26 Reasons To Do a Triathlon


“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
– Napoleon Hill

Would you ever do a triathlon?

It’s a simple question, yet most people would not compete in a triathlon because they are scared of the swim portion. And by scared, I mean terrified. They say they don’t know how to swim or couldn’t possibly swim the length that is required.

The swim is generally regarded as the hardest part of the tri for most people. And it’s easy to see why: Swimming is the most technique-oriented sport of the trio & most people aren’t naturally great swimmers. So rest assured, you are not alone.

These objections were what I initially thought, until I decided to do something about it. I resolved I would not let this fear keep me from competing in a triathlon. What did I do? I got a pass to the U of C pool and swam LOTS (the majority of my tri training consisted of swimming), got a swim coach, looked at swimming videos on YouTube and analyzed the best swimmers in the world (I.e. Michael Phelps & other elite Olympian’s) to see how the swim is supposed to look and tried to emulate their form each time I was in the water. To answer these swim objections for a tri race, there are 2 options: In the pool or open-water. I would advise starting off in a pool for your first triathlon and if you enjoyed it, then do an open-water swim for your second tri. That’s what I did & it worked out great.


“The first and best victory is to conquer self.”
– Plato

With this is mind, and as per the title, here’s the list:

26 Reasons To Do a Triathlon:

  1. It’s summertime and winter will soon be here
  2. Opportunity to try a new sport
  3. Have fun and feel great about yourself
  4. Do something you’ve probably never done before
  5. Take advantage of playing a sport outdoors, in Mother Nature’s wonderland  
  6. Challenge yourself and be stretched in new ways
  7. Expand your outlook on life & sports
  8. Learn more about yourself and what you’re made of
  9. Know what you believe about yourself
  10. Meet lots of new people who, like you, are athletes and enjoy sports
  11. By learning a new sport you create new neural pathways in your brain to help you think better
  12. Conquer 3 sports all at once (kill 3 birds with 1 stone)
  13. Excellent workout and great for your health, sleep and well-being
  14. Releases stress and allows you to think better and more clearly
  15. Is a legal alternative for dealing with stress and frustration in your life
  16. The cross-training is excellent as you get to work & develop different muscle groups
  17. Accomplishment of a personal goal
  18. Personal satisfaction in seeing your success from beginning to the end, during the high’s and low’s
  19. Be a part of the journey (the goal) en route to the destination (not the goal)
  20. Life lessons you learn: Time prioritization, goal setting, money management, personal accountability 
  21. What you also learn: Character, integrity, dedication, suffering, struggling, discipline, follow-through & commitment
  22. Crossing the finish line on race day is the reward and the memories will last for the rest of your life
  23. Opportunity to share your story with others
  24. To be inspired and inspire others
  25. Now is the time to get fit and be more active
  26. Why not?

Triathlon #2 – Recap


“The rewards for those who persevere far exceed
the pain that precedes the victory.”
– Karen Bliss Livingston, Elite road racer

This has been a summer of triathlons for me. I just completed my 2nd triathlon of the season this past Sunday, August 11, 2013. The race was held in the beautiful lake community of Lake Chaparral, in south Calgary. Although I wasn’t able to have trained as much as I had hoped, due to injuries, it was a great experience and I was able to improve on my overall time from the last triathlon I competed in earlier this summer.


Here are my thoughts for the Post-Race Recap:


– It was long! Apparently, the swim went longer than expected as we ended up swimming 900m instead of the 750m
– The first half started off well and I was swimming great, but gradually my arms began to get tired
– It was a different experience swimming with fellow competitors in my heat all at once. My strategy was to stick to the outsides to create more open-water to swim in
– It was my 1st time swimming an open-lake swim


– Went really well
– It was my strongest event and the sport I was the most confident at
– On my 2nd lap I took advantage of the downhill’s and pushed myself to gain faster speeds to compensate for the big uphill coming back
– The hill wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated; being a long, gradual uphill I was on my highest gear near the top but kept pushing myself
– The volunteers were really supportive and encouraging throughout the run course & helped me keep going


“Belief triggers the power to do.”
– David Schwartz


– Had calf cramps on both legs at the beginning for several minutes after transitioning from the bike to run
– Was a long 5 km and I was really hot due to high temperatures (high 20’s Celsius)
– There weren’t any markings on the run which made it difficult to know where I was along the run portion
– Finished the race strong and ran with all my energy through the finish line & almost took out a competitor guy who finished just in front of me & had stopped right after he had crossed the finish line


– Secured a spot at end of rack closest to the exit, a prime location
– Had clothes and equipment well-organized to ensure a smooth & quick transition for both T1 & T2


– Completed 2nd Sprint triathlon of the summer
– Beautiful location for the event at Lake Chaparral community
– Achieved my 2 goals for this race: 1) To finish and 2) Beat my 1st triathlon overall time (which I did by over 6 minutes)


“Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”
– Rudy Tomjanovich

Summer Triathlon – Part IV: Post-Race Reflection


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Over this past May long weekend I raced in my 1st triathlon. It was held in Airdrie, and at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning it was raining – slowly at first and then gradually coming down faster. Fortunately, the rain held off and made for an amazing race day. I really didn’t know what to expect. I had one goal in mind: To finish, and I was able to cross the finish line! Completing this triathlon has been a personal goal of mine and has been 2 months in the making. I learned a lot through this journey & this is an accomplishment I am really proud of.


