“Triathletes have the stupidest looking shoes. . . .”
“Yeah,” I said.
“. . . And the most over-the-top bicycles, too.”
“I know. God, I would never want to be one of them. And yet . . . There I was at Barnes and Noble looking for the newest issue of Runners’ World, which wasn’t out just yet, and the Triathlete magazine was in its place, just staring back at me. And I thought, ‘I swim. I bike. I run. So maybe this magazine will fill that particular Runners’ World-shaped hole in my daily reading.’ You know?”
“Yeah, I get that.”
“But I feel like I’ve crossed some kind of mental Rubicon. I really don’t want to do a triathlon. I mean, I like doing all of those things, but I don’t want to feel like they’re an obligation, like I’m training. And I don’t want to have to do two workouts a day to keep from short-changing swimming or running or biking. Triathletes are just so fucking serious all the time about training and eating and gear and everything.”
“Mhmm.” There was a bit of ‘Jeff doth protest too much’ in that “Mhmm.”
“Seriously. I don’t want to do a triathlon.”
That’s the conversation that I had a couple weeks ago with a few coworkers after I said that I was going to try doing flip turns at the pool.
So when Caroline asked me if I wanted to do the NYC Triathlon next year, imagine my surprise when I answered with my own question: “What distance?”
I can swim the 1500m of the Olympic distance. That’s less than the mile that Lisa and I were swimming every Saturday in the middle of the season last year. I can ride 40km. Easy. And I can get myself to running a decent 10K in short order. I want to run a half-marathon sometime in the next year, after all. Doing them all together will be something new, but my longer rides this year were mostly in the 4-6 hour range, which is what I’m conservatively estimating for a triathlon.
So I said yes.
Mostly I just want to prove to myself that I can do it.
Of course, this all hinges on getting selected in the registration lottery, which isn’t a sure thing. But if I get a number — and I hope my erstwhile teammates do, too — I’ll be the rookie who’s swimming awkwardly, riding hard on a regular road bike, running in subdued shoes, and not taking himself too seriously.