How To Triathlon

So this is what you guys have been waiting for right? If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook then you might not have heard the results…

As you guys know I have recently been training for a triathlon (you can click on that link to read all previous posts about it.)  Well yesterday it happened.  And the results? Well let’s just say that the Mrs. had the pleasure of sleeping next to a triathlete last night…

Grab your reading pipe and your story jacket and sit right back as I recount the tale of what happened on that fitful day. Shiatsu ’bout to get real (and this is going to be a long post):

I set my alarm on Saturday evening for 4:30 am. It took me a while to figure out how to do that because I didn’t actually know there were two 4:30’s in a day.  I ended up waking up at 3:00 am because of my intense desire to throw up excitement. I had arranged all of my gear before I went to bed. I felt like some famous person whose name I don’t recall who was famous for making lists and checking them twice. Needless to say I was well packed and prepared. I piddled around the house until it was time to wake Deetz up and then we left. (I should take a moment here to thank my parents for letting the rug-rats stay with them on Saturday night. I helped in my morning transition for sure!)

I pulled up to the park about Seven or Eight and yelled to the cabbie… around 5:30 and went straight to the transition area to claim my ground. We had scoped the scene the night before so I knew exactly where I wanted to be.

I was really fighting the nerves off early, but after a warm up bike ride and a bit of a run I was feeling really confident.  The wife however seemed to be more nervous than me!

I was in the Clydesdale division, for males over 200 pounds, and we were the third wave. So around 7:15 I got in the water.  I looked out at the expanse that I have to cover and the nerves returned…

I started in the water next to Jason and Brian, my Trek Bike Mount Pleasant team mates. No sooner had I asked Jason if there was a countdown, when I heard the 5, 4, 3, and wow. BEEEEEEEP! The starting signal.  The swim was my biggest fear going into the event. I had not been able to train in the pool as much as I had wanted to and it was weighing on me like a lead albatross. I hit the water and tried to remember what Jason had taught me about being methodical in the water and that it was better to swim slow and steady than fast an erratic. I pushed and pushed and when I reached the first buoy I realized that I was doing better than I had thought I was going to.  My goal on the swim was 20-25 minutes. I was out of the water in 15:36.

As I sprinted out of the water and into the transition area I realized that I was feeling REALLY good. I wasn’t out of breath and I actually felt pretty fresh. I started pulling all of my swim gear off and I realized that I was shaking. I am not really sure what happened next except that I fumbled with my jersey and my helmet and I was so worried about how much time I was taking that I threw my shoes on with out putting on socks. I remember Jason being there and saying something like, “Yeah son! You are a real triathlete!” My transition time might thank me, but my feet don’t… First transition time was 2:19.

Here is the blister that I won from not wearing socks!

Once I got out of the transition chute and on the bike, I had the feeling that I could do no wrong. I put the burners on and pretty much held a steady pace for most of the bike course. I felt like I knew the bike route backwards and forwards. I knew where the inclines and declines were and I knew where the hazards were. I felt very comfortable on the bike, minus the part where one of my hands started getting numb. The route took us around the park and then out the gate and down the road a bit and back. Once I came back into the park gate I really turned it up. This may have turned out to be a mistake. But none-the-less I burned the road up and into the transition area. I finished the bike portion of the race in 39:43.

As soon as I dismounted the bike, I knew I was in trouble.  You know that dance, The Stanky Leg? Yeah, both of my legs were stanky. I felt like I was standing on rubber bands. I ran into transition, hung my bike, got in some guys way on accident, took a sip of water, and then ran out. Just before I crossed the transition electronic thingy that marks your splits that probably has a name but I don’t know it, the lady yelled, “You dont have your race bib!” Aw, shizzzz. I ran back to my area, grabbed my bib belt, and dashed back out. My second transition time was 1:16. I felt that even with the mistake that was a respectable time. I have no idea what I was doing in the first transition.

My legs were shot by this point. As I was running out of the transition chute I saw my wife and I yelled for her to get me a banana. Ha! She ran off to the tent and was able to meet me rounding the corner. I have no idea why I thought that a banana was going to magically return all of the power and energy to my legs, because it didn’t. 🙁 But I am sure glad she ran it over to me anyways! I had been so scared of the swim leading up to the race and I just knew that running was my strength. I really wished I had done more brick training now. By the time I got to the mile 1 marker my legs were screaming and I was beginning to doubt myself.  I was not afraid of not finishing, but I really thought that I was going to have to walk (or crawl) across the finish line. Several times during the run, I had to drop back and walk. But every single time I did, AND I MEAN EVERY SINGLE TIME, someone would come up behind me and give words of encouragement like, “You got this man!” or “You can do this!” or “Not that much further, turn it on!” or “Out of the way fatty!” Just kidding about the last one. That never happened. It seemed like every time I thought my legs would fail me, someone would come by and say just the thing I needed to hear to pump the blood back into the stems and start running again. It really was awesome.  I did have to walk a lot more than I wanted to, but when I came around the last bend and I saw the finish line, I gave it everything that I had and sprinted to the end. My goal was 30 minutes for the run, but I did it in 39:24.

But you know what. I did it. I ran a triathlon. And nothing will ever take that away from me. My official time was 1:38:16.  Not so bad for a guy who used to be afraid of sitting in booths at a restaurant.

And you remember how I told you that I had been training with a 17 year old kid who wanted to prove to himself that he had what it takes to lose weight, feel great, and run a frickin triathlon. Yeah. He finished too. To a crowd of cheering and adoring fans! Congrats on your triathlon too Brian. Let me know when you want to do another!

Team Trek Mount Pleasant FTW!

