Defining myself as a triathlete has been a source of difficulty for me. When I set myself to the monumental task of completing a triathlon, my goal was just that, to complete one. There were no assumptions of times, places or level of competitiveness. I thought that merely participating in a triathlon was feat enough. With this in mind, my training was almost always base training. I wasn’t trying to go fast, I just wanted to make sure that I was able to finish a sprint triathlon.
Finding myself proud of my new goal, I became interested in learning more about the sport. This led me to twitter where I began following the training of some awesome athletes; not necessarily professionals, but ordinary people, some of whom had stories similar to mine. And the seed was planted….
Several months ago a twitter friend commented that my swim workouts were pretty fast. I was never a competitive swimmer, so I didn’t know whether I was fast or not. I began looking at other people’s swim times and realized that at the very least, I wasn’t slow.
As Spring began and people in warmer areas of the country began posting race reports, I found myself starting to wonder about what would happen if I wanted to do more than just finish a triathlon. I talked to a few people and put a few feelers out there. I also started comparing some of my times with times from previous triathlon results. It seemed to me that if I tweaked my training, added a little more, that maybe I could do more than just finish a tri.
Then reality set in. I’m a 215 lb guy. Fat triathletes weigh 40 lbs less than I do. I also have a full time job, a wife, a kid and one on the way. As it is, I get up at 4:30 every morning to walk the dog before going to work, I couldn’t get up any earlier and workout. This idea that maybe I could be competitive was just a dream. I’ve had high blood pressure before, high cholesterol and my BMI until recently didn’t say I was overweight, it said I was obese.
But friends continued to post more and more race reports and I continued to dream. I began to change my workouts a bit. I started to alter some of my workouts, adding in tempo runs, hills and speed work in addition to the base training. I ordered my wetsuit and trisuit. Hanging my hat on a dream.
Whether feeling overconfident, or discouraged, the dreaming has been fun, and I don’t regret it a bit. As I write this, my first sprint triathlon is ten days away. I’ve put in some time training for sure. I’ve done my brick workouts, I’ve swam in my wetsuit and practiced taking it off. I’ve talked to people about how aggressively to approach this first ever triathlon and heard mixed things. Some have told me that in your first, you shouldn’t treat it as a race, just get used to it, the transitions, the distance. Others have said, “trust your training, you’ve put the work in… go for it.” To be totally honest, I still don’t know how aggressively I’m going to get at it. After all, this is my first one, but then again, nothing great was ever accomplished without risking something. But those people are dreamers. They’re also the ones who have inspired me throughout this. They have kids, and spouses, and jobs… like me….. but they’re dreamers…… Maybe, I might be one too.