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Triathlon Plunge

Posted by Marty Haught on Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I have decided that in 2011 I will compete in two triathlons. To those that follow me on twitter already know of this but I haven’t really expanded on why I decided to undertake this venture nor how it’s going so far in detail.

For the past couple years I’ve thought about triathlons. I live in triathlon central in Boulder County, Colorado. It seems you can’t drive more than 5 miles without seeing someone training on their bike or running in any season. I’ve been biking off and on for the last 20 years and I’ve enjoyed running as well. Though I have zero swimming experience (in the competitive/fitness realm) I figured I could overcome that with training.

In summer of 2009 I hurt my knee while on a 9 mile run. Looking back it was likely a combination of old shoes and pushing myself too fast. I simply couldn’t train like I did in my 20s. Luckily I stopped immediately so the damage was minimal. After a week’s rest I tried to run again but the pain kicked in again within a mile of running. I spent the next 3 months trying to rest it more and then running to no avail. I started to wonder if I could ever run again.

By summer of 2010, I had given it over 6 months of rest with no running at all. I started doing a run/walk combination in Vibram Five-Fingered shoes and was ramping it up slow. I got to where I could easily do a 2-3 mile easy run with no knee pain. I was also sticking to softer surfaces like dirt or gravel. I was feeling pretty good at things.

I was also about this time that I met two triathlete programmers at a software conference, Ryan McGeary and Keavy McMinn. Ryan and I talked about triathlons and he even gave me some pointers on swimming which gave me more confidence to take the plunge regardless of my swimming inexperience. Keavy’s story is impressive ( just go read her blog ) and she just completed an Ironman triathlon in November. Between the two of them they got me thinking more of going ahead and doing it.

Finally I signed up for two 5K races at software conferences in the fall of 2010. I was able to finish both and run at a fairly good pace (23:50) without any pain. I did use a knee brace but I was thinking I could train to run again without it.

I’m not sure what about the triathlon that allures me. I do enjoy doing all three of the sports so that helps. I do like competing and pushing myself so that could be part of it. Perhaps it’s the nature of the challenge and achieving some difficult goal you set for yourself. In any event, I decided in December to go all in and do it.

I will follow this post up with my training approach and how it’s gone so far.

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