- Mark Lamb
I'm already a reluctant runner. So when the creator of Connect Running Clubs, Brandon, asked me to participate in a Triathlon I knew I wasn't only going to be a reluctant runner, but a tortured triathlete.
But I did it, want to do another, and learned at least 5 things- one from each portion of the race- start to finish.
Learned this will be the closest thing I'll ever be to the original athlete of the Olympics. People that show up and participate in triathlons are basically naked. All I wore was a pair of tri-shorts - essentially spandex with a logo. My tendency was to be grossed out by my own physique, much less anyone else's- but I had to shift my thinking into believing we were tapping into the original Olympians who competed naked.
Mind over matter worked for me in the swim. I knew this was going to be the hardest portion of the event, so in training we often swam double the actual length. But we trained in a pool and the race was in a lake. It wasn't a big deal until 100 meters into the race I nearly had a panic attack with the realization I couldn't touch bottom and the guy beside me appeared to think I was his punching bag. I had to go to my happy place with Dorie from Finding Nemo and "just keep swimming... Just keep swimming."
Before you started, volunteers would write your age on the back of your calf. I thought this was cool. Made me feel young before the race started. Gave me a platform to judge people and how they looked. But at the bike it became a humility measure for me. I felt best about the biking portion. But getting passed going up hills by women with "67" on their leg makes me feel small and weak. So I was reminded of a quote by the founder of our company, Ken, "age is just a number."
It seems in every run some stranger wants to "pace" with your group. I think this person feels lonley and has been left by his own group. For this race- I'd never trained for the transition from bike to run. I was not prepared. Also, this race was on a trail. I don't run on trails because I'm scared of rolling an ankle and snakes. So the run portion was a bust for me- except for the guy that wanted to "pace" with us. He started motivating us to run harder. He pushed us. I hated him the entire time. But after the race I was thankful. So I learned that when I can't keep up my own group- find a slower group and punish them.
This Triathlon was only a sprint. It took us a little under 2 hours. And I'm fairly certain we beat maybe 12 people out of the 200 participants. But they had pizza, sports drinks and crazy people in spandex.
The running crowd is one thing. But the triathlete is something totally different. But I like them. The community and joy at the end made it all worth it.
I'll do another Triathlon because I'd like to add it to my bio line.
Mark is a creative, an instigator, and humorist living in Athens, GA. He has served with Connect Ministries as the leader of the WinShape Camps Experience Team for sometime. He is a reluctant runner-- only running with others because he always quits and sides with snacks when fronted with running alone. Mark likes to call himself a "marathoner" since he completed one. Follow Mark on twitter @marktlamb