Father of two, devoted husband, Clydesdale, hope to become just an age grouper someday. Former nationally ranked triathlete (sounds better than it really is, but I like the sound of it). Competing in the 50-54 bracket this year. Have done a 1/2 Ironman tri, a marathon and a bunch of sprint and oly distance races. Member of BT since 12-1-03
Coming Full Circle
Having three seasons under my belt I thought I knew what I was doing. That all changed with a few new challenges and a bunch of new friends.
I started training for my first triathlon in the fall of 2003. I had reasons to motivate me, like the failing health of loved ones and my desire to give my children a dad who they could play with and be proud of. I had always wanted to go to Kona and race in the Ironman. Once I started to train, I found Beginner Triathlete, and a whole new world of information and support to help me with my goals. I set some goals to help me find my way to Kona. My first year, I would race a few sprint races. I completed the two I signed up for. In my second season, I was to move up to the Olympic distance races. I completed two Olympic distance races, one sprint and a five-mile road race for good measure. Last season was all about improving on the times and getting faster. I set PR’s on the same courses I had done before. I also pushed my running to new levels by completing my first half and full marathons.
This season I have a new goal: I am stepping up to the half-Ironman distance races. I also did something different that I had not done before. I became a mentor for some brand new triathletes. This has been an amazing experience. I am not sure who has learned more—I from them, or they from me. I have considered myself a somewhat seasoned triathlete, and was in a comfort zone at the end of last season going into my first marathon. Since the end of last season, I have been humbled in my training and had a lot of self doubt. I have had lots of bad training days and some good. I have continued to battle with my weight, and strive to make all my workouts.
What my protégés have taught me is that even though I have some experience in our sport of triathlon, I still have a lot to learn. I have tried to answer all of their questions as best I can, or at least send them in the right direction for the answers. They have noted things like, “It is nice to see that I am not the only one struggling to get in workouts,” and “We are just average people with a common goal to live a healthier lifestyle and have fun doing it.”
With the exception of a few key workouts in the last eight weeks of training leading up to this new experience, I have felt well under-prepared. I have worked hard, but not hit my target goals. What I have struggled with the most is that my goal of getting faster next year in the half-Ironman and the following year of a full Ironman may have to be pushed back a few years. I have noticed that I really cannot train as I would like to for such an undertaking. I have found my children, four and seven, are not yet of an age to allow me to chase my goals the way I would like at this time. I have also found that the precious time I do get with them is a gift that cannot be wasted.
I am proud to continue to train and race into the future. I may not always meet my goals, but that is ok. I will always continue to battle with my weight. I will never find enough time for everything I want. I may never finish on the podium, and that is ok. As my protégés have shown me, we are all in this for ourselves. We support each other when we can, and are picked up by others when we are down. We are a growing community with lots of friendship and competition. We can learn from ourselves and each other, no matter how long we have been racing.
I am not positive I will finish my first attempt at a half-Ironman in June, but I think I should be able to. I would love to break seven hours, but that may not happen. Self doubt is a part of the learning curve, and my group has reminded me that any time you leave your comfort zone, it is ok to be a little bit scared. It was not what I expected this season, but it has been fun nonetheless. So have some fun, let your hair down a little and just enjoy the life that you have created for yourself.
I would like to thank my new friends, the ones who came to me as their mentor, for everything they have helped me remember. As triathletes, we are most likely healthier, stronger, and more able to live and enjoy life than we were before starting our current lifestyle choice. Enjoy your training, and see you at the races.
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