I'm back after a long break off. So what have I been doing? I've managed to continue to run a couple of times a week, I've discovered mountain biking and that's been a blast!!! I love it. My kids are my world and they have kept me busy to say the least and probably the reason I don't train as ofter as I like.
Part I: A Braveheart’s Journey – The Training
The journey of an average Joe entering the triathlon world. I was 35 pounds overweight and out of shape. Enough was enough, and it was time for me to take back my health and my body.
The Decision to Train:
One of my favorite movies of all time is Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. The movie follows the legendary Scottish character, William Wallace, who convinces his fellow Scotsmen to stand up against the English king and fight for Scotland. One of the challenges Wallace had was convincing common men to take up the task of battle and possibly lose their life for the sake of freedom. In the movie Wallace says, “Every man dies, not every man really lives.”
I never considered doing a triathlon because I felt this sport was not for the common average person like me. In fact, I probably wasn’t average by today’s standard. I was 35 pounds overweight and out of shape, and the word “swimming” meant going to a hotel pool on vacation playing with the kids.
I’m not sure why I decided to train for a triathlon; in fact, I’m not sure how I stumbled on BT. All I knew was that enough was enough, and it was time for me to take back my health and my body. I have five kids, and the thought of them growing up with an overweight out-of-shape daddy scared me. I made one goal in 2007, and that was to become a fit dad and husband my family could be proud of. Like Wallace said, I was ready to start living!
I guess you can say I was inspired by the character of William Wallace to stand up to the fear of failure and take on the battle against my weight. What I didn’t know was that the journey to my first triathlon was going to be more physically and mentally challenging than I thought it would be.
My Journey started in January of 2007, and I got the courage to swim early mornings at the local indoor pool. How humiliating that was for me! At one point, I about just threw in the towel. I remember asking God to give me the strength to persevere through the frustration. The people here on BT were my inspiration and were awesome. People I never even met left me notes to hang in there, to keep on keeping on. Slowly but surely, my distance and endurance got stronger and longer. Eventually I had small gills growing on my body...Ok not really.
As for running, I started off way too fast. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched Braveheart before I got on the treadmill.
Rule no. 1: Never get on a treadmill for the first time and bust a 6.2 pace until your body starts dripping sweat profusely. That’s what I did, and I pushed and pushed and pushed to the point I fractured my leg. Bummer! I couldn’t run for eight weeks, and that pushed my first tri out from April to June.
All I could do was swim and bike during the winter. That’s what I did for eight weeks. The other thing I did was eat healthier. I changed my entire diet to be more nutritious. I ate fruits, veggies, wheat bread, turkey, carrots, spinach, fish, and poultry. Funny thing is, I liked it, and I looked pretty cool at work taking my healthy lunch. People at work suddenly noticed differences in my eating and I started to get the “Did you lose some weight?” My favorite was, “Oh, are you on Atkins or Weight Watchers?”
All was going good until I noticed that my training was starting to interfere with my wife and kids. Uh oh!
Rule No. 2: Balance family and training. Ok, so now I know why I will never get to do an Ironman. This training is cool, but it takes so much time and money…uh oh!
Rule No. 3: Be prepared for the financial investment in this sport. It can add up quickly when you think about it… New shoes, goggles, jammers, bike equipment, entry fees, etc. Now I know why my wife was beginning to not like this sport.
Finally, I was given clearance from my doctor to start running again. I was so excited to hear those words. I started really slow and I didn’t care about my times or distance at first. I was just humbled that I could run again, and I wasn’t about to mess it up and re-injure my leg.
I started with a walk/jog combination first. Then, every third session I would have a long run session but at a very slow pace. I just built a foundation and grew it from there. It was that easy.
Ready To Tri:
My first part of this journey paid big dividends in my eyes. I lost 25 pounds and four inches off my waist, and, more importantly I felt great about my life. I really did! I felt ready to enter my first triathlon.
One of the things I learned about the first part of this journey was that it takes a BRAVEHEART to take on this sport, but it is well worth it.
William Wallace says, “Every man dies, not every man really lives,” and when I think about this lifestyle change I’ve made through this sport, I feel like I’m now starting to really live.
Next Report: My First Tri
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