The Experience of a Lifetime
I know that most first timers will say that Try Andy's Tri was a great accomplishment. It may have even been their greatest achievement. For me it was the end of a 33 year fight with obesity, and a goal unattainable just two years ago.
At 345lbs there was no way I could have ever participated in a triathlon. After a year and a half I lost over 130 lbs and my reward was... a triathlon? What was I thinking? I mean to lose weight and be at 210 lbs was one thing but to even think I could be in such a grueling competition was just crazy.
I knew what I had to do and I felt the best place to reveal the new me was at Try Andy's Tri. I bragged that I was going to be in a triathlon. The whole time I was scared to death to even register. When I got the nerve up to I learned that you don't wait till the last minute. What was I gonna do?
Then 100 more slots opened up. YES! I jumped on it. This was my chance to prove myself and accomplish all of my worldy dreams. Ok, maybe not, but it would show how far I had come. I mean just by finishing I would be not only an athlete, but a "TRI" athlete. That's like triple as good as any regular person.
I trained hard by running six miles a day and eventually got on my trusty 13 year old bike. And by trusty I mean rusty, but it was good enough. I rode 15 miles at a time to prepare for the bike leg. With about two months till TAT I started swimming again. Wow, that was a downer when I realized that sitting in the pool for years didn't translate to a Michael Phelps like performance.
Eventually I did all three in one day to see how much it would take for me to complete the triathlon. My goal was to finish in less than an hour and a half and be in the top 50%. These goals are rather bold for a first timer, but I knew how far I had come.
October 12 I woke up and knew it was the day I had dreamed of. Leading up to the start was surreal. I kept telling myself to have fun and enjoy every moment. And that's exactly what I did. From the start I remembered what it took to get me to where I was. I jumped out of the water and sprinted to the transition area. Having never practiced transitioning I found getting socks on wet feet was a little more challenging than I had expected.
Next was the biking leg of TAT. 10 miles of scenic bike riding as fast as possible, now that's my idea of a good time. Everyone I passed or had passed me along the way I said "keep it up, uou're doing great". Riding hard I rolled back to the transition area, spaghetti legs and all, and put my bike up for the last leg of the event.
The run was my favorite. I had been running for over a year and knew that I had to go hard to meet the goals I set. At mile two I passed a guy that was younger and more athletic than me. After looking at my watch he asked what pace I was on. He was trying to keep ahead of a friend and unfortunately the friend was a better runner. Around 9 minutes was my pace so I told him I'd help out and to keep up. I said that at the bagpipes we haul it in and don't let up. Next thing I knew we were running as hard as possible. I don't even remember faces, only that I wanted to stop time and enjoy the achievement forever.
This was more than achieving a goal, it was the pinnacle of my two years of working so hard. My lifetime achievement. I ended up finishing in 1:11 which was 19 minutes better than I expected. I was 346th and that accomplished my second goal. My first triathlon was so much more than a run, bike and swim. The 16th annual Try Andy's Tri was the experience of a lifetime. Count me in every year to be a part of this great event.
Written by Josh Reno
This is the essay that's in this months edition of Runners Tri News. Pick up a copy on news stand near you... Borders or Barnes & Noble. It is the back page.
Continued success in triathlon's Josh. You are my inspiration!