I tri'd it, and I liked it (kind of)

So, I guess I'll start off by introducing myself.  I'm Jesse.  It's been a while since I've blogged, and feel it's high time for an update.  We'll start off with the event of the summer - the Bountiful Triathlon.  It's a pretty prestigious event, and I'm sure most of you have heard about it.  The following is a perfect regime on how to barely finish a triathlon sprint with one of the slowest times.

It all started several months ago when my sweet, sweet brother-in-law convinced me that I should sign up with him and do the triathlon.  Another brother-in-law (names withheld in both cases for privacy reasons) said he'd do it too.  The triathlon is a sprint, so the distances are relatively short and the best racers complete the event in a little over an hour.  I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to try to get into shape, so I agreed to do it.  The next item on the agenda was to start training.  Since the event has three parts (hence TRI-athlon), I'll break this into three parts as well.

Swimming - I've never been the best of swimmers, so I figured that swimming is what I shoud work on the most.  *Holy cow, not to change the subject, but I just found out what smells worse than burnt popcorn - burnt kettle corn.  Ew, someone in this building made a huge boo-boo and it's going to stink the rest of the day.  Wonderful.  I'd like to continue writing this post, but the smell is too overwhelming; plus, I shouldn't be wasting work time on the blog.  On the other hand, if someone is inconsiderate enough to burn kettle corn, I think I deserve a little chance to blog.*
Now, back to the subject at hand: swimming.  My family has had a pass to a local rec. center for several years now, so I thought I would take advantage of my pass and swim in the mornings before work.  I decided to start swimming twice a week.  This was about two or three months before the tri, so I figured it was as good of time as any to start swimming.  The first day, I think I swam two whole, entire laps and was completely exhausted.  Many of you might think that would cause me to quit.  I decided to give it another chance, and the next day, I swam the 7 laps (350 m) - which is the distance in the triathlon.  Keep in mind, mind you, that I did not swim the entire distance without stopping.  No, after every lap (or 1/2 lap for that matter), I had to stop for a bit and catch my breath.  After a few weeks of training I had to travel for work, went on vacation, then went to scout camp.  Needless to say, I didn't swim for about three weeks.  After I got back, I went swimming one morning and was able to swim the entire distance in under 10 minutes, which was on par with the top swimmers from last year.  Unfortunately, I didn't build on this momentum, but let my confidence sway me to not swim anymore and focus on the other two events.

Biking:  I have an old mountain bike that sat in my basement for the better part of four years, and fixed it up so that it was in riding shape.  We also bought a bike trailer to haul the kids around.  My theory was that if I ride my bike pulling the kids, when I raced, I'd be 100 pounds lighter and zip through it.  I think I rode the bike 3 or 6 times before the race.  The highlight of the bike training was when I was trying to make it fun for the kids by going fast down a moderately busy road in our neighborhood.  A quick synopsis:  the clamp came of my bike as did the safety strap, all while I was gaining speed down the hill.  I looked back to see the kids rolling down the road behind me, with the trailer clamp sparking as it scraped along the ground.  Fortunately, there were no cars at the time, and the trailer quickly stopped rolling thanks to my new friend, friction.  I don't know who was more scared, me or the kids.

Once again, thanks to the wondrous internet, I was able to find a picture that accurately illustrates what happend.

#3) Running.  This is short because I didn't run.  I figured that since I played basketball once or twice a week, and that it was only a 5k run, I'd be good.

Training summary - some swimming, even less biking, and a little bit of basketball.

Day of the event.  The Bountiful Triathlon is a little unique in that it is reverse order: run, bike swim.  My theory is that because the swim is in a pool, they have the swim last to prevent over-crowding.  This turned out to doom me, as I will soon point out.

First up was the run.  As soon as the gun fired we were off.  I kept up with the leaders for about 20 yards then slowly started to fall back.  By the time we were out of the parking lot, my thighs were burning, and I wanted to quit.  Apparantly, running back and forth with frequent stops for offensive and defensive plays on a basketball court does not translate to distance running.  However, I was determined not to fail.  I figured the biking and swimming would be much easier than the run, so I kept going.

Bike.  Earlier, I mentioned that I had a mountiain bike.  Mountain bikes are great for riding - on dirt roads in the MoUnTaInS.  Thanks to a police radar cart, I was able to verify quite accurately that riding a mountain bike allowed me to reach a top speed of about 16 mph, where the road bikers were easily 20-22 mph.   Needless to say, by the time I finished the bike, combined with my slow run, I was near the back of the pack.  Say what you will, I am chalking the bike failure was due to equipment rather than lack of training.

Swim.  As I neared the rec. center, I thought "At least I can do the swim in a decent amount of time."  Boy was I wrong.  My state of couch-potatoness had my legs in such a jelly state that I could barely waddle from the parking lot to the pool.  I swam the first lap fairly well, then realized that I was utterly and completely exhausted.  I ended up doing the backstroke for probably 85% of the swim.  However, I finished, and there's plenty to be said about that.  I think I've taken enough of your time for one day, let's hope for a brighter tomorrow.



TKAK said...

way to go Jesse :)

Candis Ellis said...

I want you to know that I am reading this while my kids are asleep in the next room and I AM CRACKING UP...to the point of tears!!! This is absolutely hilarious, but I am so proud of you for finishing.

I don't think I will ever get that mental picture out of my head of you turning around to realize your bike trailer was undone! SO FUNNY!!

Jess said...

I'm glad my misery gave you a good laugh, Candis.

Emilie said...


Ah the Triathlon experience. Someday I may have a good one to share. http://thinkingaudibly.blogspot.com/2008/09/it-came-i-survived.html

First of all, I think it is LAME that they switched the order! I'm sure your theory is right, but it's lame all the same...more chance of people drowning because they are SO exhausted.

Second, it TOTALLY makes a difference what bike you ride. A HUGE difference. I unfortunately know that from experience too.

Congratulations for finishing.

R Clan said...

Through all the loud bursts of laughter and almost falling off my chair I want to tell you GOOD JOB Jesse. At least you finished!

Johnston Family said...

How have I NOT yet heard the story of you & your kids biking experience? DIED laughing! That is straight from a comedy right there. But I think that it is Awesome that you did it. And...BONUS... you got a flippin sweet free shirt out of it. Bru-haha!

Jane said...

Me and Aaron are laughing out loud, you are too funny. My favorite part is the bike training.

C.J.JACK said...

It's not about how you cross the line...it's that you crossed it! You are the coolest nerd ever, or the nerdiest cool person I know! I think it's AWESOME you finished a triathalon. That's on my bucket list, now! You are a reat writer...so funny.