Friday, March 28, 2014

Triathlon... If Not Now, Then When? (Subtitle: Why Not This Year?)

I have had this blog for four years now and have only done ONE triathlon, and that was a sprint. Maybe I will never do one and should just give up the idea of it? But no. I only have three things that I would really like to accomplish in this lifetime: publish a book, get an OTCh on a dog, and finish an Ironman. Of those three, Ironman is, I think, achievable with the least amount of effort. I'm not doing anything resembling writing a book, and at the end of a day of training dogs, the last thing I want to do is train ANOTHER dog. At least I am still working out, and not completely out of shape. So what is stopping me from taking the next step towards that goal of doing an Ironman?

Quite a few things, actually!

1) Triathlon is SUCH an expensive hobby. The races are expensive and you have to buy gear for three different sports. Right off the bat, if I were to decide to do a triathlon here, I would have to buy, at minimum, new bike shoes (to accommodate my feet, which have inexplicably grown a size larger in the past year), new running shoes (for the same reason), a bike tune-up (bike has sat in the closet since November), a wetsuit (no open-water swim in a race without LOTS of practice open-water swims beforehand; no open-water swims in Michigan without a wetsuit), and a race entry fee ($275 for the race I'm thinking about, the Steelhead 1/2 Ironman in August). I took a pay cut to come to Michigan and totally do not have that kind of money to throw around! (Unless, you know, it's in pursuit of one of my life goals, in which case, screw it! I could die tomorrow and then wouldn't I regret saving any money instead of using it to do what I want to do.)

2) Open water, oh God. In Arizona open water is hard to get to. In Michigan I think I read somewhere that no one lives further than six miles from some kind of lake. The triathlon club does open water swims all the time. I have no excuse, except that I don't want to! I don't want to swim where I can't see that comfortable blue stripe on the bottom and know I can stand up if I accidentally breathe in water. I don't want to have to learn how to sight. (Maybe I wouldn't have to... at the speed I swim, I should be able to just follow all the kicking legs in front of me, right?)

3) Nowhere to bike without driving there first. It really sounds like everyone just does lots of loops at Stoney Creek. I don't mind Stoney but can't imagine doing that volume of training there. On the other hand, I also can't imagine doing any sort of training on these roads, with their terrifying, wheel-busting potholes that look totally capable of swallowing a bike whole or, worse, swallowing the bike but dumping ME on the road right in front of oncoming traffic. And although I like spin class occasionally, I definitely wouldn't want to rely on any kind of stationary bike for bike workouts. (We will not even say the words "bike trainer". No way, never doing it.)

4) I'm scared of triathletes. Seriously, it sometimes seems like there are no casual triathletes. I mean, really, do you HAVE to have a totally competitive mindset to do even short-distance triathlons? Are the heart rate monitors, the power meters, the intervals, the swim sets, the tri-suits, the aerobars, the obsession with diet REALLY NECESSARY? Can't you just, like, swim and run and ride your bike? The triathletes I have met are very nice; I'm just not sure that I'm one of them the way I am one of the runners.

5) Class. I love teaching class at Leader Dogs, but it throws a giant wrench in my training schedule for one month out of every five. In this case, Steelhead is in August and class goes from mid-April to mid-May, so I'm sure I could swing it, but still, missing that month of training or even just cutting way back definitely affects training for races.

6) My swim still sucks and I still worry about being the last one out of the water.

So those are a lot of reasons why not to do it, but the one big reason to do it is that it's one of my life goals, and I don't have that many, and no one ever knows how long they are going to live, so isn't the time to get started on them always RIGHT NOW?

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