I ran one awful year of track in 7th grade, I swam three years in high school and wasn’t anything special, and I had never put on a pair of bike shorts until my 20s. So why in the world are triathlons my favorite hobby? And why didn’t I think of doing them a lot earlier? After my transplant, I decided that I wanted to do a sprint triathlon, just to prove to myself and the world that I could do it again, that while my hopes of every being an athlete again had been crushed, that I could be an athlete again. I thought I’d do it, and be done with it. My friend Dan told me otherwise – that knowing me, I was going to become addicted. Dan was right. As I crossed the finish line, I wanted to figure out when I could do another one. I’ve never been a “skill” or “strength” sport person (i.e. gymnastics, tennis, wrestling, etc), even though I enjoyed playing pick-up hoops games through high school, and I love playing tennis despite being a likely USTA 2.0-2.5 ranking (some marsupials have risen as high as 3.5). Endurance was really my only skill, and not much of one at that.
It was actually the training that I liked the most – the fact that you have to train at three different sports; forced variety; balanced workouts; race strategy; different techniques within each sport; the transitions. Every triathlon is the same (swim, bike, run) and every triathlon is different (course, length, temperature, elevation). And crossing the finish line after a triathlon is simply a thousand times better than finishing a 10K.
But mostly, somehow the psychological image of the triathlon in my mind is the ultimate picture of health. My health disappeared, and now I have it back. The finish line says to me: You’re ok. You’re healthy. You’re not going to die.
Why do longer triathlons? Is it even possible for me?
I’ve only done Sprint (1 hour 20 minutes) and Olympic distance triathlons (about 2:50), but this year I am stepping it up and trying longer distances. The reason I believe I can do this is Shad Ireland. The first triathlete to complete an Ironman while 1) on dialysis and then later 2) after a transplant. Shad is back on dialysis and doing 2 Ironman races in 2010. Incredible.
Skinny tire mentality
With my new commuter bike, I keep dodging cracks in the road, and avoiding rough patches, despite having a thick tire (or medium thick, it’s hybrid-like). I need to switch brain gears and start hitting the puddles, attacking the dirt, and welcoming the uneven pavement.
I’m tired every day now. I wake up with some amount of muscle soreness, and my energy level is definitely lower. I don’t think I’ve had this feeling for a week straight since in high school swimming. It’s pretty cool just being tired, and then still putting on your running shoes and getting in 3 more miles of running before bedtime. And then waking up, dragging yourself to spin class, only to discover that the instructor you had hoped was teaching has a sub who has no concept of matching music to workout. Ever try to keep up a 5 minute sprint to a Scorpions Rock Ballad? It’s not fun. Today: 30 minutes core, 30 minutes stretching, 45 minutes running.