Saturday, February 04, 2017
How Did I End Up There
The picture above was taken in the fall of 1989, at the finish line of the National Championship Sprint Triathlon in Boca Raton, Florida. That is me, I still have the bike (it is amazingly fast - very- very - fast.)
So how did I end up there? A couple of years before that, I took charge of my diet and joined a gym. A few months after that I started running and swimming, and riding a bike for the first time in a decade. A decade that has not been good to me. I lost a ton of weight. I mentioned to my boss that I would love to do a triathlon, in fact one was scheduled on my birthday that year at Sea World in Orlando - but I didn't think I would try. It was a 1/4 mile swim, a 15 mile bike ride, followed by a 3.1 mile run. I knew how to stay afloat in the water, but I would have to learn how to properly swim in a couple of months to do the first triathlon. My boss was a master manipulator, I don't recall exactly how he did it, but he bullied me into committing to do it. I finished the race and I enjoyed it. The guy who finished just in front of me was running on his 80th birthday, it was my 30th birthday. But I finished under my own power.
So I started competitive racing, because my boss manipulated me into doing it. His doing that was no real surprise, when I went to work with him, he said, I will screw with our head, but not your money, work for with me and you will make more money than anyplace else in town. He held true to that promise for about three years.
The following year I ran a full season of 5K races and the sprint triathlon series in the Orlando area - as I recall it was 4 triathlons. One day, I received an invitation for an open field slot in the National Championship sprint race in Boca Raton. The race was in late fall (November - December.) I sent in my check and made the field.
As I recall I finished in the middle of the pack. Not bad for a guy who had been 240 pounds four years before. My greatest moment on that race, was passing Mike Pigg, (yes that was his name) one of the elite men, on the bike ride. The bike was my strong sport. I didn't care if he passed me back before the end of the bike course and finished the race 20 minutes faster than I did, I passed one of the best in the world, once in my life.
I miss running and racing. I occasionally dream about running, or riding. Swimming, I did because it was part of the package. I got the point of being pretty good at it. I did some open water ocean swimming, that was fun. But for the most part was a grind for me.
Have you ever participated in a running race, a bike race, or swimming race?