Learn the Sport of Triathlon and See Your Fitness Soar: Guest Blog by Tom Saulsbery

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Crossing the finish line, Dublin City marathon, 2000

The following is a guest blog by my good friend and tri-trainer extraordinaire, Tom Saulsbery, an 8-time Iron Man, among other accomplishments. Read on and consider taking up this fun and very rewarding sport that will keep you at the top of your game for years to come. Thank you, Tom!!

Remember back about 6 months ago when you came up with those New Year’s resolutions? Do you even remember what they were? Kind of running shy on self-discipline and perseverance? Are you hanging your head, feeling like a weasel and looking for Scotty to beam you up and away?

Well, it’s now the first day of summer and a great time to give yourself another chance. This time, however, resolve to have fun while achieving something physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging yet so rewarding. Triathlon. Yup. You know, the swim-bike-run event that most folks can’t spell correctly–and yes, it is all done the same day! The beauty of the sport is that you only compete against others in your age group, and you can choose from among a variety of distances. This makes the training doable and able to fit into your real life.

There is no need to be intimidated. Triathletes are a great group of human beings. They are supportive, encouraging, and willing to help you. It really is less about competition and more about participation. Triathletes are positive, goal-oriented, and happy! Why not! When training for triathlon, you fall into a healthier lifestyle with a ready-made support structure surrounding you. Tri coaches don’t care if you finish first or last. You are out there training, giving it your best, and all of us respect that. During a race, you are only competing in your own age group (5-year increments). Who cares who the overall winner is when you are out there with those just like you? They, too, are juggling jobs, families, and all sorts of responsibilities. See, you have no good excuse not to give triathlon a shot.

Already I am hearing some whining, sniveling, denial, sobbing, excuses, and an occasional tear shed out of fear! Please see Ms. Katt. She is handing out the Kleenex. I’m not. Why? Because you can participate to some degree. I have faith in you. Why don’t you have some faith in yourself?

“I’m too old.” Bull. People are doing triathlons into their 80s.

“I can’t swim!” OK, so do a duathlon. It involves just biking and running.

“My knees are shot. I can’t run!” OK, so do an aquabike. Swimming and biking.

“Wah-wah-wah…I’m not sure…wah-wah-wah…!” OK, then be part of a relay. If you’re a runner, get a biker and swimmer and, voila! you have a triathlon relay team.

See, there is something for everybody. Don’t let fear hold you back!

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Out on the road during an Iron Man race

Getting started may seem complex but after a while you will fall into a routine and balance training intensity and duration with a sensible nutrition and hydration regimen. You will get stronger, you will feel more alive, you will lose excess weight, and you will more than likely be sharing all this with some training partners. Like I said before, it’s the healthy lifestyle that is its own reward.

Participating in a triathlon is a great experience. It is an individual effort where you don’t need four other folks and a basketball to get a sense of accomplishment. When you cross the finish line you have that humble awareness that you have achieved something special. No one can take it from you.

Talk to other triathletes. Find a coach. Attend a seminar or workshop. The pieces will start to fall in place. Give triathlon a chance. It is one resolution that you may never let go of!

Train smart, smile extra, and be safe!


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