Thursday, May 19, 2011

And We're Off!

blog (blȯg, bläg). (n.) A web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also: the contents of such a site.

According to Nielsen's BlogPulse, there are over 162 million blogs currently in existence covering a wide range of topics including news, politics, religion, sports, television, finance, and hundreds of others.  So why have I created yet another one?  What do I have to add to the already over-saturated blogosphere?

First, a little background.  I am a twenty-something South Carolinian blessed with a beautiful wife, two young sons (the third is on the way), a steady job, great family and friends, and a Bible-believing church.  I enjoy traveling, reading, recreational shooting, watching movies, and playing board games.  And as of July 2010, I am also a triathlete.

Growing up, I was somewhat physically active.  I played soccer as a young child but eventually gravitated towards baseball.  Along the way, I dabbled in basketball and swimming, but quickly gave those up after getting a facial scar from the former and realizing I had to wear a Speedo for the latter.  I spent a lot of my free time riding my bike through my neighborhoods' winding roads and trails and also enjoyed in-line skating (remember Rollerblades?).

After high school, however, my level of physical activity fell sharply.  If it weren't for the sprawling layout of my university's campus, which required me to walk a great deal between classes, I would have gotten little or no exercise in college.  It was the same story in graduate school.  After my final graduation, however, the transition was complete.  I became a bona fide couch potato whose daily "workout" consisted of walking down and up the stairs in the parking garage at work.

My wife and me before the 2010 CRBR
That changed in early 2010 when my wife and I jointly resolved to take better care of ourselves.  We joined the local YMCA and entered the Cooper River Bridge Run, a 10K race in Charleston.  While my wife had been a cross-country runner in high school, I had never run more than 360 feet--the distance around a baseball diamond--in my life.  After just six weeks of training, we finished together in just under 80 minutes despite the fact I caught a cold the day before the race.

A few weeks later, I bumped into a friend of mine (who is also my neighbor and in a men's group with me at church) after a workout at the Y.  He mentioned to me that the Y would be hosting a sprint triathlon that July and challenged me to participate.  I dismissed his challenge at first, mostly because I believed (like most newbies) that I would be unable to complete the swim.  A few weeks later, I changed my mind and accepted the challenge.  I found a free training plan online and began following it.  I also checked out and read a few triathlon-related books from my local library.

Finishing my first triathlon
My training went fairly well.  Not surprisingly, I struggled with swimming the most, but after a few private lessons and with the gracious help of the friend who had convinced me to enter the race, I reached the point where I could complete the 350-yard swim as long as I took a short break every few laps.

Before I knew it, race day had arrived.  I hardly remember most of the race, but I vividly remember the last few hundred yards of the run course, the exhilaration of crossing the finish line, and celebrating my accomplishment with the family members who were there to cheer me on.

My friend told me after the race that he thought I'd caught "the bug."  He was right.  I am now hooked on triathlon.  Since that first race, I've completed two others and am currently training for my first Olympic distance event, the Washington DC Triathlon on June 19 (more on that in later entries).

So back to why I started this blog.  For one thing, I hope writing about my training experiences will hold me accountable to keep up with my workouts and continue running with endurance the race set before me.  But my greater hope is that my ongoing journey from couch potato to triathlete will inspire others into the sport of triathlon or some other form of physical activity.  I'm making this transformation through Him who gives me strength.  I bet you can, too.

2 comments:

  1. A good thing to remember is linking. Do you have the link to the online triathlon training regiment? Nice post look forward to your next.
    Seth

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  2. Thanks, Seth. I definitely plan on including more links in subsequent posts.

    I believe the training plan I used was the sprint distance beginner plan at Tri Newbies (http://www.trinewbies.com/tno_trainingprograms.asp). That's not to say I'd necessarily recommend that one now. I used it because it was one of the only free plans I could find.

    Currently, I am using the training plans in The 12-Week Triathlete by Tom Holland (http://www.amazon.com/12-Week-Triathlete-Train-Triathlon-Months/dp/1592331262). I own the book, but it is probably available for checkout from your local library (that's where I first found it).

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