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2006-08-23 2:18 PM
Subject: You must be crazy!!!
I didn't want to hi-jack the naysayers thread, so I decided to start this new one.
Below, I am posting something I wrote for a blog back in February announcing to the world my decision to do a triathlon (afterall if you tell people, then you can't back out). Anyway, I thought some of you might enjoy it.
And to close out the story, I did compete in my first triathlon at the end of June. I finished it and posted a respectible (for me) time. I have also been "bitten by the bug" and am continuing to train with the goal of doing three sprints next season.
* * * * * * * * * *
That Squirrel … he must be crazy!
My Grandpa told the story of how he once went to the local tire shop to get one of his tractor tires worked on. He had made some unreasonable demand about how the work was to be done and was walking out when he stopped and turned around.
“What did you say, Gus” he yelled back into the shop.
“I didn’t say anything,” Gus replied.
“Yes you did. You said, ‘that Gene Cotton … he must be crazy.’”
Gus defended himself. “I said no such thing.”
“Well, you sure were thinking it,” said my grandpa with a smile.
Luckily, I too have been blessed with my Grandpa’s ability to read minds. And, I know that you will say, “that Squirrel … he must be crazy.”
I am going to do a Triathlon this summer.
That statement alone may cause you to question my sanity. Just a few months ago I would have questioned my sanity. I’ve watched the television coverage of the IronMan World Triathlon Championships. I’ve sat on the couch eating munchies while I watched grown men and women swim, bike and run across some of the most unforgiving terrain I’ve ever seen. You may have watched the Gatorade commercial with the triathlete whose body “shut down” during the IronMan World Triathlon Championships. I’ve questioned the sanity of anyone who would voluntarily submit to that kind of torture.
That was the mental image that immediately entered my head when I was first approached with this offer, which is why I immediately laughed it off. But, I was curious and started doing a little research. As I gained more knowledge, I began to feel this was something that I could actually do. To set the record straight, and to educate our readers, there are actually four levels of triathlon (in order of distance): Sprint, Olympic, Half-IronMan, and IronMan. I will be participating in a sprint triathlon, which is the shortest. It consists of a ¼ mile swim, 20.7 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run. For comparison, an IronMan level triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run.
Now for those of you who really know me, the fact that it is a “short” triathlon is not enough to keep you from call “those neat young men in their clean white coats … (ho ho ha ha he he).” So, I guess I should come clean. Yes, I did quit track after the end of my jr. high season. Let’s face it, I couldn’t run more than 400 meters without needing oxygen. And don’t get me started on Mr. Swiontek’s hill sprints. Suffice it to say, that North Dakota is not as flat as you may have been led to believe. So, I quit track and joined the golf team. Golf was a lot more fun. Playing golf didn’t involve sharp burning pains in my lungs and the loss of feeling in my legs.
So what changed between then and now to make me think that I could possibly do a triathlon. Let me share my rationalization process with you.
Let’s take the events in order. The swim. This concerns me. But, I can swim, I’ve done a little lap swimming in the past and I think with some hard work and training I could swim ¼ mile. The bike. This I’m not too worried about. I’ve done a lot of biking. When I heard it was a 20 mile bike, I knew I could do that. At one point in my past I had done some biking in northern Minnesota with some friends who had a 16 mile route. They once told me that no one had ever done it in less than an hour. I, of course, took that as a personal challenge and on my next time out, I shattered their record and road the course in 52 minutes and 29 seconds. So, I’ll need to do some work to get back my old biking form, but it is definitely doable. The run. A year ago this would have ended any consideration of a triathlon. I’ve never been able to run. But then Ma and Pa Squirrel gave me their old treadmill. Last fall I actually decide to just see how far and fast I could run. So, I picked a slower speed and started off. I actually ran a mile. I was amazed. I didn’t have to call the paramedics. My legs still functioned. I was actually able to move the next morning. So, last fall I ran on and off, but nothing serious. Then, I made a New Year’s resolution to be more consistent in my running in order to get in shape and lose a few pounds. As amazing as it sounds, since the beginning of the year, I have been running twice a week. Prior to my decision, I was running about 2 miles at a pace of 5 mph. If I could do that, I could do 3 miles.
So, I could rationalize doing all three events. I’m not naive though. It will take some serious training (physical, mental and nutritional). But, I will be better off for having done it. I just completed my first week of pre-base training (I’m just running … it is too cold to do anything else). I’m doing 2.5 miles at 5.5 mph. I’m feeling great. I’ve lost weight. I’m eating better (i.e., more healthy) than I ever have. I’m actually reading nutritional labels looking for carb, fat and protein levels. Ma Squirrel will be happy to hear that I’m also drinking more water (hydration is very important in triathlon).
Now, come 8:00 a.m. on that July morning as I’m standing on a beach about ready to jump into a cold lake and begin a 24 mile jaunt, you will probably hear me mutter to myself, “ that Squirrel … he must be crazy.”
2006-08-23 2:33 PM
in reply to: #519814
Subject: RE: You must be crazy!!!
Cute story -- Keep up the habit!
2006-08-23 2:41 PM
in reply to: #519814
Subject: RE: You must be crazy!!!
Excellent write up. Congrats on your first tri and keep on going at it!