Reflections Of A Triathlete

 Reflections Of A Triathlete

What You See In The Mirror Today Will Not Reflect The Person You Were.....Thank You Triathlon!

I was perusing Facebook and came across two posts in my timeline that got me thinking about how I got to where I am today and how I got started in this lifestyle.  It has been an unbelievable journey and it amazes me that it has just started.  Along the way I have met and spoken to some of the nicest people.  I have made lifetime friendships through this sport and hope that I can give back even a fraction of what I have received.

If you know my story you know I’m from New York.  There was not a lot of triathlon going on in my life when I lived there.  I knew of Kona and had watched it on TV every year along with an airing or two of Escape From Alcatraz.  I was amazed by these athletes but not enough to try the sport.  I was much more into the traditional sports of football, baseball, basketball and hockey.  If somebody had told me to run I would have had the excuse that we hear all the time:  I can’t run that far.

I then began training for a half-marathon through the urging of my ex-wife.  Before that first half-marathon took place she had moved out of the house and my marriage was in the final throes of falling apart.  What came from it though was a passion to run.  I loved that race even if it took me 2 hours and 18 minutes and felt like I was going through mud.  I immediately registered for races in Philadelphia and Miami.

In that same time span I met Karen and began a long-distance relationship with her.  After months of flying from New York to Dallas I finally packed up all my stuff and left the Big Apple headed to a place where I knew nobody and had no safety net.  The ultimate jump off the cliff for a girl.  When I got here I quickly found that if you don’t run at 5am it is just too hot to run at any other time.

It was then that I made a bunch of friends through playing co-ed softball.  Slow pitch with friends and beer.  Yeah, that sounds good sign me up.  During this time I met a friend, Jill, who said she was going to do a triathlon.  Thinking back to those days of watching it on TV I agreed to do it with her.  As is usual with these things I registered and began training.  Jill never signed up, but I was in.  I was ready to go.

My training consisted of swimming the exact distance of the race, which was 250 yards and getting out.  No drills.  No research.  Just get in the water and get out after 250 yards.  I had purchased a used bike for $500 and knew nothing about aero bars, cranks, torpedo water bottles.  Get on bike, pedal bike…..hope not to crash.  Running…..I had that.  I was a runner.

Part-way through that first race I started to walk the swim (it was in a 4 foot pool so I was good…..although there is a parallel to IMTX where I walked when I first entered the canal and saw others walking) then jumped on the bike and freedom.  I loved it.  The run was easy for me and I fell in love,  but I had other plans.  I wanted to run my first marathon that November and put triathlon on the sidelines.

It was when that marathon was over I was going to take triathlon a bit more seriously.  I started swimming more, biking more and running more.  I was in but I hated my swimming (something’s never change I guess.)  I wanted to get better and one day Karen got tired of me complaining about the swim and handed me a pamphlet to a coach.  I tossed it aside knowing that I could do this on my own.  Two to three weeks later and the swim speed still didn’t exist that I picked up the phone and called Coach.  Match made in heaven.

Claudia got out of her car at the same time I pulled in.  To say she was a firecracker of energy would be an understatement.  She was more like a pack of C4.  The energy was oozing from her pores and when she took out her helmet from the Warrior Dash to show me she just came in first place I could not stop laughing.  This meeting was to be more of an interview of her than of me, but I think it turned out to be whether or not she could work with me because I knew I could be coached by her.

I told her my goal of competing at 70.3 Ironman California and how much time we had and what other races I wanted to do.  After a year of racing sprints and my first Olympic distance goal came my first Half-Ironman.  I fell in deeper love with the sport after that race and almost immediately registered for 70.3 San Juan.  Later in 2011 I registered and competed in 70.3 Austin.  A lifetime of competing and training was being fostered.

My life has changed tremendously since that first triathlon:

  • Just moved to Dallas and knew nobody.  Now I am married and have a terrific circle of friends.
  • Still working for a New York based company.  Now a partner in a web design and internet marketing firm (we are hiring by the way), owner of my own Herbalife business, partner in a soon to be finished nutrition club called Tri Nutrition and running coach business.
  • I was the king of grilling meat and drinking beer.  Have been a non-drinking vegetarian for nearly 1.5 years.
  • No triathlon experience.  Today an Ironman and by November will be a 2x Ironman.
  • A Trek 1000 bike, no wetsuit.  Today I have 2 wetsuits, a Specialized Transition Comp and my eyes on a Kestrel.
  • No idea who knew anything about triathlon.  Today I regularly exchange emails and texts with friends about the sport.  Jeff has already begun to adjust my bike setup for IMAZ so I can fly on the course.

There are so many other things that this post would wind up being the size of War and Peace that I’m going to end it there.  Needless to say I have embraced this change and looking forward to more change.  There are so many people who I cannot wait to meet that have come to my life through this blog and sport.

HOW HAS ENDURANCE SPORTS CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

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  • http://pedestrianrunner.blogspot.com Christi

    What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing. I wish you continued success in your sporting life but somehow I don’t think you need it!

