After running 27 marathons to date. I thought a sprint triathlon would be easy. I was wrong very, very wrong! I ran with Scott Rigbsy two years ago at the Boston marathon. I have a new appreciation for him after this triathlon. He completed the Kona Iron Man with two prosthetic legs.
Before I get into the details about this race, I’d first like to thank a few people who helped me. Live Daybreak (especially Becky and Wendy) who took care of all the entry fees and sponsored me to do this race.
Also Poco Loco Swim Store in Logan for the spiffy swim wear and goggles.
Bike training on one leg
The first task was to start my bike training. My rides consisted of biking to and from my work. I rode from my home in Daybreak to 59th South and 9th East( approx 17 miles one way ) several days per week. I learned to love the Jordan Parkway.
Everything did not always go smoothly. One day as I made my way home I made a total spectacle of myself when I fell off my bike at a busy intersection on Redwood Road. My fake leg was still firmly attached to the pedal while the rest of me kept on rolling.
I’m sure the drivers nearby had a crazy story to tell that day. I can picture it all now:
“Hey, you’ll never believe what I saw today. Some old guy fell off his bike. His leg came right off…. ya…. and it was still attached to his bike!”
This was horrifying embarrassing but it’s ok because we have to learn to laugh at ourselves once in a while. Go ahead and laugh, it was pretty funny.
Swim Training on one Leg
Swim training was equally entertaining. Being from Southern Californian I pride myself on being a water lover. I love swimming and being in the pool. I particularly love swimming with one flipper. You could call me a “Merman” you know like in Zoolander, “MER-MAN, MER-MAN”
I made my way to Golds Gym during my lunch break for my swimming work out. I found out very quickly my “mer-man” skills were somewhat lacking.
“If only I could have had that flipper for the race.”
I had to figure out which swim stoke I would be able to swim with. I tried the American Crawl it was a big no go since I needed two good legs. Out of default I decided to use the Breast Stroke. Sadly I learned I am a slow swimmer and even slower when I use the Breast Stroke. Dang it!
Running on one leg
I ran 4 marathons in four days about a week before this triathlon. I figured running was not going to be a problem. I probably could have done some speed work but I didn’t have time to worry about that. My first and foremost priority was the swim.
Goal #1 for my first triathalon: Not drown during the swim portion of the triathlon.
My first Triathlon with one leg
A triathlon has been on my bucket-list for some time so I was really excited but like every unknown I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I could do it. I had trained hard, very hard, but there was something else here that most people with two legs don’t even consider. I basically needed a pit crew to help me or none of it would be possible
My wife, two daughters, and both son-in-laws showed up to help. I needed someone to take my leg to the edge of the lake, help me into my wetsuit and finally then help me into the water. I also needed help at the end of the swim.It was a bit complicated . I had to make sure I had everything I needed when I needed it.
The swim went really well and I felt very strong even though there was a powerful headwind which created a pretty stiff current. I finished the swim almost last with only two swimmers behind me. I had a very non mer-man speed of 39 minutes for swim 1/2 mile .
When I reached the shore at the end of the swim one of the volunteer officials started to yell at me, (in a very helpful way of course, not knowing my limitations)
“Stand up and walk…
You are done…
it’s OK, you can walk now!”
Instead of walking I was crawling like a crab on my butt. My son-in-law, heard this fellow going crazy and ran out to the water up to his thighs and picked me up and helped me get to the pier so I could sit down.
He then peeled my wet suit off me like he was peeling a banana. My wife was right behind me with my leg. After I put my leg on I had to run up the path and over to the bikes. That’s when I realized I was only wearing my tiny, green, tiger-striped speedo. I felt more naked than Tarzan! There were a dozen people cheering and clapping for me.
“I had flashes of changing my name to ‘Candy’ and getting a part-time job pole dancing.”
Finally I was dressed and heading down the road on my bike. I tried to tear it up as much as I could to try to make up some time from my turtle like swim.
The first half of the ride was mostly up hill and it was a killer, my thighs were burning. After the turn around at the entrance to the Copper Mine I was looking forward to an easy downhill ride. Unfortunately, I met up with that same nasty head wind that plagued the swim. It slowed me down a little but I just pushed to the end.
Once again at the transition area I had to take extra time to change legs from a walking leg to my running blade.
The run was a short three miles. I wanted to run a faster pace but I was spent. I probably needed to eat another Gu packet but I forgot to grab it when I switched legs.
My finish time 2:22. If you do triathlons you know that is a pretty slow time, but I am proud anyway. The only person I compete with is myself. I believe that pushing yourself to do something out of your comfort zone and doing it is one of life’s greatest and most invigorating joys.
Mission complete. I completed the 2013 Daybreak Triathlon.