Becoming an Athlete

In January 2011 I decided that I would pursue completing a Sprint distance triathlon.  I also, which is not unusual for me, successfully convinced about 10 other friends and colleagues to complete their first TRI with me.  The event was selected, and again @KirkMac input was sought.  We chose the location of his first TRI pursued some 8 years earlier.   Ft Collins Club hosts a bi-annual Sprint distance triathlon, it’s well run, reasonable in size from a number of participants, beginner friendly and includes a ¼ mile indoor snake swim at the EPIC pool located in Ft Collins, a 12 mile bike ride and 3 mile run.  I registered and it was official.  On May 15th, 2011 former Fat Ali would become a triathlete. WOW!

Everyone says just focus on finishing.  Yes, that was certainly my goal, to finish and finish feeling strong and healthy.  Of course, the competitor in me wanted more…finish, finish feeling strong and healthy and finish fast.  By this point in time I had been on my fit and healthy path for a year so I was pretty darn fit.  But I certainly would not have considered myself an athlete.  I was focused on making that happen.  So I embarked upon a serious triathlon training program.  Would I sign-up with a free online triathlete training program?  Buy a book and follow that program?   Nope, not me! I signed up with a top triathlon coach.  Enter @CoachCary www.coachcary.com.  Cary Kinross-Wright is not only a top coach as part of the Endurance Performance Coaching (EPC) group, but also an amazing endurance athlete including  6 time Ironman finisher, Xterra (off road triathlon) elite competitor, ultra marathon racer and adventure race athlete.  You get the drift I didn’t sign-up with a novice coach, Cary is the real deal.

So Cary put together an individualized training plan for me.  This included tracking my daily training, notice the shift, I was no longer “working out” I was now “training”.  Interesting, but I believe there actually is a psychological difference.   Athletes ”train”, other people “workout”.  I purchased a heart rate monitor, and after several hours of frustration in getting the little devil to get set-up properly I began logging my training efforts and uploading the results to Training Peaks (www.trainingpeaks.com).  My training included the obvious elements of Triathlon swim, bike, run.  Never mind the fact that I hadn’t swum laps since my high school swimming career ended decades ago, didn’t own a road bike and hadn’t ever been a runner.  People sometimes think Sprint Triathlon equals Easy Triathlon, hmm; maybe I was originally one of those fools.  It absolutely does NOT mean easy!  Any distance triathlon requires commitment, focus, endurance and (I love this one) mental toughness, plus the ability to string together those three events, one after the other without taking a nice little rest in between.

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