Every path has a beginning, here is mine.
I have been wondering about where to start this story. Where would captivate you as the reader. The problem was that everything has a backstory, and as interesting I think I am, I know that going on and on about my own life is not interesting to you. What IS interesting is HOW does someone get to the point that they choose to train to compete in the full distance ironman triathlon. What were the warning signs that my loved ones and I should have seen coming, so that we could have prevented this madness? As I go through the story you will realize that the choices get increasingly insane.
The First choice was in 2012, a month before my 30th birthday. It was, “I am going to get more healthy.” So I bought a cheap road bike new for $150. I rode it about as much as anyone whose bike largely collects dust in their garage. It wasn’t a serious relationship. This continued for the rest of that and for 2013.
In 2014, I made a second choice which seemed reasonable at the time. A coworker asked me if I would sign up and do a 5k spartan race and a tough mudder with him. “Sure, I’ll do a obstacle race. I’m trying to get more healthy.” This is another perfectly reasonable choice. People do these races all the time. My coworker and I talked about the need to do a some training for the tough mudder. After all, it is a 17k obstacle course race through the mud. So I made the second choice that put me on the path to triathlon. I thought to myself “I like cycling. I will ride my bike more to train for the tough mudder.” This is where I begin to get a little silly. Why would I think cycling is good training for a 17km obstacle run.?
I found a love for racing in the spartan race, for competition in the tough mudder, and a love for training on the bicycle. I decided to compete in something harder, but more cycling focused. So early in 2015 I signed up for 4 events that were more cycling oriented. So I made my third choice that I was going to sign up for, in order, a 100km road ride, a 147km road ride, a 167km road ride, and the Calgary half ironman triathlon. Yep, let that sink in. I thought because I was riding a bicycle, I should sign up for a triathlon, because after all, there are bicycles in triathlon. After such a terrible decision, you would think that I could follow it up with one that make sense.
My next decision was to train for the triathlon. At it’s core you may think that I was finally going to approach something properly. Definitely, one should train for triathlon, especially after such a large leap of simply completing a tough mudder. I am sorry to disappoint you. Just like before when I thought that cycling was appropriate training for a obstacle mud run, I thought that it was enough for triathlon. My fourth decision was for training I would ride my bike a bunch, no need to swim or run because I was a good swimmer in junior high and anyone can run. I had FINISHED a tough mudder and I though I could COMPETE in half-iron triathlon by simply cycling a little bit more.
That was the structure leading up to the 2015 Calgary half ironman. I finished in a dismal 6:41:16 exhausted, sore, and defeated. Due to a lack of training I nearly quit 2 minutes into the swim, and learned that running is hard, especially after cycling for 90km. As I crossed the finished line beaten up, barely able to stand or to catch my breath. This is where I made my fifth, and likely worse of all, choice. I decided that I had gone through so much suffering that I was going to train for this all the time, that I was going to do this race again, I’m going to train to do the full distance ironman triathlon.
That’s the story of why I train constantly for triathlon. So if you are a parent, don’t let your kids get a road bike and sign up for even a 5k spartan race. Pain, suffering, and many poor decisions will follow.