Well, I’m not entirely sure, why I tri – but it might be a good time to explain it to myself. It’s a huge drain of time and energy. It’s really a battle with yourself and those are not smart to wage without a good reason.
In the time following my accident, a lot of encouragement came by way of suggestions for physical things I should do. Back then I really wasn’t that interested in most options. A racing wheelchair, for example, was not something I looked at as a fun challenge. Other things like golf, were tainted by difficulties and my mother’s advice to just strap myself to the side of a golf cart. My main focus was to get mobile, regain independence, and carry on with life. I don’t think, or expect, anybody (save for a few of my peers) to have any idea just how hard it is for me to walk. It has taken a while to crave other physical challenges.
I bet if Prague, CZ had a more active craigslist community, I would have started training earlier. It wasn’t until I returned to the States a couple years ago that I found a piece of equipment cheap enough to buy. It was a racing chair. Thanks to my generous sister (as opposed to the selfish one…wawink) now I have a handcycle and just finished my first solo tri, an olympic distance two weekends ago.
Last September I completed a half-ironman with a teammate who did the cycling leg. Morning of, I stood there looking at the swim course, off La Jolla cove, in the Pacific Ocean. I was pretty sure I could handle the 1.2 mile loop – but I was far from positive. Looking way out at the big yellow pyramids, I could only think, “that’s far”. I did it in less time than I was hoping (39 minutes) and it was intense – no disappointment.
I shake my head just thinking about a full Ironman. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a 2.4mi swim, 112mi cycle, topped of with a full marathon – 26.2 miles. Triathlons, especially long ones are daunting. That’s what I like about them. They have bragging rights, they have obstacles. They demand toughness, discipline, and so many other things that make you fight. That feels good. It is an outlet and an exercise, and not just a physical one.
So Kenny Powers isn’t trying to be the best at exercise. That’s a funny line and I get it. Triathlon is a lot different than other sports. For one it’s no spectator sport. It is definitely a participant sport and the spectators are mainly there to provide support. Thanks Mj! The internal war of a competition and training is awesome – the insight into self and struggle makes it a satisfyingly hellish experience. I’ve got a long ways to go and very little to base this all on – but it’s growing into something and each achievement so far has propelled me to the next one.
In addition, you get to travel! In 4 weeks, I’m off to Texas with the whole family for a half-Ironman. While Lubbock, TX might not be everybody’s ideal destination – there are events in just about every beautiful and interesting place around the globe. If not just yet – there will be soon. How does Nice, FR sound? Or Mallorca, Costa Rica, Sardinia, Croatia, and the Vineman triathlon in Sonoma County. If I do well enough in Texas I qualify for the World Championships in Hawaii and, well, this is how I convince my wife that she may benefit from all this nonsense.
So yeah – I think I’ve convinced myself to continue the grind. Thank heavens for afternoon coffees, Pandora, the joy of going fast, and my only corporate sponsor (so far…and it is a great one) Platinum Performance!