Return to Triathlon

Monday, September 15, 2008

On September 14, 2008, I completed my second triathlon. After 5 years, I am returning to the sport I first tried in 2003. It was September 13, 2003 when I first tried to do what seemed to be the unthinkable for me - swim, bike and run in the same day. An Aquarian, I have always loved the water and can spend hours swimming in a pool, but I do not really biking and I hate running because of the stress the sport and my heavy weight put on my legs.

I knew I would want to do triathlon again, but I was not sure when that will happen. Middle of this year a group of officemates were trying to learn to swim. I am far from an excellent swimmer but I swim long enough to offer a few tips. While I did attend swim classes in high school and college, I was mostly self-taught. I view myself as an intuitive swimmer. By sheer passion for it, I learned to swim the free and the breast stroke for up to 2hrs straight at a relaxed pace - becoming bored way before my body gets tired. I was never fast, in fact I think I'm average, but I know how to swim without getting tired easily. And so my officemates and I will trade experiences and learning techniques. The little that I know I shared. I am not sure if my technique is correct, but my greatest self-discovery in freestyle is learning how to roll my shoulders and body with each stroke, allowing my arms to reach farther and my body to do some of the work involved. I picture myself as a streamlined screw efficiently boring through just below the water surface. I learned this by watching how the Olympians do it. I still remember my teen hero 1998 Seoul Olympian Matt Biondi of USA and recently I get inspiration from greatest Olympian ever (so far), Michael Phelps.

My frequent exchanges with my new swimmer-officemates bring back memories of those years when I was quite active with sports. From 2001 to 2003, I picked up a variety of sports - badminton, dragonboat rowing, underwater hockey, running and triathlon. I did not excel in any but I was having a lot of fun trying them. I was far from being a natural athlete, but during those years my nerdy self was at its fittest form. My officemates now are also getting to be more active. Four of us even tried a 5K road race. I am also itching to be fit again. Two years of being dog crazy has left me spoiled and plump like the toy dogs I show and breed. I thought it was unthinkable but my 5'7" frame ballooned to a high 205 lbs! Slowly our interests intensified and goals converged, until eventually we summoned the will and courage to sign-up for a mini-triathlon - a first for three of my officemates, the second for me after 5 years of lethargy.

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