(click to see the official results)

So maybe this was less of a How to Triathlon and more of a Fat Kid Does Something He Never Thought He Would kind of post. But for some reason I think you guys will appreciate that. I think that a lot of my readers are here because they are searching for inspiration to  do something that they think is impossible. Be it losing weight, or running a 5k, or running a marathon or triathlon. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to be a Beast Face Fat Assassin to get started. You just have to start.

Beast Face Triathlon Assassin out.
*drops mike*



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27 comments to How To Triathlon

  • Great job! And nice face 🙂

    The shaking sounds like all that adrenaline burned up a decent amount of your blood sugar. Makes perfect sense to feel like a banana would help. (Incidentally, low blood sugar can make you forget things, too – like socks and race bibs).

    You’ll be less stressed next time now that you’ve done it once. And hopefully you had some complex carbs and protein before the race, and are eating at regular intervals throughout the day generally.

  • The “Man-Bassador” speaks!! Go Beast!! We were ALL cheering for you!!

  • RunInBoise
    Twitter: runinboise

    Awesome. Congrats!

  • Victoria
    Twitter: victoria_runs

    You did such an amazing job!!! Congratulations Hank! And sweet beast mode photo!

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    Twitter: happyfitmama

    Awesome job!!! I absolutely LOVE the last photo! Definitely Christmas card material. 😉

  • Wee Wifey

    Man, I’m glad neither one of us threw up! 😉

  • MilesMusclesMom
    Twitter: milesmusclesmom

    congrats and welcome to the dark side!!
    Such an awesome accomplishment 🙂

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's List
    Twitter: lindsays_list

    simply put. you rock my face off.

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    Twitter: sideofsneakers

    Congrats! Yup, I agree with Lindsay. You rock my face off.

  • Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail)
    Twitter: DarwinianFail

    WOOHOO! GO HANK! Such an awesome recap. You did it! You have been training you butt off and you totally rocked it! SO HAPPY FOR YOU!

  • Carly D. @
    Twitter: carlyrachael

    Hank! Congratulations!
    And that’s an amazing picture of you from the race. You need to print that out and wallpaper your living room with that!

  • DAD

    Real happy for you, but I kind wanted to inherit that surfboard. Maybe next race.

  • Mindy Artze
    Twitter: mindyartze

    I love it! Awesome!!! I am a huge fan of the Prince of Bel air too so thank you for the fun reference!!! I have a tri on my fitbucket list!!! By this time next year!!!! #fitfluential

  • Run with Jess
    Twitter: RUNwJESS

    I just love this post…. as my first TRI is coming up this weekend!! Ah, the nerves! You did fabulous and as always, an entertaining tale. That last picture needs to be framed – simply stellar! CONGRATS!!

  • Amy@spotonwellness
    Twitter: Spotonwellness

    Hank, this post was FANTASTIC!!! Congrats on finishing your first Tri! I am getting ready to compete in my first Tri on Aug 11th and have EXACTLY the same fears (swimming) and worries (transitions) that you do/did 🙁 BUT, I am excited and just want to do my best… And of course, finish too.

    Also, congrats on your weight loss. You are an inspiration to so many out there that are trying to do the same thing. Keep investing in yourself and moving forward and you will accomplish your goals.

  • MCM Mama
    Twitter: mcmmama

    Congratulations!!! You are freakin’ awesome!

  • MCM Mama commented on The Business of Losing Weight:

    Congratulations!!! You are freakin’ awesome!

  • Kelly
    Twitter: Kellyology

    I love this post. Congrats on finishing your first tri! I admire the amount of work it must have taken and your sense of humor about the whole thing. This is a prefect example of how anyone can get this done if they feel so inclined.

  • Jane
    Twitter: Jane Sorsdahl

    DUDE! Brilliant. I ran my first half marathon down the strip in Vegas last December and amazed myself as much as you have amazed yourself. I get it and I salute you! Way to go. Really. I can’t imagine doing a tri, but it’s next on my list. Especially after reading this ‘real person’ account. You are seriously awesome.

  • Nita

    Cool beans! You did it!!

  • kaysi

    I could feel myself starting to tear up when you were talking about the people who shouted words of encouragement to you every single time you dropped down to a walk… Then you threw “Out of the way fatty!” in there as a joke and I started laughing! I really love reading your blog. Your writing never fails to amuse (and inspire) me! =) Congrats on completing your first triathlon!

  • C

    Congrats on doing your first Tri! I think that is so awesome. Please continue to encourage and inspire. Your blog is fantastic. Hopefully one day I will have a “first triathlon” post. 🙂

  • Rachel

    Do you have a post about how you choose your bike? I want to buy a road bike and start riding with a sprit triathlon as my goal, but don’t know where to start with all the bike info out there.

  • Robin
    Twitter: robinbn

    I have been catching up on your posts and had to post a CONGRATS!!! I loved reading your race report. I am a former fat girl who did my first triathlons this summer and I am in love with the sport. Just know that one day you will forget you are the former fat person as you are kicking ass at your races. In my half ironman, I was keeping up with some older men, I am at my goal weight, but not thin. It drove those men crazy and at the end of the race I had many of them come up to me to congratulate me and tell me they thought I was going to blow up on the run. HA, what a great feeling to kick their butt. And next summer, I bet you will be beating a lot more people if you attempt it again. 🙂 Congrats again and amazing report. So funny!!!!

  • Naomi

    This is so inspirational. I am planning on my first triathlon in June. TERRIFIED of the swim and transitions. But reading this has made me less scared. Just discovered your blog and really have enjoyed reading it!

    • hank

      Thanks Naomi. Once you get there, you will realize that the swim and transitions are not all that hard. It is just doing everything all together that makes it a task! 🙂

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