First thing is first, I’m wearing a triathlon suit and yes, it’s supposed to be that tight. In October 2019, I announced that I would be competing in my first ever triathlon in September 2020. For those of you who are interested in the process, I want to keep you in the loop. This post will be a brief update on how training has gone so far and what it will look like in the coming months. To me, anything in life is more meaningful with context, so if this is the first that you’re hearing about this race, I would read this quick blog. However, if that’s too much effort, let me give you this gist…
I’m doing this race because I haven’t found my limits and I know that if I don’t push them, I will never come close to them. I’m doing this race because I truly believe that only through struggle do we find strength. I’m doing this race to show anyone who is willing to watch that physical boundaries are mental boundaries and that mind/matter isn’t just a cliché. I’m doing this race because I want to show my circle that hard work pays off. I’m doing this because I know that the process will result in growth and that is more valuable than anything that can happen on race day. I’m doing this because I want some pressure and accountability. I’m doing this to spark something in someone else that they never knew was inside of them. I’m doing this to learn and to be a better person. I’m doing this to show you that fear and hesitation don’t have to stop you. I’m doing this to show you that whatever it is you want, you can get. I’m doing this to show you that struggle brings strength. I’m doing this to show you that mind matters.
I’m doing this for you.
But enough about that, here’s the training update.
SWIM [1.2 miles]
In the beginning of this year, I had the privilege of heading to Turks and Caicos with my fiancé and my family for a week-long vacation. I can’t just sit on a beach, so naturally, I thought that the ocean would be a good place to practice swimming. To say that I was humbled during an open water swim is in understatement. I struggled to swim for two minutes, let alone go in a straight line. That experience left me temporarily discouraged and afraid. The thought of swimming 1.2 miles in open water suddenly became more daunting than it ever had before. However, after a few minutes of wallowing in self sorrow, I realized something. I might not be great at swimming right now, but that is the exact reason that I’m doing this race in the first place. I want something that scares me; something that makes me think “I can’t do this,” because I am going to prove me wrong. That experience kicked me into gear and at the end of the week I had spent hours in the water was swimming 10 minute continuous chunks (in a pool) and was able to accumulate 1.0 miles in a single session. The swim is still daunting to me, but I feel better than I did a few weeks ago because I worked at it. When it comes to the swim, I’m going to control what I can control and I’m going to take action. I know that with consistent hard work and intentional practice, the swim will come along and I’ll be fine.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
Bike [56 miles]
This is where I feel the best. I have some strong legs and a lot of drive which combine to help me thrive on the bike. I haven’t been out on the road much and I the biggest focus for me in the coming months will be getting used to riding on the roads and shifting gears to be as efficient as I can. However, as far as endurance is concerned, I’ve been able to cover 44.0 miles in two hours on a trainer (indoor bike) on multiple occasions. I feel powerful and in control with my feet in the pedals. I need to get used to riding hills (and then coasting) because the course that I will be on has a good amount of elevation. I also need to better understand how to fuel during the race; I need to experiment with taking in calories while on the bike so that I can optimize endurance for the race. Overall, I feel confident that could ride the full 56.0 in less than three hours and I’m looking forward to getting accustomed to cycling on the road as the weather warms up.
“The legs feed the wolf.” Herb Brooks
RUN [13.1 miles]
I’ll be honest, running has taken a backseat during the winter months but I’m itching to get back out there in a fresh pair of shoes. Before it got cold, I was able to bring my run up to a comfortable 10.0 miles at an 8:00 pace (7:45 was the best). I’ve never been a runner, and I still have a lot to learn, however, I know that this is going to be a mental battle more than anything else. The run is what ends the race and at this point, I’ll be running a half marathon (which I’ve never done) after having been moving for three to four hours; it’s going to be hard. So, to be realistic, a race pace will look closer to a 9:00 minute mile and the coming months will be focused on building mileage not so much speed. I want to continue to build a strong aerobic base and work through some tough runs in preparation for what will most likely be the toughest run of my life.
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” Dean Karnazes
Overall, I’m feeling good, but I know that I still have a long road ahead and a lot of sweat to shed. I’m excited to ramp up the training intensity as spring rolls in and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of the love and support as I embrace the process. Whenever I don’t feel like training I remind myself that this race is bigger than me. This pursuit is about showing you that “you can” in everything that you choose to do. Before I end this blog, I need to give a special thanks to Michaela Horst for cheering me on, working out with me and taking pictures for me – you’re the best and I love you (I promise not to workout too much on our honeymoon!)
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” John Bingham
Don’t ever give up.
Thank you as always for your support.
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT