If you read my last post, you know that instead of ending my season after my last race which was the Quakerman Olympic (which happened to be my first Oly), I was planning on doing the Oxford Olympic Tri on Oct 9. Well when I went to register the other day, there was no registration link. I emailed the RD and my email was bounced back. I looked at the site for the timing company and there was no such race on their schedule. I then looked on the facebook page and there were other people who were similarly confused by what was going on. Aside from not know how to register, if it is possible, I got an uneasy feeling about sending these folks my money and hoping that they show up on race day so I made the decision to remove the Oxford Oly from my schedule.
Initially I planned on finding another Olympic to race, but as it is getting late in the season, there aren’t too many to be found North of the Mason-Dixon line this time of year. So my triathlon season has come to an unexpected end. I now find myself feeling reflective and I want to use this post to evaluate my season and the progress I’ve made.
All of this started last November when I decided I was going to make myself a runner. It wasn’t long before I realized that at 260 lbs, my knees were not going to cooperate. It was then that I made the decision to “train like a triathlete.” Initially I had no intention of actually becoming a triathlete, I just wanted the benefits that cross training would bring, mostly in terms of less impact to my knees. Before long, I had lost a lot of weight (I’m currently about 212 lbs) and decided that I would compete in a sprint tri in the Spring. I didn’t really have a plan, I just went to the gym every day and swam, biked or ran for an hour; normally as fast as I could. While I know that this type of training tends to leave one worn and injured, I was lucky and think that I actually developed a nice aerobic base because of it.
My first triathlon was the Cheap Fast and (not so) Easy in Island Heights NJ. I had an awesome race minus the surprise anxiety in the water. I ended up finishing 3rd in the Clydesdale group which I was quite proud of. Due to the anxiety during the swim, I decided to face my fears and I signed up for a .6 mi open water swim the next weekend. As it turns out, I still had some anxiety, but finished 17th overall.
A few weeks later was my A race for the season. I raced in the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon (sprint). Back when I started I remember thinking that my goal was to finish out of the bottom 20% and as it turns out I finished in the top 20%. The Philly Tri was by far my biggest to date with over 1000 competitors, many of whom were doing their first race, so while I did well, I knew that much of the competition was rather pedestrian.
As the summer progressed, I did one more sprint, it was a goofy double tri: swim, bike, run then swim, bike, run again. It was a lot of fun and I figured that it would really help me practice my transitions since there were five of them in this race. When all was said and done, I actually won the Clydesdale division in this race and it was then that I vowed not register as a fat boy anymore. Having mastered that division I know considered myself an age-grouper.
I also did two 1 mile ocean swims this summer and I placed 3rd in my age group in each of them. They were a lot of fun and I’m going to do more of them in the future. Lastly, I finished up my season with the Quakerman Olympic a few weeks ago. This race, while not a standard Olympic distance was a resounding success. I really loved the longer distance and felt great throughout the whole race.
Now as I look back on the last 10 months or so I have a lot running around in my head. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come. I have a passion for this sport. I love the training, the nutrition, the racing. I love the people I’ve met. They/You’ve all been so helpful, so willing to drag me along and encourage me. I can’t think of too many negative experiences that I’ve had regarding my new passion. Yeah I’ve taken a few falls off my bike, but I wear those scrapes with pride. At the end of the day or in this case at the end of the season, this has been one of the best, healthiest choices I’ve ever made. I’m disappointed that there aren’t more athletes in my area; I totally envy those of you who have regular training partners, but hopefully I’ll persuade a few friends to find out what it means to live (efforts thus far have been resoundingly unsuccessful.)
I’ve made the commitment to compete in my first Iron distance race next September and am really looking forward to the journey. I’m nervous about finding the time to put all the training in with two young kids and a job etc, but I know that it can be done. I’m also nervous about the race itself, especially after reading some recent race reports. Anyway, I hope you all tag along for the ride next season and continue to support me they way you have— it’s been awesome!
Thanks for reading,