Intro to The Triathlon Chronicles

I have been talking for a while now about where to take the blog next. I’ve known for a while the direction I wanted to go but it’s always been a fuzzy goal: an idea of what I want to do but no real steps to actually make it so. Now I am happy say that no more generalities: I have determined where it’s going and have set it all in stone. Buckle up, I am now continuing on and making my story one of a fat dad who went from Couch Potato to Triathlete. So how did I make the decision to push myself and get into a place where I am willingly looking to compete in races that will be the ultimate test of my physical endurance? What the hell am I thinking? There is a lot more to come on the subject, but here’s the introductory info:

By now I’m sure you know the gist of my story thus far. In case you’re new here, let me catch you up real fast:  I had always been a big guy and had come to embrace it. It’s just who I was. But once my wife and I brought our first child into the picture, it was no longer acceptable for me to be like that anymore. They deserved better of me, and I became bound and determined to be that better man, both for myself and for my family. All told, here I sit after losing 130+ pounds in the past year and a half by changing the way I eat and taking up running. But as is usually the case: everything comes with a price. Through my single-minded focus on losing the weight and stepping into the running world (and the subsequent steps into the endurance running world) I put some heavy-duty pressure and wear and tear on my knee, resulting in a breakdown of the cartilage, tendonitis and healthy dose of pain (and as an added bonus…a weird crackling sound) This is all a result of a lot of factors, including beginning running with reckless abandon on a 330 pound body, poor running form, not enough cross/ strength training, and some crappy genetics (arthritis in my knee). So while seeing the Orthopedic Doc and Physical Therapists, they all told me the same things: Cross train: Stop running 100% of the time. A lot of people can do that without any issue, but I am not one of them. What I need to do is simple: Get in the pool, Get on the bike, Get stronger & more flexible. All while keeping up on the running. I am incorporating these other things to compliment the running, not replace it altogether. Do that and it will reduce the constant pounding on my knee, all while making me a more well-rounded athlete and keeping things more balanced by working different muscles. That’s the key to fixing the problem.

Now, if you have read this blog at all you know that I am always looking to ramp things up to the next level, and you will not be surprised at all that after the seed had been planted to add swimming and biking to the mix along with the running, that my mind went directly to Triathlons. Since I have absolutely zero experience in most of what I am about to embark upon, I thought it might be a great thing to capture for the blog. Kind of a first hand account of what it really is like to get into this and take it seriously. All while keeping up on the running, holding down a job, and most importantly, handling the responsibilities of being a Husband and father of a 2-year-old and a newborn.

…it should be interesting, that’s for sure.

And as I am also sure you are not surprised, I already have Triathlon #1 picked out. The first of many tris (I actually have 3 picked out and on the schedule for next year already!) I will compete in is a sprint distance, and is being held in Cape May, NJ. The ESCAPE THE CAPE TRI, presented by Delmo Sports is on 6/8/14, and I will be there. Just shy of a year to get myself totally acclimated to 2 new sports and in fighting shape to get through it all.

Please note: I have gotten a few questions already about this. I may be aggressive, but I’m not insane. Just like road races, Triathlons have different distances to accommodate varying levels of fitness, experience, and expertise. I am starting with the shortest of all the distances, a “sprint” triathlon. I’m looking at a quarter mile swim, 10 mile bike ride, and then a 3.1 mile run. I’m doing that twice. The first time just to take it all in and finish. The second will be to improve upon attempt #1 and get ready for my third triathlon, which will be the next incremental step up in distance and difficulty: An “Olympic” or “International” distance triathlon. (1 mile swim, 25 miles on the bike, 6.2 mile run). This is all in 2014. Hell yes. My ultimate goal for 2015 and beyond will be a “Half Ironman Distance” Triathlon (I actually prefer to refer to it by its alternate name, an “Ironman 70.3” That’s because it’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles on the bike, and 13.1 miles of running: all adding up to 70.3 miles covered in total. Sounds exponentially more badass in my mind)

Just for the record, whenever you say Triathlon, most people think of the Ironman. While “The Ironman” is the most well-known to most people, it is also the most hardcore, reserved for elite athletes and those people who can push themselves to the very limits of endurance. I am not doing an Ironman. I will go on record to say that I will never do an Ironman. (For the record: a “Full Ironman” is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a full marathon 26.2 miles: yeah…not gonna happen for me). I say again: No.

But coming back to topic, and speaking of the Triathlons I already have set for next year: all 3 of my upcoming triathlon races are organized by Delmo Sports, a South Jersey based company that is behind 3 of the premier triathlon events in the South Jersey area (Escape The Cape, Tri The Wildwoods, and The Atlantic City International Triathlon…and yup, I am competing in all 3 of these in 2014) I had the opportunity to talk with their founder, Steve Delmonte and man, what a great conversation we had. He was super accessible, down to earth, and you’d be hard pressed to find a guy who was more supportive of my efforts. He, without hesitation agreed to grant me access to the races and pointed me to several resources that have provided me with as much info as I can handle in regards to training and preparation. You can look for an interview with him as well as full profiles on each of the races I will be taking on all coming in the future. I am happy to say that I am now part of the Delmo Sports family and will be tailoring my training towards these specific challenges as they come up.

So: where am I at now and what’s the plan looking forward? I have done a lot of reading/ research about Tri’s in general, as well as taking a hard look at all the training plans I can get my hands on, for all the various distances…just to get a feel for them all. The plan is for me to continue on with my working plan for the summer and fall- continuing to rehab the knee and participate in the last race I have on the calendar for the year: The Runner’s World “Five & Dime” in October. I’ll be rocking out back to back 5K & 10K races on that day. Outside of that, it’s all about maintaining the cardio/ strength/ overall fitness for the rest of the year and starting with the new year start training for what has shaped up to be an awesome calendar of races. 2014 is going to be huge for me, and I’m looking forward to getting into it, but for now it’s all about working the running back up to racing form for Runners World in October, continuing the stretching, strengthening, beginning to ride the bike and swimming just to get comfortable with it all.

It’s going to be good and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you.

Till Next time: Take it easy.



2 responses to “Intro to The Triathlon Chronicles

  1. Hi Andy!
    I recently got into Triathlons and as someone who always struggled with running, but wanted to make it work, tris are the perfect mix. You will be KILLING it come next year and practice practice practice!!!
    If you ever want to train let me know – and I will be sure to be following along!!

    – Margot

  2. Ummm, never say never! Heeheehee

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