Every morning when I open up facebook I eagerly look to discover what tidbits from my past facebook will pull up. If you are unfamiliar with it, facebook offers a feature that will sift through your posts from years past and show you what you were posting about on that day two, three or more years into the past. For me the past three years, since the beginning of 2012, has been a remarkable adventure from 360 pound couch potato who never even attempted any sort of healthy pursuits to a triathlete and finally completing the transformation as an ultra runner ( a runner who runs distances greater than a marathon in races, usually starting with the 50k distance). Today’s pile of facebook memories pulled up two great moments in my brief three-year athletic pursuit. Each memory, one from 2013 and 2014, were special achievements for totally different reasons.
Allatoona Triathlon – My Second Triathlon-2013 (Race Recap Here)
In 2012 I began my athletic journey with the couch to 5k program. Within the second week I discovered my balance and my IT band were so terrible I had caused myself knee issues that forced me to run in the pool. While I had no clue how to ride a road bike, I had just begun running and I had no idea how to swim for distance as well as a ton of excess weight (I was well over 340 when I started) but I decided I would run my first 5k and that I needed a bigger goal for the following year. While water running I decided I would complete not one triathlon, but at least three in 2013. By the end of 2012 I had completed a few 5k distance races and had focused on the three triathlon disciplines: swim, bike and run. Sprint triathlons usually contain a 500-800 meter swim followed by a 12-18 mile bike ride and finish with a 5k run, all completed without stopping until the triathlete finishes the run by crossing the finish line. I had become proficient in each, albeit slow. In Early July I finished my first sprint distance triathlon, The Early Bird Triathlon and I began to focus on the next, The Allatoona Triathlon which had a super long 18 mile hilly bike ride and a series of roller coaster of hills on the run. I knew this race would be a challenge, but the best part of all was that I got to run it with my brother. After this race I went on to complete another sprint distance triathlon and for fun I attempted an Olympic distance triathlon ( .9 mile swim, 24-26 mile bike and a 10k run) in Jacksonville. unfortunately I had a series of flat tires and the completion of the Olympic distance triathlon would have to wait for the following year.
Blalock Lakes Olympic Triathlon-2014(Race Recap Here)
In 2014 I decided I really wanted to test myself so I decided I would move myself up to racing in Olympic distance triathlons(.9 miles swimming, 24-26 miles bike and a 10k or 6 mile run). The first one I signed up for was a Tri the Parks race the Blalock Lakes Olympic Triathlon. This race course had some major steep climbs on the bike and a hilly run course. I knew these would be a challenge but I felt my preparation was sufficient. I had gotten weight down below 290 pounds and I had trained hard for all three disciplines. On race morning I was prepared to finally complete the distance that eluded me the previous year. Unbeknownst to me, my bike would throw another wrench into my day. Somewhere around mile 12 or so I began to realize that I was working way to hard to get up the hills my downhill speed was not where it should have been. At one point I got off my bike and found every rotation the tire was rubbing the brake ( turns out a spoke was out of alignment). I did not process all the ways I could have resolved this issue, instead I put my head down and rode hard, fighting the tire for twelve miles. By the time I made my way into transition I was dead last but determined to finish the race. I got off the bike and almost fell over from working my legs so hard. I fought the desire my quads and leg muscles had to cramp for six miles on the run and after the longest race of my life I finally crossed the finish line. The race directory had kept the photographer and gathered the race crew together to cheer me on as I finished the hardest race of my life.
I went on from this race to finish one more Olympic Triathlon in Jacksonville Florida before I found my love for distance trail running, namely running trail races that exceed the marathon distance. These two races bring back fond memories for me and truly exemplify my passion and drive I have fostered towards achieving my fitness goals over the last three years. Til next time.