Every since I was a little kid, people have been telling me to get into triathlon’s but it was something I never got around to. This summer, at age 32, I signed up for my first Sprint Triathlon and man was it an amazing and tough learning experience.
I have been a swimmer since a young age and excelled in the sport. I went on to swim at Virginia Tech and overall had a successful swimming career. After college I let myself go and focused more on having a good time, eating, and being with friends. I’m sure you can imagine how that went: Gained 50 pounds, lost flexibility, and started to have health and joint problems.
Over the last year, I took matters into my own hands by amping up my workout schedule. I had a personal trainer once a week and tried to get in a min of 2 additional workouts each week. Of course, this didn’t always go as planned, but overall it was getting better. I added Yoga classes and short, but consistent runs.
This past May I decided that I needed a swift kick in the ass to get myself into good shape, keep the pounds coming off, and something to strive towards. I talked to a friend about signing up for a triathlon and he told me that if I did he would sign up too. Then I knew I could do it because I would have someone else pushing me to stay on track. We both signed up for our first sprint triathlon, the Luray Triathlon. I knew I wasn’t quite ready, but if I set the goal there was nothing else I could do but push myself to complete the race.
I pulled together a training plan, more of a guideline, and set off. Training isn’t an easy thing. You try to stick to the workouts, but life, fun, and exhaustion get in the way. I kept telling myself that as long as I was doing something, it was better than nothing. There were days where I set off to complete a 3 mile run and only found myself running a ½ mile and walking around for awhile. Still, it was better than nothing.
The swimming training was by far the easiest for me. As soon as I jumped in the pool again I immediately thought “why have you waiting so long to do this again?” In my first workout back, I was able to complete 2000 yard swim and felt good the whole time. It felt great to be back and I knew swimming wasn’t going to be the problem sport for me.
Biking, that was a different story. I didn’t have a biking buddy so I found myself getting really bored. Also in order to train for the 17 mile bike ride, I needed to go on decent length rides. Sometimes running as long as 2 hours, those rides can get boring as hell when you don’t have someone to chat with. I did a few good rides, felt confident that I could finish the biking portion of the race and focused more on the running.
Running and I don’t get along too well. I’m pretty sure I was meant to be in watersports and watersports only. I know that running is critical to my exercise regimen, but man I despise doing it. I knew that this is where I needed the most work. I started out with short runs mixed with walking and eventually built myself up to being able to run 4 miles without walking. Not too bad for a fish out of water?
Overall I would say I did about 50-60% of the training I had planned to do, but it was still enough to get me built up, confident, and ready for race day. To this day, I have lost about 25 pounds and still going towards my goal weight. It is a long and tough process, but I know I am going about it the right way and I’m starting to feel good about my health again.
I guess my best advice that I’ve learned up until now is don’t push yourself too hard, do everything in moderation, and always have an end goal.