The transition actually went well and I was off on my bike. The bike course started straight up a hill for one kilometer before heading into a rolling up and down course. I understand it is a challenging Try-A-Tri course. I passed my friend as I headed up the hill and I was thankful for the new bike as it performed well. The ride went great with only one person passing me and he ended up being the winner. Oxygen deprivation continued to be a challenge all the way back to the T2. As I approached the dismount area coming down the hill previously described, I was motoring, I saw the person telling me to slow down but I forgot about the dismount line and proceeded to slide into the soft shoulder and the rest is a dropped bike and quick dismount. Thank god I didn't opt for the clipless pedals with the new bike and it was just an ugly dismount and not a painful one as I stepped out uninjured.
T2 was easy as all I had to do was hang up the bike and take off my helmet.
Now off to my favorite part of the triathlon - the run. Well as I mentioned earlier I don't like it and I didn't train well for it. So you know what, I like it even less after not training aftwer blowing my swim plan right off the bat.
The run turned into a walk-run-walk and as I had read here, if all else fails you can always walk. This is where my friend (who happens to be a runner) blew by me and was only seen again at the finish line. As I mentioned before, the same hill we had to ride up right off the bat, we also had to run up early in the run and with the lactic acid now burning in my system, this was not a pleasant experience. The good news is that we also got to finish coming down this hill.
All said and done my goal was to be under an hour and I finished in 56:44 so I was happy.
I also won my age group 50-59 as there are not a lot of guys starting this type of activity at this age.
The good news is all of us survived and we are looking forward to our next triathlon in September. We have started training and this time I will train for the run.
As I have read here, been told and know, when you don't stick to your plan and your training, you will pay a price and it hurts. But we will all be back and we are hooked already planning the next one.
It is true that there are great people in this sport and we had tremendous support from anyone we asked and we will of course return the favor.
The best line of the day came from our swimming challenged friend, as he was struggling to finish the final stretch of the swim he got a little panicked and the lifeguard dove into support him, telling him she could not touch him or he would be disqualified, his response was if he drowned he would be disqualified too! She laughed and he finished the swim.