Swimming, Biking, and Running: What Could Go Wrong?

My goals were simple:  try not to drown, try not to crash, and try not to break anything.

As a kid, my parents enrolled me into every sport our town had.  I swam, played soccer, basketball, and baseball, and even tried gymnastics.  I was never particularly good, but I loved to play.  I figured out quickly that hand-eye coordination was not my strong suit.  Opening your eyes when you’re trying to hit a baseball helps a lot.  As the shortest male in a family of 6 ft plus men, basketball quickly fell by the wayside.  I did well in soccer mainly because I could run around all day without getting tired.  In high school, I decided to put running to use and joined the cross-country and track team.  On weekends I took my 10 speed and rode all over town.

After years of marathons, running had become a grind.  I was looking for something new.  I thought buying a new bike would help me make exercise exciting again, but a few unfortunate incidents got in the way.  In March 2010, on a fast training ride, I crashed into a city bus shelter while trying to avoid another cyclist. I needed 4 ½ hours of surgery, six days in the hospital, and six months of rehab to get my left hand to work again.  In January 2012, I broke my right foot while running through my neighborhood.  For two months, I had to get around on crutches.

For rehabilitation, and for the sake of my wife’s sanity, I took up swimming.  Learning proper stroke technique decades after leaving the neighborhood eight and under swim team was harder than I thought.  I have swallowed enough pool water to fill a bath tub, but have not drowned yet.

My struggles with swimming made me nervous before the start of the race.  I entered a slow swim time because I was afraid of getting run over by faster swimmers.  Once I jumped in the water, my fears eased.  “All I have to do is swim 300 meters without drowning.”  Three laps later, I gladly accepted the hand that lifted me out of the water. “Now comes the fun part,” I thought.  My bike leg went smoothly as practicing on the race course the weekend before helped.  The second transition was slow as I struggled with my socks and could not get my visor to fit.  I even forgot to put my race number around my waist.  My wife’s cheering was really her attempt to tell me what I had forgotten.  I just smiled and waved.  I was able to run about the pace I thought I could from training and crossed the finish line in just over 53 minutes.  Starting at the back after the swim left me with no idea of how I had done.  I was simply proud to finish feeling good.

When I saw that I had won my age group, I was shocked.  No way. The high fives from the other triathletes felt great.  I went home, joined USA Triathlon, and signed up for my next race.

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One thought on “Swimming, Biking, and Running: What Could Go Wrong?

  1. Pingback: Diabetes Articles» Swimming, Biking, and Running: What Could Go Wrong? « Texas …

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