A triathlon is an amazing thing. A test of fitness, endurance, mental strength, satisfaction, etc. etc…. It’s also not just about race day for me. Of course, it’s the races that help motivate you, but acceptance of the lifestyle is what it’s all about! As you read this, please don’t take it too seriously because if you know me, I can be a bit sarcastic at times, and this is just one angle at this particular moment in time……next week, I’ll talk your ear off about how a $10,000 bicycle and the bike portion will make you a Kona Champion…… right…. ;-)
You may ask “I thought a triathlon included a swim, bike, and a run”? Well, of course it does, and to become proficient at all three, there’s only a few minor things you have to do: swim, bike, and run….. and depending on the distance you are training for one has swim, bike, and run A LOT. It’s the combination of these sports that provide a wonderful balance in your training which ultimately limit the potential for injury. I have personally been in the sport for 6-7 years, and am becoming more fit and faster as I get older. I have always had an inclination and ability in whatever sport I played, and enjoy the competition as well as the community or team aspect. And again you may ask “aren’t you pretty much on your own in a triathlon”? The short answer is yes! Come race day, it’s you against several hundred or thousand other folks trying to cross that finish line. In the end, I go back to the acceptance of a lifestyle that makes triathlons a community. There are clubs, masters swim programs, friends, running groups, organized bike rides from your Local Bike Shop, etc. These all provide a wonderful avenue to connect and learn from like-minded individuals who simply “get it.”
World Championships. I also know people who excel at 2 of the disciplines, and even these guys or gals will still smoke the competition for podium finishes. Now, if you are good at one just discipline it will provide a perfect platform for you to get started in Triathlons, and still do very well. This is purely from my personal observations, the ones that know how to swim do have an early leg up on the competition because of the technique required to move gracefully through the water. The downside is that this portion is usually the shortest time frame, and it won’t take long for the field to catch up. A biker will be able to hammer through the bike leg to gain a lot of time on the field due to the length of this discipline. And a runner with a committed focus and practice toward swimming and biking can usually pass people like they are standing still towards the end of a race. And this is why I think “it is all about the run”
I am what you consider a slightly above average age grouper with some success, and a huge sense of accomplishment when it comes to training and racing. I have a team sport background, and never considered myself a swimmer, biker, and definitely not a runner. I picked up a used bike one summer in college because my ankles were toast from all the turns and twists from soccer, football, and basketball. Hence, I considered my bike to be my strongest facet when it came to triathlons. The run….. well, that was just the final suffer fest that one has to endure to get from that bike to the finish line. In recent years, the run has taken precedence, and become a more vital part of my training, and how it relates to triathlons. Anyone out there as a beginner, middle or back of the pack age-grouper has the goal to finish, finish strong, and create that sense of accomplishment that comes from having set goals, worked on making those goals a reality, and kicking some serious behind come race day. When you are finally out of Transition 2, any mishaps on the swim or bike will have been forgotten, and it’s just you, your legs, and lungs. Nailing that final leg, feeling strong, and passing people while others have hit the wall will provide the best feeling in the world. It’s almost as if you are running into the finishing chute in Kona (even though it’s your Local Park or reservoirJ), and you feel like a champion. Unless, one is trying to earn a paycheck during these races, I never understood why people are sometimes so upset when they don’t perform quite to their potential, or things just didn’t go their way that day. Race day is simply another day that’s part of a wonderful healthy lifestyle. And don’t forget to run tall and strong while smiling as you break the tape because you will feel like a million bucks. And you might as well have a good photo to show for all that hard work to share with friends on Facebook.