September 3, 2019

My long road to triathlon

I have wanted to (run?) a triathlon for a very long time, at least as far back as 2006. I actually did do a sprint triathlon that year, but had not done one since.

I really enjoyed that first experience, even though I messed up on the swim and had a flat tire on the bike. Sometimes when we fail the first time, it inspires us to try, try again. That was certainly the experience with my first bike event (which I did not finish) and with my first marathon attempt (which I also did not finish). Yet for some reason the triathlon dream/plan lay mostly dormant.

I did plan on attempting another tri in 2009. By that point I had been biking and running for a few years, so I started going to the pool to train since this would be my weakest link. But 2009 would be the year of unraveling, so it did not happen.

No real excuse for the intervening ten years, though.

Still, the dream was there in the background. I have the 2006 and 2007 Ironman Championships on DVD and I regularly watch them whenever I needed inspiration for an upcoming event. Over the years I have run nineteen marathons, twelve half marathons and ridden in several biking events that surpassed one or two hundred miles, but for some reason the triathlon remained a back of my mind/someday sort of thing.

A couple of things finally pushed it from "someday" to the desire to make it finally happen.

The first was when I went down to St George Utah to run the marathon with Sean, Marci, Jonathan and BG in October of 2016. That event and long weekend was a wonderful reunion of great, long-running friends. Sean had found this great place to rent when he had run the event a few years earlier, so as a part of the weekend we all got to hang out on the patio for several nights to catch up on all things great and small since we now lived a couple of states away from each other.

Some months previously Sean shared that he and BG had participated in their first sprint triathlon. They both had a great time and could see themselves doing it again. There on the patio in St. George, Sean let me know that they had both signed up for the Oceanside Half-Ironman Triathlon the following April. I was both rather blown away that Sean was taking on this distance, and bummed when I logged on to find that it was sold out.

We chatted excitedly about the Half-Ironman on their horizon. I can't even remember if this was before or after we ran the marathon that weekend, but the enthusiasm for this future endeavor almost grabbed attention away from the present challenge/accomplishment. I've had this goal percolating in the background for at least a decade, and here I had someone I had run many (many) miles with set to take on the challenge. It made it more real, somehow more realistic. If Sean could do it, maybe Sean could do it.

The second thing that finally pushed "someday" to "this year" was when I was dating Angie. She had done several Half-Ironman and full Ironman events. When we were still in the excited, planning stage of things, she let me know that she was going to do the Half-Ironman in Coeur d'Alene in June of this year. I had tax season and the marathon in Big Sur in April, but I believed I could half-ass my way into training to at least complete the thing. That was the final spark I needed.

Although Angie, and by extension Coeur d'Alene, did not work out, the seed long planted was set to bloom. 2019 would be the year. After the marathon in April, I had no other major running/biking events on the calendar. It wasn't really now or never, but damn it, just shut up and make it happen.

More to follow..

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