Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tri-ing... again

It has been four years since I completed my first triathlon.

In June of 2011 I swam 1.5km, biked 40km and ran another 10km on the coast of Japan as one of my last big hurrahs before leaving in August of the same year. I loved it. I loved the training, enjoyed the race, and only briefly, right at the finish line, for about 30 seconds, did I think, "never again."

Don't believe me? I have pictures!


Wetsuits don't look good on anyone, but that's ok.

Finished the swim, still alive and in time to continue the race. VICTORY! 

Biking seems easy when you take time to appreciate being able to breathe whenever you like.

In Japan they like to make you feel good by holding up a finish line ribbon for everyone who crosses. It's a nice touch. 

It was difficult, but in all the ways that I like things to be difficult. It was a challenge, it pushed my limits, and it forced me to be disciplined in my training for months in advance. It made me want to do more triathlons. LONGER ones!

I was about to move back the US and instantly start a new job, so I didn't think I'd do any more that season, but boy did I have plans for the following summer... I'd do a half marathon in between now and then to get my running up and then I'd train enough to do a Half-Ironman at the end of the season. The next year, I'd try for a full Ironman!

But the best laid plans...

I got as far as running a half marathon. I trained hard through the winter and then ran 13.1 miles in a respectable time. (I'm always slow, but I was surprised to find myself at the front of the middle of the pack for my age group and for the entire race.) I was really happy with my time, and stoked on how well my training was going. Then, one week after the half marathon, I tore my ACL (and damaged my meniscus) while rock climbing.

That put a damper on... well everything for a while. Between the wait for surgery and the recovery afterwards, I was on crutches for 12 weeks. I didn't have to relearn how to walk in the sense that patients with a brain injury do, but I did have to retrain my body to be able to do it without hurting myself. Of course, running was a long ways off... I tore my ACL in mid February. In mid-August I was allowed to run for the first time. Only short distances. Only on grass. It built up from there.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly lucky that we live in a time when my knee could be fixed, and that I live in a country where that surgery is common, and that I had sufficient health care to pay for it... The list of my good fortune in that regard is endless, and I also learned so much from the whole experience, about myself and life in general, that at this point I can't even say with all honesty that I wish it hadn't happened.

But it sure threw a wrench in my big schemes for triathlons.

I slowly recovered and started doing more and more running. But I had lost a lot of ground and then allowed myself too many excuses when it came to triathlon training: swimming was expensive, biking required either mountain biking or risking your life with tourists who aren't looking at the road (honestly I should have just started mountain biking but oh well)... I had lots of excuses and they sounded pretty good at the time, so I allowed myself to be derailed. I kept running, and swam and biked occasionally, but I never really trained again.

When we moved to Manitoba I promised myself that one of the things I would take advantage of with my flexible schedule was training for triathlons again. Well I haven't done that yet. My latest excuse? Triathlons are expensive and I can't afford them, PLUS I don't have a road bike.

Well, the second part of that statement is no longer true. I now have a super sweet road bike thanks to an awesome friend. So it comes down to $$$.

I've decided I won't accept that excuse. It's true that triathlons are expensive (even the cheapest come to about $150 for registration, not to mention costs for all of your gear). But I've decided I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm going to do my own personal triathlon.

I'm setting the date as November 2nd.

If the weather is crappy (and it's quite possible here in Winnipeg) I'll do an indoor "race." The swim portion will have to be inside at one of the public pools anyway, so if it's pouring rain, or snowing, I'll do the bike and run on stationary equipment (miserable, but hey, it keeps me from having to reschedule).

If the weather is good, I will swim indoors, then bike around town (there are enough trails that I can minimize road exposure) and then run on trails almost without touching pavement. I've planned a route and I've started a training program.

I am going to make this happen. No more excuses.

I need to keep my body moving and triathlon training is a great way to do it. So there we go. I have now announced it to the world. No backing out! And hopefully, my dedication to this one feat of exercise will help me maintain focus on all of my other projects. We shall see!


  1. If I didn't already feel like the Ultimate Slacker, I would feel like one now! OMG and even Oh My God. My admiration for you just went through the roof. (And said hi to the roofers who are up there seeing if they can fix the hundred-year-old flashing. . .but that is another story.)

    1. Oh dear! I hope the roof is alright? Not leaking terribly is it?

      And how can you call yourself a slacker with all that you do? Lies and propaganda! I won't hear it.

  2. Wow!!!! I know you can and will do it. It's a piece of cake compared to publishing a novel. Go, Lee, Go!!