It’s a bit of a lifestyle, this triathlon “thing.” And even though I can’t call myself a true triathlete yet (…yet) I’ve done some duathlons and added the swimming to the point that my first Sprint is under my belt.
Because it’s really all about the training most of the time. Triathlon also requires a lot of transitions. From work clothes to workout clothes and back again. So here are 11 triathlon “things” that one discovers along the way.
- The smell of chlorine while you’re eating. It happens. Even if you whip through the shower after a swim session, the chlorine often hugs your skin. And while you’re downing a bowl of raspberries and strawberries, that rich smell of chlorine finds your nose again.
- That weird feeling of driving a car after you’ve biked 80 miles. It’s. So. Easy. People who don’t ride bikes long distances take driving a car for granted. Once you’ve begun the real training miles, the car feels like cheating to get somewhere.
- Those bags of equipment in your trunk or SUV. Your gear makes a rotating journey in and out of your vehicle. And there’s nothing like the feel of a freezingly damp swimsuit left in a vehicle overnight and you need to wear it for your next swim session. Talk about a cold dose of reality.
- Your collections of things to rub on your body. From chamois lube to sunscreen, wetsuit glide to good old body lotion, the triathlon world is one long effort to keep skin lubricated, safe and unblistered.
- That cabinet with all your fuel junk. Every triathlete eventually turns over an entire cupboard in their kitchen or somewhere in the house to house all the necessary Clif Bars, NUUN tablets or fuel packs of choice. Don’t worry, it’s a necessary practice of hoarding, not an indication of impending OCD.
- Water bottles out the yin-yang. You know it’s true. It’s matching the tops to the right bottle that matters. That really is an OCD thing at some point. So it’s best to accept that if the top fits, let it ride. And don’t forget the collection
of bottles left in your car. Those need to be washed. Pronto.
- So many bikes. If it’s not your bike that you’re piling into the back end of your car or lashing onto your vehicle, then it’s someone else’s bike as well. Bikes and bike and bikes and bikes. So many bikes. And though we try, we can’t ride them everywhere.
- Perpetual cycles of running shoes. Big training miles require big shoe transitions. You’re either wearing down your last pair or breaking in a new set. Most of us have more than one pair of shoes, and that’s a wise idea. Then there are the shoes we don’t quite get around to recycling or giving away. They hang around for gardening or trekking to Trader Joes. “Hello,” you say to those pairs of expatriated footwear lurking in the front hall closet. “I remember you. Let’s go run an errand.”
- Your triathlon friends. Generally, these are a collection of happily flawed people trying to make the best of “things”… ranging from their competitive efforts to their personal relationships. Triathletes (like anyone) are prone to say or do some stupid things along the way. Relationships are a big part of this supposedly solo sport. And that means participating in triathlon often consists of a long string of apologies for whatever shortcomings you find out about yourself or others along the way. But in one of life’s contradictory truths, that only makes you a stronger, better person in the end.
- A social media feed of everything “tri.” Let’s admit it up front. Everyone in triathlon wants “that body” with the sculpted abs, the perfect shoulders, legs of steel, perfect (blue/brown/green/gray) eyes and hair that looks like it fixes itself. Our social media feeds seem to suck that stuff up like a triathlon Black Hole. We only hope it emerges through us on the other side.
- A very intimate relationship with the bathroom. Taking care of “business” is one of the most important aspects of perpetual training. Getting that good dump to unload before a swim, a bike or a run is vital. And having to pee can be at least half as bad. So the toilet is a close friend, yet any toilet will do in a pinch. So to speak. Then there is the personal hygiene, ladyscaping and manscaping that must go on, lest something protrude or rub or appear unkempt should the inevitable nakedness occur somewhere along the way.
And there you go. 11 triathlon things we all know about. And are largely better off for knowing them.
TRAIN HARD • COMPETE WELL.