My first attempt at “Multisport” was the Purdue University Biathlon 2003. Their t-shirts had a picture of Yoda on them. “Du or Du not, There is no Tri!” My daughter was a student there, and we both entered the race. It was a sprint du; 5K run, 20K bike (12.4 miles), and then another 5K run. That is where I experienced my first bike – run transition. Your legs talk to you and say, “what are you doing to us?” You learn to run through it, and things work out.
In 2006 I found myself entering some sprint tri’s, and by the last race of the season I had an entry level tri-bike. It is still the bike I ride going into my 7th season. It feels like a sports car. Light and responsive… and unstable. Due to the geometry of the frame, I can not let go of the handlebars and say, “Look Mom, No Hands!” As far as tri-bikes, or “time trial” bikes, go it isn’t anything special, but it suits my needs well.
Two friends helped me learn about the bike. One, a fellow pilot, had ridden across the country in celebration of his 50th birthday. He showed me how to clip in (I fell before we got out of the neighborhood) and we progressed from there. The other was a friend from the Galloway running community. She was a serious cyclist who held her own with the guys. She introduced me to various routes out in the country north of Cincinnati, and helped me get miles into my legs. I would just tuck in, hold on, and try to keep up. She really brought me along on the bike. I even took a class on bike handling skills from a former pro (now a coach) cyclist.
So, I already knew how to run, and was getting along on the bike, but my swimming could use some work. I totally revamped the way I swim through a company called “Total Immersion”. Their concept is to be very efficient and reduce your drag in the water to the absolute minimum. Swimming form and stroke technique rule the day. Again, it is about working smarter… not harder. My swimming is probably still my weakest link, but I can get by.
So, if I were to rank or grade myself, I’d call myself a runner, biker, swimmer. My goals are usually pretty simple; survive the swim, don’t crash on the bike, and don’t bonk on the run. Lastly, I try to finish with a smile on my face and “Celebrate the Day!”
The thing about Triathlon versus Running races is the festival atmosphere. It is just a big party. It is a supportive, positive crowd. For me triathlon is a challenge to see what I can do. Sprint, International (Olympic) distance, Half Iron, and Iron Distance.
There are triathlon magazines; “Triathlete”, “Inside Triathlon”, & “Lava”. They each sell the multisport lifestyle in their own way. Train, Work, Eat, Sleep. I’ve never been in better shape than when I trained for and completed the Ironman Kentucky; Louisville August 29, 2010. It was a long day, but very rewarding.
The problem with training for races like an Ironman is that the journey can be all consuming. Life can become a little lopsided, living the “triathlon – multisport” lifestyle to the exclusion of other things. But triathlon also brings you to a peak. It helps your body function better, and heightens the senses. It helps make a life worth living.
So here, we’ll talk about triathlon. All things Multisport! Swim, Bike, Run! Enjoy the journey!