Triathlon: One year in
I just completed my second Georgia Veterans Triathlon (Sprint), thus marks one year of triathlon, discounting training. (see my first race report). With a year under my belt, and a half-Ironman looming on the horizon, I thought it appropo to share some thoughts on the past year.
I sort of slid into triathlon. The winter of 2010 I had a couple of nagging injuries, that just would not improve, given my training schedule (running), that gave me the idea to dust off my old Canondale to supplement my training regimen. Around the same time there were several broadcasts of past Ironman Kona events. I found the back stories of the non-pros extremely compelling. As I talked about their stories, it wasn’t long before a Twitter friend from Augusta challenged me to run in the 2010 Augusta Half Ironman. I bowed out, but the seed was set, and I started searching for and found a sprint distance to train for and race in: The Georgia Veterans Triathlon.
Having specific events to prepare for are what take exercising and transforms it into training. These events can be recreational in nature (races), or they can have real-world implications (back-country emergencies). However, as a warrior training provides important real-world context. Triathlon provided a step up in challenge, and some significantly intimidating psychological hurdles. All of which appeal to me as a warrior.
Suffice it to say, I believe I am now in the best shape of my life. This is mainly due to triathlon training. An interesting aspect of this is that I’m generally only running twice a week, however, my run has continued to get stronger.
Just as in preparing for races, running races helps with critical experience, racing triathlons give invaluable experience in preparing for subsequent, more challenging levels. There are many variables that can come up on any given race day. Additionally, the specific fashion that races are organized create their own variables. It’s interesting the things that become important to control for, particularly when your race times get around and past the three hour mark. Hydration, nutrition, and going to the bathroom become very important.
I recently read a blog post, the high lights the importance of planning and controlling for bathroom breaks.
Humility has been a huge aspect of this past year’s experience. My first triathlon, during the swim, I contemplated quitting. I didn’t quit, but I also was humbled by the experience.
My second triathlon, I fared better in the swim, though it was longer, but the run broke me down, and I had to resort to a run/walk strategy. The consideration became, finish the race or be able to claim I didn’t stop to walk. I opted for the survival-oriented option of