How I Got Started In Triathlon

This morning I ran a nice easy 6 miler with Greg (@tri2live on Twitter) and with an hour on our hands we talked about life.  I met Greg via Twitter about 3 months ago and he has been my swim training partner this entire time and today we took to the road to run.  During the run I asked him how he got started in triathlon and I can't tell you how hard I laughed.  His story and my story are similar in regards to our beginnings. My story began in 2009 with a sprint tri in Grapevine, TX.  I knew what a triathlon was based on having seen these incredible athletes in Kona.  I have a delusional mind when it comes to this type of stuff and said to myself I could race Kona.  No clue that you had to qualify, that you run through lava fields that in the end Kona is for the best of the best. After I signed up for my first sprint Tri, it was time to train.  Training consisted of going to the gym and swimming my 300 yards and getting out.  Getting on a stationary bike and riding for 12 miles according to the screen and then running a 5k on the treadmill.  Nothing involved intervals, hill work, sprints and why would it as I was an athlete who knew best.  Oh by the way, I ate whatever I wanted. Race day came and I swam and swam and swam and swam.  To the point that I was gassed after 200 yards.  Thankfully this was a pool swim and I was capable of walking those last 50 yards.  I even heard my wife yell to me that I was going to get disqualified for walking in the water.  I thought to myself....good then this disaster and quite humbling experience would be over. I got out of the water and ran to transition and grabbed my bike and off I went.  I loved it.  The bike was great, even the climbs (or so they seemed for that first triathlon.)  I could feel the wind in my hair.  I could feel myself starting to get absorbed in the sport.  Transition to the run and I was on cloud 9.  Running was my one discipline that I could excel at.  I was running past people and smiling the whole time.  This was turning out to be a great day.  I raced toward the finish line and told Karen how much I loved her as I was about to finish. I remember all the people there cheering on family members.  I remember all the volunteers.  I remember being a bada** for completing a triathlon and that 50 yards of walking in the pool was a distant memory.  At that point though I wasn't sure if I was going to continue with this triathlon thing as my first marathon was coming up. After my marathon was over I knew that I wanted to get back to triathlon because I did have that sour taste in my mouth from walking the pool.  I picked out a handful of races and decided that the US Open Toyota Championships in October was going to be my A race but attacking Grapevine again was my real agenda. I saw a Facebook post by a friend that discussed going to see the athletes at Ironman California and right at that moment I signed up for 70.3 IMCA in 2011.  I then hired Coach C and the rest as they say is history. Triathlon has become my lifestyle.  It is not just a sport anymore.  It is how I live in that I have chosen to be active and I have chosen to eat healthy.  I have decided that triathlon was going to help me help others....and that is the name of the game called life.  It has stopped being about my accomplishments and more about how I can help others achieve their dreams. Today's run has led to discussions of traveling to Austin to get hill training in and not just for 70.3 Austin or the CapTexTri but in reality to help Greg get his legs ready for his Ironman (follow him on Twitter and ask him which event he is racing.) The beauty of this sport (and all endurance sports) is the sense of community that you are surrounded by.  People you have never met in person are happy for you when you succeed.  They are there to lend a helping hand when you are down.  They are there to push and pull you to places you have never been. I am humbled to be amongst the group of blogger/endurance athletes that I am surrounded by and it reminds me everyday to pay it forward and help that next person get in that water and walk the last 50 yards of a pool swim because there are greater things on the horizon.

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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