Here are the statistics and timing results:

  • Overall time = 1:40:18
  • Finished 53rd out of 98 people
  • Tri breakdown:
    – Swim 750 m = 20:08
    – Cycle 20 km = 51:38
    – Run 5 km = 28:32


“You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” – Mark Allen, six-time Ironman Triathon World Champion

Post-Game Analysis:

  1. Swim
    – Went better than I expected, thanks to all the training
    – Felt I was well-prepared and the swim went quicker than I thought
    – Helped having a volunteer count my lengths so I could focus on each stroke
  2. Bike
    – Was windy in some areas, but in one stretch the wind was with me & I was ripping at top speed!
    – Really glad I had a road bike, versus a mountain bike, as it made for a much faster and enjoyable ride
  3. Run
    – I was told my legs would feel like Jello after the bike ride, so I allowed for my legs to warm-up in the first few hundred yards and “touch the ground”
    – The 2nd & final lap was hard as it was the last leg of the race and I was running out of energy
    – Crossed the finish line and finished strong
  4. Transitions
    – Had a great spot in the transitions area at the front so I could exit the bike and run events quickly & efficiently
    – Was well-organized and had all my gear in place and ready to go


What I learned from this event:

  1. It pays to get to the site early to secure a good spot in the transition area
  2. Importance of pacing myself. From the start I had a marathon mentality versus a sprinters mindset as I had a big race ahead of me
  3. Rain – didn’t even plan for this! But was flexible with Mother Nature, and in the end it didn’t rain but was cool and overcast which made for ideal racing conditions
  4. Having my family there to support and cheer me on was huge (& they took awesome pictures!)
  5. During the run I noticed other athletes encouraging each other and I did the same. This helped me keep going, especially on the final lap
  6. There was one quote I thought about during the race: “Suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret.” This helped me press through at each stage of the race
  7. Crossing the finish line was quite an achievement and was a culmination of a lot of hard work, training, belief in myself & determination to finish the race. And what an awesome feeling it was!!!!


I’ll end with some quotes that inspired me leading up to this tri:

  • “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” – William Faulkner, American writer and Nobel Prize laureate
  • “The pain is temporary, the memories will last the rest of your life.” – Navy Commander John Collins & founder of Ironman
  • “If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race; it’s up to you.” – Dave Scott, US Triathlete
  • “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda, Major League baseball player
  • “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should accomplish with your ability.” – John Wooden, #1 UCLA Coach of All Time


  • “Just go out there and do what you’ve got to do.” – Martina Navratilova, Professional Tennis player
  • “Sports creates a bond between contemporaries that lasts a lifetime. It also gives your life structure, discipline and a genuine, sincere, pure fulfillment that few other areas of endeavor provide.” – Bob Cousy, NBA player
  • “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.” – Ronnie Lott, NFL player
  • “To succeed you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” – Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys running back
  • “The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.” – Horace Bushnell, American Congregational minister and theologian

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement & support for me in this endeavor!

Summer Triathlon – Part II: Planning for a Tri


“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”   – Paul Bryant


As I set out on the endeavor of training for a triathlon I quickly realized the importance of planning and preparing. I had a lot of questions about the sport, and I would like to share some of these practicalities in this post. Though this is not an exhaustive list, here are some factors that have helped me as I prepare for race day.

To begin with, there were some basic questions I asked myself as I played with the idea of signing up for a triathlon:

1. What triathlons are available and when are they? (For this I went to the 2013 race schedule)

2. What type of tri would I do? (To see the differences, see my 1st blog here )

3. What are the costs involved? (I.e. Registration & sign-up, equipment, rentals, etc)

4. Do I have enough time to train?


Once I had determined which race I wanted to do, I was able to get more specific with the research.

First, I searched Google as there is TONS of info on the Internet about triathlons for all levels. By putting in any search keywords related to “triathlons” I was able to quickly grasp the sport and gain an overall understanding of what’s involved.

Among many others, here are some websites I found to be helpful: ITU & ATA

Second, I went to YouTube to watch some videos to gain an overall understanding of the sport, as well as techniques I could learn for the various aspects of the tri (swim, bike, run, transitions).

I watched swim videos of elite Olympic swimmers to learn the technique, as swimming is the most technique-oriented sport of the 3.

A good tri video to watch is this one

One person I enjoyed learning from is Stephen Taylor, who is a professional endurance coach. You can search his name in YouTube, and one video I enjoyed is stamina.


“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Third, I made some calls to inquire about the following:
1. Indoor swimming pools for the best place to train for the swim. It’s hard to find pools with open lane times & I eventually decided on the U of C pool for training.

2. Clothing and equipment for the tri. For this I called a triathlon store in Calgary, Try It. They are located right across from the Bow River, and I had an excellent customer service experience. If you’re looking for clothing and equipment for your tri, I would highly recommend stopping in as they’re very helpful and offer great tips! Check out their website here

3. Places to rent road bikes. I have a mountain bike and would definitely want to be riding a road bike for the tri! I found out that both the U of C Outdoor Centre & Sports Rent rent road bikes for reasonable prices.

4. Bow Cycle for bike tune-up. Always a good idea before the competition to make sure the bike is in top shape.

In addition, I discovered it was a good idea to assess my abilities for each of the 3 sports. This would be important to know what sports I’d need to spend more training on, and where I’m already good at. For this I used a ranking system:

My abilities for the 3 sports:

  • Swim – 3rd best sport
  • Bike – 1st best sport
  • Run – 2nd best sport

I found this was good to do at the beginning as I could gauge my abilities to prioritize where to focus my training on. For me, since swimming is my weakest sport, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the pool swimming lengths and improving my stroke to feel comfortable and build endurance for the big day.

Next week, I’ll be writing about what I’ve learned through this journey. See you then!

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