Triathlon Time

The Pacific Crest Triathlon in Sunriver, Oregon is two months away. Based on today’s first run, I’ve got a lot of work to do. I intend, in upcoming posts, to detail some of the training that I do in preparation for the triathlon.

I am a former Marine. I am also a former football coach. After a career change from teaching to administration, and two young, but growing daughters, I decided to hang up the coaching whistle after a dozen years. From June to December, football consumed so much of my time. And those were just the months when we had organized team activities! In the other months, I was preparing for the season by attending clinics, reading articles and books, visiting college staffs, and revisiting schemes and techniques. During the season, as the defensive coordinator, I could easily spend twelve hours every Sunday breaking down opponents and creating scouting reports for my players and coaches. I diagrammed every single play an opponent ran during the season, and knew them so well that I could call my opponent’s play from the sideline. In the playoffs this past season, the other team’s QB stopped and looked over at me after I successfully called their play before they ran it.

I love preparation. I also love challenges, competition, and the camaraderie coaching brings. I hope by entering the world of endurance sports, I can find those same things.

I have run other races like weekend 5ks, and even the Hood to Coast Relay, but I’ve never done anything like this before:

I will be competing in the Pacific Crest Ultra Sprint Triathlon:

  • Half mile swim
  • 28 mile bike
  • 5k run

It’s a good thing I love preparation because I’ve already paid the registration fee for the event and for an annual membership with USA Triathlon.

I don’t know anything about the Marine Corps’ current swim qualification standards, but when I went to boot camp in June 2000, I qualified at Combat Water Survival, 1st Class. There was only one qualification higher than that, WSQ, and I failed the tread water for 30 minutes and swim an additional 500 meter portion. I also grew up in Southern California, and was in the ocean. A lot. I am comfortable in the water. However, swimming half a mile with other people kicking and splashing water in my face might change things just a little bit. Thankfully, a friend of mine competes in triathlons and she sent me information about the NW Open Water Swim Series. This will give me an opportunity to prepare for the swim portion of the triathlon. I also intend to invest in a wetsuit with some buoyancy to keep my hips – and ass – up to maintain good swimming technique.

A couple of years ago, I decided to buy a cheap road bike and give cycling a try. If the swim portion of the triathlon was just jumping in the waves and body surfing, the swim would be my favorite, but since it isn’t, cycling takes the win here. Cycling is a pretty big deal in the Pacific NW. When I step out my front door, I have access to incredible roads to ride on. I was enjoying cycling so much, I upgraded to a carbon road bike. I paid roughly $1500 for it, but it was a floor model and worth twice that amount. For mere cycling mortals like myself, that is a lot of money, but I have ridden with – and blasted past – riders with bikes three to five times what I paid for mine. I’m excited to train for the bike portion of the triathlon.

That brings me to the last portion of the triathlon – the 5k. Eighteen minute 5ks are a thing of the past. Today’s run/walk/crawl proved that, so they better have beer at the finish line.