In 2014 I completed my first triathlon and achieved something that I really thought I'd never do. My earliest triathlon memory was sometime way back in the 90s when I was in ridiculously good shape. I'm pretty sure I had stopped swimming and was really getting into wrestling at the time, and I just remember my Mom saying to me "You should really do a triathlon." I remember saying something profound, like "Ok." I had never ridden a bike for exercise before, and I pretty much only ran to stay in shape or cut weight, so basically no interest in 2 out of three sports, which is not the ideal state of mind. I still remember my first training session: I went out and rode a bike (a road bike I won in 1984 that I still actually have) 10 miles and then went for a run. I'll never forget that feeling in my legs. I told my Mom, "nevermind," and that was the last time I thought about triathlon until I signed up for one around 3am on a random night shift in December of 2014. I really have to credit my cousin Pat, who does a couple of races each year, and he brought it up the weekend before at a family gathering. He bet me that I wouldn't do one, and something in me clicked.
Now, at this point in my life, I was fat. I mean really fat...here's a picture. In 2011 I was a college wrestling coach, in great shape, and weighed about 205lbs. In 2014, I weighed about 260 and was in terrible, horrible, no good, very bad shape thanks to a catastrophic ankle injury (adults should not play pick-up basketball by the way!). My co-workers finally got me to try CrossFit, I started to drop some pounds, completely changed my diet, and dropped 30lbs (eventually 55). Now that I was trending in the right direction, I was afraid to fall back into bad habits, which was right about the time my cousin made me the bet. If I actually registered and paid for a race that I had no training in, and it was also 4 months away, I figured that would keep me on the right path. 4 months later, I completed my first triathlon.
I specifically remembered thinking to myself about a mile-and-a-half into the run that this was by far one of the worst things that I had ever decided to do. This race had its share of adversity and hilarious (not to me) first-timer things (that you can read about in the Race Report), but a funny thing happened to me after finishing—I wanted to do it again. There were things I didn’t do right, things I knew I could do better, plus I got out-sprinted in the last half mile by a much larger man, so I could not let that stand!
It only took me 20 years, but I finally got it done! This is only the beginning and I hope you can follow along on Rule The Lake as I share my stories with you, because believe me, I have some whoppers! I have a group of actual swimming experts that will be contributing to this blog as we progress, and I will be hitting the open water frequently when my hip heals. I'll also be writing some reviews on the triathlon gear that I use as well as whatever else I feel like putting on here!
Share your road to triathlon in the comments!