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On my way to being a triathlete

I’m not a team player. I never have been. I prefer to do things on my own. It could be due to always hearing “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.”

That is what I always liked about running. It was just me and the pavement. Sometimes I will run with other people but for the most part it is just me.

I wouldn’t call myself cocky but I do pride myself on things that I accomplish. Personally, it makes me feel good. Bored with running, I wanted something more to do. When I came across this quote and it stuck with me, I knew what I wanted to do:

“Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!” – Commander Collins, USN (1978)

The Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon in 1978 was the first modern long distance triathlon. At this time there were long distance competitions but usually consisted solely of running, swimming, or cycling and were mostly done relay style. Participants consisted of members of the Waikiki Swimming Club and Mid-Pacific Road Runners who always debated which group was more fit. During this time Commander John Collins had recently read an article in Sports Illustrated about a Belgian cyclist named Eddy Merckx who had the highest recorded “maximum oxygen uptake” of any athlete ever measured making cyclists more fit than anyone. Collins and his wife, Judy, had competed in other triathlons held in and around Mission Bay, California. He suggested the debate of who was the best athlete should be settled through a race combining all three long distance competitions that had already existed on the island: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 mi), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles), and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 mi). None of the competitors realized that the 115 mile bike race was actually done in two days.

Collins realized shaving 3 miles off the course and riding counter-clockwise around the island, the bike leg could start at the finish of the Waikiki Water and end at the Aloha Tower, the beginning of the marathon.

Before the race, each athlete received 3 sheets of paper listing the rules and a course description. Handwritten on the last page was the quote from above. While thinking of a local runner who was well known for his demanding workouts, Collins said, “Whoever finishes first, we’ll call him the Ironman.”

Of the 15 men that competed, 12 finished. The world’s first Ironman is Gordon Haller. He completed the race in 11 hours, 46 minutes, and 58 seconds.

(Sources: Iroman.com and Wikipedia)

I know some of you are thinking, “Who wants to swim, bike, and run for that long?!?!” Well, lots of people do, 1,800 matter of fact. Those are the lucky ones. Yes I said it , lucky ones. Every year, THOUSANDS try out to get one of the coveted spots in the Ironman Competition. You get a spot by qualifying or winning in a “lottery.”

Back to the quote. When I first read it I said to myself, “I want to have those bragging rights!” One year I would love to go Hawaii to compete where the Ironman originally began. Due to limited number of people chosen, this may never happen and that’s OK. There are plenty of other Ironman competitions that occur throughout the world.

But, before I even think about tackling the Ironman, I have to work myself up the totem pole. Right now, I am in the dirt.

So I, Shanika Lynette Pichey, am going to enter and finish my very first triathlon. It will be a Sprint Triathlon (500m swim, 10 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run). Definitely far from being an Ironman but hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?

In about 2 weeks I will begin training. I am giving myself 3 months to train (the race is 3/27/2010). From the books I have read, this is ample amount of time for a beginner.

Now as you can see I didn’t title the blog something like “Time to tri” or anything referring to the sport. This blog will be about my life; as a mom, wife, beginner triathlete, and any other goal that I want to accomplish in my life.

So come along! I’ll try to make this as fun (and painless) as possible.

~Shanika

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you! One of the reason that I decided to write about this experience is because I want to show others that ANYONE can do this.

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