    I hope we get to meet someday!
    Christi recently posted..JumpStart to Clean Eating SummaryMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      No doubt we will meet. I have a mental rolodex of the people I want to meet and train/race with and you are on that list for sure. We just need to figure out how to make that happen. When are you moving to Texas again?
      CTER recently posted..Reflections Of A TriathleteMy Profile

  • http://www.shutupandrun.net Shut Up and Run

    I knew most of this story or bits and pieces, but it was fun/insightful to read it all together and to really think about your before and after. I think yours is a very good example of a life overhaul/makeower – one that didn’t happen overnight, but also did not take years in the making. You show people that determination and intention really make you what you are.
    Shut Up and Run recently posted..How To Pace an 11 Year OldMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      I gotta tell you, and you know this already, but being able to create a friendship with you has been an incredible experience. It drives me crazy to know that we have zero plans on the agenda to meet up somewhere and hang out with each other. A true lifetime friendship was born through blogs and it was cemented in Boulder last year. We need to figure out a way to get together every year some how.
      CTER recently posted..Reflections Of A TriathleteMy Profile

  • http://trainingsmoker.blogspot.com Carolina John

    Great post! Most people don’t realize how much triathlon can change you. It’s really amazing. So much more than just being a marathoner, or even just a runner, or even just a former smoker. Give it some more time, and you’ll be able to write another post like this about the change from Triathlete to Ironman Triathlete.
    Carolina John recently posted..Ironman gave me a gluten intoleranceMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      It really is true. I thought that the marathon and even my first half-mary was a life changing event. This sport is way more than that. Your confidence soars because you were able to conquer 3 sports on the same day, but more than that train for those sports. Plus the people are just great. Yes, we have bad apples in our sport just like any other but I think that we also have more awesome people here too.
      CTER recently posted..Reflections Of A TriathleteMy Profile

  • http://climbingthosehills.blogspot.com/ TriMOEngr (Christina)

    I enjoyed this reflection on your own journey though I’d call it a “then and now” vs “before and after” because I don’t think you’ll ever be at “after”. Hard to imagine anyway. I do a fair bit of this kind of thing from time to time though – as I think about my own “then and now” and often add “and where I want to go”. Pretty inspiring stuff!
    TriMOEngr (Christina) recently posted..Morning Run – Shorts IssueMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      Very good point Christina. As the song says: It’s Only Just Begun……. I just love the sport and the lifestyle and the conversations. The more you listen the more you grow in this sport and in life.

      Then and Now……perfect!
      CTER recently posted..Reflections Of A TriathleteMy Profile

  • http://sugarmagnolia70.blogspot.com sugarmagnolia70

    Love this! It reminds me that we all start at the beginning, and we all keep learning!

  • http://www.shesaidineedagoal.com adena

    This may be my favourite post ever.. oh wait, don’t I say that everytime? Seriously loved the story. You rock Jason!

  • http://tridiesel.blogspot.com BDD

    I love hearing peoples stories, you already know mine
    BDD recently posted..The Ride of Silence…My Profile

  • http://danglethecarrot.blogspot.com Jeff Irvin

    Isn’t it funny how so many of us have very similar stories that propelled us to this sport?

    Great post Jason!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..2,160My Profile

  • http://ironbob-ironbob.blogspot.com/ Bob

    I still like beer….that’s my story.. so I have no choice but to train and race or succumb to 240 pound body weights. It’s simple actually
    Bob recently posted..The FL/ALMISLA/TX IronmanMy Profile

  • http://www.eternalrecess.com Rose @ Eternal Recess

    Love this post! What hasn’t changed might be an easier question :) Triathlon changed everything. 30 years of a highly addictive personality tend to wreak havoc on one’s life. Somehow triathlon gave me that positive thing to switch to, to fill my time with and to express my energy through as a healthy outlet instead of cigarettes, alcohol and in early years, drugs. Daily, ritualistic training and a commitment to improvement have balanced out my emotions. Given me the confidence to aim for my dreams and not miss my mark. Bonded me closely with the love of my life (my new husband!). Introduced me to a whole new set of friends who share the same values and are incredibly supportive in a world of people who like to criticize. It’s something Adam and I talk about all the time. Who we were then vs. who we are now and how we got here. It’s mind blowing. 5 years ago, I would have laughed at you if you told me what I’d be doing today. I know now that anything truly IS possible!
    Rose @ Eternal Recess recently posted..St.Croix 70.3 Race RecapMy Profile

  • http://runthisamazingday.blogspot.com katie

    kestrel, eh?

    love this post. it’s so wonderful to see how far you’ve come!
    katie recently posted..Jim McDonnell 5K swim: race reportMy Profile

  • http://marleneontherun.com marlene

    Love reading this story and learning more about how you got to where you are now. Isn’t it amazing how the smallest decisions can have such an impact?

    For me, it was being asked to complete the run portion of a tri relay so that a friend of mine could complete the swim/bike (injury prevented her from running). She joked that I was going to get hooked, but I was adamant that triathlon was not for me. Yep, I’m eating those words now…
    marlene recently posted..May 2012My Profile

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