Thursday, August 18, 2011


I competed in my first triathlon last weekend in Wood River.  This was a 500 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and 4 mile run.  The swim was held in a pool.  Competitors completed 9 lengths of the pool in a serpentine fashion.  The bonus:  less than 5 foot deep at any time during the swim.  Also, competitors were started every 15 seconds so the swim was relatively uncrowded.

As of the 1st of the year, I could only swim 10 yards.  A week before the triathlon, I was able to swim 450 yards without stopping.  Granted, this was the backstroke, but it was still swimming.

I'm still learning to swim the crawl.  I bought a video and book from an author named Terry Laughlin.  He specializes in teaching people how to swim long distances with a minimum of effort.  The lessons have been good, but I am still having trouble getting the breathing right.

However, the basic premises of his methods work just fine for the backstroke as well.  So, this winter, I will be working a lot more on the crawl.

I did finish the triathlon.

Since I started 7 minutes after the clock started, I received a time of 1:19:16.  This put me in the top 100 out of 397 finishers.  I achieved my goal of finishing a triathlon before I turned 50.

Good things about the triathlon:
  • Good snacks
  • Early start
  • Lots of supporters
Not so good:
  • Biking in wet shorts
  • Running in wet shorts
  • Running after biking.  I much prefer biking after running in the triathlons.
So I guess it's time to really ramp up the swimming so I can do an open-water triathlon next year.


  1. Good snacks are always a plus. Well done on the tri!

    The swimming is what gets in my way, and I have way more swimming experience (and therefore far fewer excuses) than you. Way to put me to shame. :)

  2. A friend of mine on Daily Mile recently swam 37miles around an island.

  3. Congrats on your first tri and completing your goal! I struggled to swim more than a lap or two for months when I first started. Stick with it 3x per week and you'll eventually have a break through.

  4. Thanks for the support. Learning to swim while approaching the age of 50 has been quite a hurdle. I can see progress, but I've got a ways to go.

    And Patrick, you may want to mention to your friend the advantages of a canoe or kayak.