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Here are some situations that made me think twice:
1. The first time I tried open water swimming, swallowing mouthfuls of nasty lake water, and floundering around in the breakers while fearing for my life. I really wasn’t in any danger because I was swimming alongside a long float buoy pipe, but I felt like a complete idiot.
2. The day our kitchen began looking like a medical clinic. No lie; here’s what I currently have sitting on our kitchen counter: IB-Relief, Organic Tendon Rescue, Traumeel Homeopathic Ointment, Arnica Ointment, Flexall; and IcyHot. The freezer is filled with Styrofoam cups with ice for icing down my shoulder, foot, groin, hamstring, and the rest of my anatomy!
3. The cost of training and competing. Wow, you can save a lot of money eating at McDonalds compared to organic foods such as Rebound Cereal and all the organic alternatives to regular food items. The cost of equipment accessories and the registration fees for bike, run, and triathlon events add up.
4. The learning curve as a beginner. I remember when I first began my training that I practically was killing myself trying to keep up with more experienced cyclists when biking in group rides. It was also a little demoralizing while swimming in the YMCA pool when other swimmers would lap me. Just face it: it’s not easy being green.
I said all that to say this…
Get Fit & Healthy!
The second reason why you will be glad you did a triathlon is because you will be a much healthier and fit person.
Having a swimmer’s upper body, a biker’s legs, and a runner’s percentage of body fat will be a nice plus.
It’s great to look good, and doing triathlons generally improves your outlook on life and confidence as an individual. But to be honest, the reward of looking good wears off, and ultimately it isn’t enough of a motivation to keep most people in it. What’s most noticeable to other people is your physical appearance, but I’ve moved past my fascination with that and I hardly think about it. More than just “looking good,” doing a triathlon will help make you into a more whole person of top condition — physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Not Seeing Results?
A basic strength training principle is that we become stronger when our bodies are stressed.
If you are regularly training and seeing few results, you’re probably in a rut where you body has adapted to the demands of your routine. The solution is to stress the body in new or different ways to create stimulus for more growth.
This physical principle also applies to your mental and spiritual capacities. As with the body, new or different demands will be placed on your mind to access situations, problem-solve, respond quickly, devise strategies on the fly, overcome obstacles, and adapt to changing conditions. As an endurance sport, doing a triathlon will also push you to dig a little deeper into your spiritual reserves to tap inner perseverance, passion, purpose, and composure.
Many endurance events are connected with charities because it taps the spiritual side of sport and competition for a higher purpose. Explore Team In Training as an example; they will assist you in a training plan for your first triathlon.
No doubt about it, as a result of training and finishing a triathlon you will be a more whole human being — stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I wanted to mention a quick word about the above picture. Miles Levin died of cancer last August. He was 19 years old. I had the chance to get to know him just a few weeks before he died. Sometimes when I am on a long bike ride or swim or run, and I’m feeling muscle ache and pain, and want to stop, I think of Miles, and all that he endured with such grace.
I’m over 40 years old, but I don’t give up easily. It wasn’t too long ago that I was exploring the idea of doing my first triathlon. If I can do it, you can too! I'm proof that with a little determination and training, you can get a great deal of fulfillment participating in marathons, triathlons… even ultramarathons.