When you’re starting your journey into the world of triathlon just keep this in the back of your mind – Triathletes …. aren’t … normal.
And anyone who says the sport of triathlon is ‘normal’ clearly has a screw loose ……… or they’re also a triathlete.
‘Normal’ sports are netball, hockey, karate, basketball, football, cricket, squash …… I think you get the idea. ‘Normal’ people only look to master one discipline, and their allocated time for training and competing during an average week is 2 to 3 hours. But for a triathlete that’s just enough time for a Saturday morning brick session. What the?
Ask yourself this question. How many people in your office at work, could walk out their front door tomorrow and swim 1.5km, ride 40km and then run 10km ……. All at once?
A triathlete chooses a lifestyle that most people can’t understand. It’s so far away from their definition of ‘normal’ it scares them. I know, because it used to scare me. I listened to my neighbour bang on for 5 years about this wonderful, mysterious sport and at no point did I think he was doing anything sane. Meeting people for an 80km ride at 5am in the middle of winter in the rain. How is that fun?
Well actually. It is.
So when I say triathletes are abnormal, what do I mean? Well firstly let me share a personal example: Three years ago, if you told me I’d be salivating over the next Black Sheep Cycling release in order to shell out over $350 on a new cycling kit (one kit) I’d assume you’d just taken up smoking crack. I’d never spent that much on normal clothes never mind a thin piece of Lycra that doesn’t have inbuilt seat warmers. Now, I need Mrs Tri Monkey to hold me back.
And I’d happily take out a second mortgage on our house in order to upgrade my TT bike. (Fortunately for our finances Mrs Tri Monkey won’t let that happen).
And what normal person has a TT bike?
So how do you know if you’ve crossed the line from ‘normal’ to ‘abnormal’? What are the signs? How do you know when you’re a triathlete?
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Garlic bread is now a treat meal
- You struggle to find a place to put your groceries due to the amount of Gels, Bonk Breakers and Carb bars you have in the pantry
- You find yourself speaking a language that includes phrases like: “You’re not training properly unless you’re on power” and “Is this carbon?“
- You’re on a first name basis with your physio and introduce them as your ‘good friend’
- 5:30am is a sleep in
- You don’t leave home without a bidon of water by your side
- The amount of clothes containing Lycra in your wardrobe outnumbers the ones without.
- You know where Kona is and you’ve investigated the price of flights
- Holidays are planned around races
- Your legs are shaved – and you are not female
- You have an ironman logo tattoo
- You feel guilty unless you exercise every day.
If any of these things ring a bell, you my friend are a triathlete.
My advice. Acknowledge it, embrace it, own it. Be proud.
I may not make the podium but that doesn’t matter. I’m a triathlete and happily the fittest I’ve ever been in my life. I continue to do things that until recently, I never thought possible. I’m learning how to eat properly, exercise regularly and make like-minded friends that are also crazy. More importantly, I am easily recognised at my school reunions as I still resemble the person in my high school yearbooks. (No beer gut here)
Triathletes aren’t normal. And that is unfortunate. The lifestyle that comes with being a triathlete is not only challenging, but also enlightening, enriching and filled with personal development for anyone who is prepared to give it a go.
Taking the first step into the world of triathlon can be very daunting and for some people quite scary. But my challenge to you is to do just that.
Take the first step towards being abnormal by going for a swim even though you haven’t been to the pool for 10 years. Add a couple of minutes of jogging next time you walk the dog. Dust off that old bike of yours and go for a ride around the block, and through this wonderful abnormal sport, I dare you to take control of your life one hour at a time.
Keep smiling Tri Monkeys