Triathletes are a tough bunch. While some train in packs and group, most triathletes train alone, logging long miles on the bike or on the run with no one beside them to push them, or to break up the monotony. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but just for fun, those reading this and that are not yet training, go walk (or run if you can) 13.1 miles alone, with no music (because listening to music during a triathlon is not allowed so you must get used to it) and see how it goes.
Not fun. It takes a lot of mental strength to get through something like that.
Something else to try is my favorite pet peeve; the bike trainer. Long hours sitting on your bike, attached to a stand, spinning endlessly but going no where. People will “cheat” in this area. They will put on music, or the TV, or set up the computer so they can view Netflix. That helps … a little … but for me the fact that I am not moving just kills my motivation. Much in the same way the treadmill does.
Then, even of you are lucky, like I was, to have a training partner for most of these long, seemingly endless training sessions, on race day you are alone again. You are usually going to be in a wave that could be hours ahead or behind your training buddies, so you start off alone. If you are lucky enough to start together, once you get to the bike there is a no drafting rule, so you will be separated there, and then once that happens you may not even see each other until the finish line. So once again you are alone … just a man and his thoughts … and a smart phone … with an eTrade app …. No Body knows …
Oh wait … lost my train of though …
Ok I am back …
Triathlon is a taxing endeavor. It takes up hours of time during the week, either before work or after work, often meaning you are leaving the house in the dark and returning after dark. It takes up entire weekends, especially when you are slow like me. Long runs can be 5-7 hours in length … Century Rides are 7 hours in length. The when you finally make it home it’s ice and rest so you can get up the next day and either run or ride again, or go to work. It is not a sport for the weak of heart, or for someone that’s only willing to put in the minimum. Yes I know … there are MANY examples of people that barely train and then go out and run triathlons. I hate those people. Truly. I HATE them. But these people are few and far between. The majority of people I have become friends with through this process train relentlessly. KC, Summer, Karen, Pete … these guys train ALL the TIME. Some of them win … some don’t … but they are TOUGH people. One and ALL. They are the ones that I aspire to be at some point.
Summer braving through a swim that scares the hell out of her, breaking her foot after the swim in Augusta and STILL finishing the bike and the run. That is just unbelievable to me.
Pete on an injured leg passing me on the run during Ironman Florida in May ….
KC just being an all around BAD ASS …. a top flight age grouper that still finds the time and patience to help people like me and Jenny get through the work outs and our stupid questions without ever getting mad or angry (but disappointed, which is WAY worse).
Summer and KC are racing Florida Ironman this weekend. We wanted so much to be there to watch them and cheer them on, but life got in the way. We will be stalking them though, through every check point and every mile, cheering them from afar and sending them every ounce of strength we can muster. I hope they can feel it when the going gets tough, because it always does at some point. Swimming 2.4 miles, then biking 112 miles, and then, just to cap it off, running 26.2 miles … not for the faint of heart, or the weak.
So when you see these guys running … in the heat … in the dark … in the cold … give them a wide birth. Tell them they are doing great. Watch out for the bikes on the road (if there were more trails they’d be on them … we hate riding on roads as much as you hate us being on them) and let them pass.
They deserve your kindness and admiration …. they have had mine for a long time.