The Story Behind the Madness

(This was written before the event to share with the people at the campout to give a little history about me and the triathlon)

At the community campout, five years ago, I had my tent set up near the river.  Early Sunday morning I was awakened by a man on a PA system across the river making announcements, introducing people and shooting off a starting gun.  After the starting gun I could hear the splashing in the river.  “What is this, a boat race,” I thought to myself.  The announcing, introducing and starting was repeated over and over for about an hour before I got up to see what was going on.  It was a triathlon.

When I was in high school, I was into endurance sports like running and cycling.  Everyone thought that I would get into triathlons as I got older, but instead I went away to college and stopped my endurance athletics.

Here it was, 15 years later.  I was overweight by about 40 pounds, sitting across the river from a sport that I never got myself involved in.  I was feeling disgusted with myself.  “I should be on the other side of the river,” I thought.

It wasn’t for another year that I started to do something about it.  “What happened,” I contemplated.  “Why did I stop with the sports?”  The conclusion that I came to was that when I went away to college I moved away from the friends that I used to bike and run with.  I lost my support.  I lost my motivation.  Upon making that realization I did not waste any time, went straight to the Internet and looked up “Triathlon Club san Francisco.”  I found the Golden Gate Triathlon Club and began my journey towards health.

This is my 4th season doing triathlons.  The first season I mainly did sprint triathlons.  These are about ¼ mile swims, 10 to 18 mile bike rides and 3 or 4 mile runs.  It took me awhile to work up to that.  I could barely run a mile at first and could not swim at all.  At the end of the first season I set my goal to do an Olympic distance.  This is a .93 mile swim, 24 mile bike and 6.1 mile run.  Completing it was a huge accomplishment.  While I was training for it I noticed a group from my triathlon club training together with a coach.  I felt a little envious and learned more about the special program, Tri and Give, to help first timers train for an Olympic distance triathlon.  OK, I wasn’t a first timer, but I joined up for the next season.

The Tri and Give program was a great experience bonding with others working towards the same goal.  I wound up doing 4 Olympic triathlons that year.  The next year (last year) I over did it.  I signed up for too many events and could not really train for any one of them.  I wound up hurting myself and ending my season early.

I decided this year that I would do no triathlons.  I had to focus on my business and did not have the time and energy to train.  This plan came to a halt when the triathlon club announced a training program for a ½ ironman triathlon, specifically, the ½ Vineman.  A ½ ironman is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.  The ½ Vineman is the very same triathlon that inspired me across the river for the family campout.  That fact combined with the fact that I would turn 40 5 days later and that the EBNoM community campout would be on the same weekend, in spite the efforts to not schedule the campout on the same weekend since that year, compelled me to sign up.  I’ve been training for 3 months.

I’m not too worried about the swim or the bike.  It’s the run that worries me.  In my teenage years I ran a ½ marathon (13.1 miles) and did not finish.  I’m not nearly the runner that I was then.  During our training I ran 10 miles and that was quite a challenge.  This weekend I’m going to run … or attempt to run 13.1 miles, farther than I have ever run in my life, and I’m going to attempt it after completing the swim and the bike.  Am I insane?  We shall see.

Leave a Reply