What am I doing???
Im writing this for those who are unfamiliar with my favorite hobby. For those who dont know, since its first appearance in the Olympics in 2000, triathlons have become one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Ive noticed that evertime I do a triathlon people tell me "good luck on your marathon, or how was your marathon?". Understand the confusion, but Ive only done one marathon by itself, so I'll explain a little about triathlons and the different distance types here:
Origins of triathlon:
The first known trithlon was in San Diego, 1974 in Mission Bay. It was a 5.3 mile run, 5 mile bike, and 600 yard swim in this order. It started at 5:45 p.m. and ended with the aid of car lights shining out over the Bay. Then, the triathlon concept was brought to Hawaii in 1978. To make a long story short, several Navy Seals, stationed in Hawaii, were arguing, over some beers, of course, as to who was the best athlete - the swimmer, cyclist or runner. One member of the group, a John Collins, suggested they combine the longest endurance events on Oahu into one race and called an 'Ironman' which consisted of a 2,4mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run.
What is it?:
Basically to be called a "triathlon" it has to be a race consisting of swimming, biking and running. There can be many distances though.
4 main distances, shortest to longest:
Sprint: ¼ - ½ mile swim, 8 to 15 mile bike and 3 mile run
Olympic: 9/10 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Half ironman (70.3): 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
Ironman: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.
With my race sept 10th, Ive now completed all of these distances. Im most proud of the Ironman (see my other blog). My time for that was 12hrs and 48 minutes. Ive now done 2 half ironmans, with my best time being 5 hours and 58 minutes.
Did you win?
Unless you train professionally it is extremely hard to win these events. The pro Ironmen will train 8 hours a day, 6 days a week. Putting in at least 300 miles on the bike, and about 70 miles on the run, EVERY WEEK! So I have a job and a life, making my time a little more limited. Divisions are seperated by gender and age group. Im in the Male, 25-29 division, which is pretty competitive. Ive found I do best, the longer the race is. My highest ranking in my division so far has been at Ironman Arizona where I was 61st of 148 in my division and 15th of 148 on the run by itself. So I still have a ways to go. Most like myself go for PRs(personal records). Just try to push yourself to a better time with each race. I also do more weight training than I should, and extra muscle can actually slow me down, but Im ok with that. Swimming is my weakest. Ive found I can swim virtually non-stop but my pace is roughly 40min a mile, so not very fast there. In the past few months my bike has improved the most, my run is up to an avg of about 8min per mile if Im feeling good.
Equipment & fees:
Is triathlon expensive? Definitely. Is it a sport of the affluent? Not necessarily. In this way I equate it to golf. You can have the best equipment or a cheap pair of clubs. You can go to the public course or the country club. For me, I started off with a couple sprints last fall, where I rented a road bike, and the race cost was small, about $90 each. these events always have road closures, and numerous other cost, which is why we pay. Just like golfers pay to use a course. This year Ive invested more, just because I enjoy it so much. A QR tri bike ($1500), Stealth wetsuit($400), plus uniforms, running shoes, goggles, etc. The bike I bought is where the tri bikes start, they can go as high as 12k, if your professional you'll usually have a bike like this. Bike and equipment upkeep is another cost. Then theres the hotels, which Ive had to get for most of these, except the Long Beach races. Because who wants to drive 3 hours at 4am? The race cost are higher, the longer the race. The Ironman I did was $500 to participate. What really sucks is for the people who drop out during the swim, or dont make that first time cutoff. Theres no refunds!
Why dont I see it on TV?
Of course it will be on in the next Olympics, but this sport is long, and since it doesnt allow drafting on the bike portion, it's harder to televise. For the officially sanctioned ironman events, theyll usually televise an hour recap on Fox sports for the region its in. As of now California has no official Ironman evens, just half-ironmans. The closest one, is the one I did in Tempe, Arizona which takes place every April. That one will be re-broadcast this Oct 8th and 9th at 12pm. I hope to see myself on this getting passed by the pros, since it was a 3 loop bike course. The Hawaii world championship is shown on NBC.
My race schedule:
So this is what Ive done and what I'll be doing this year. I really love this sport because it keeps me in great shape and its fun to try to beat my old times. the italicized ones are the ones completed at the time Im writing this.
2006 Race Schedule
2/05 Pacific Shoreline Marathon - Huntington Beach
3/18 California Half Ironman - Oceanside
4/09 Ironman Arizona - Tempe, AZ
7/30 Vineman Half Ironman, Sonoma County, CA
9/10 LA Triathlon - Olympic
9/24 Long Beach Triathlon - Sprint
9/30/06 Rosarito to Ensenada 50 mile "fun" ride
10/15/06 ' Tri Club National Championships - Olympic, Las Vegas
11/04/06 Catalina Island Triathlon - Sprint
December through February, no races )-: but Ill still be training for the Oceanside half Ironman in March. Ive met a lot of cool people from this, especially through the LA tri club. And it's a great hobby to keep yourself active and in great shape, so I recomend it to anyone whos up for it.