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One Step At A Time

This is the first of a series of columns chronicling my journey in training for my first sprint triathlon.

My athletic career “peaked” in high school. After sneaking into the final varsity spot on my cross-country team, I proceeded to run at the state meet … and take second to last. And I’m pretty sure last place got injured.

Safe to say, I was far from an athletic freak.

So, to be honest, the idea of a sprint triathlon was less than appealing.

But, with the second annual Independence Sprint Triathlon approaching on June 27, organizer Brian Joynt doesn’t want people to be intimidated to try the 500-meter swim, 15-mile bike ride and 5-kilometer run.

In fact, in eight weeks, Joynt said people can go from couch to triathlon.

It just so happens that from Wednesday (today), there are eight and a half weeks until the sprint triathlon.

Challenge accepted.

Joynt breaks down the training cycle into three parts: Building your base, ramping up the workouts and tapering off.

Building your base sounds easy enough.

On the bright side, I will see significant improvement from the first day because, well, I have no base right now.

“Whether you’re getting out and running for 30 minutes without stopping, swimming four laps without stopping or getting used to riding a bike if it’s been a while, you’re working toward getting your fitness level up,” Joynt said.

For the first three weeks, mixing up workouts among the three events is key. Joynt also recommends picking a time goal, and then working out for at least that much time during the week.

After pumping myself up for this endeavor, I had visions of sprinting toward the finish line with the Chariots of Fire music blazing in the background. I would revel in my accomplishment, and channel my inner Kevin Garnett and yell, “Anything is possible!”

Just days into my training and one thing’s clear — anything may be possible, but right now, a sprint triathlon seems about as doable as climbing Mount Everest.

I did run a mile, though it felt like I had completed a marathon. I have swam for half an hour, then had trouble lifting myself out of the pool. As for riding my bike, well, I haven’t even touched that yet.

It’s those moments after a workout that I question my sanity and wonder just what the heck I’ve gotten myself into. I am not fit enough to run away from a zombie outbreak, let alone a sprint triathlon.

But, early struggles are to be expected.

“Have fun and don’t get discouraged,” Joynt said. “You’re not trying to win any type of world records or anything. … Rather than trying to prove yourself to other people, you’re proving to yourself that you can do this swim, bike and run.”

So, no there won’t be any confetti streaming down when I finish this sprint triathlon. But after a few days of training, I can already tell you when June 27 rolls around, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences I will feel.

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