What I Learned From My First Year in Triathlon

I used to think that triathletes were crazy. They pay expensive registration fees, expensive gears and equipment, then they swim, bike and run!  It was as if they were paying just to get hurt.  I could only imagine what they had to go through.

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I started in XC mountain biking, then running until I finally decided to become a triathlete because I wanted the challenge. I met my coach, Kristiane “King” Lim (#KingLimCoaching), who trained and prepared me for my first triathlon which was an off-road triathlon.  I only had a month of swim training then jumped to my first open water swim which was already on race day.  Whenever I try to look back, I could only laugh at how gutsy I was.

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Triathlon is not an easy sport. It is not “three sports” but a sport with three disciplines. Aside from seeing and feeling the changes in your physique, you learn to be patient, to persevere, respect, manage your time and expenses,  build camaraderie, and value hard work.  This isn’t something you can achieve overnight.  Keep your head on the clouds and feet on the ground.

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Among the three disciplines, I hated running the most but I had to learn to love what I am weakest at and it eventually pushed me to run my first full (42K) marathon. It wasn’t easy, it was painful, but the feeling of crossing the finish line was all worth it.  Some of my friends have been asking me to try an ultra but I have no plans of going into that direction yet.  I’ve noticed that runners have an edge in transitioning to Triathlon.  They already have the endurance, speed and leg power.

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I’ve always been a beach bum. My dad was a scuba diver and he would often bring me to the beach every weekend when I was younger.  Learning how to swim was easy for me.  I’ve met a lot of people who loathe the thought of swimming in the sea that there might be sharks or other creatures that may attack anytime.  Whenever I do an open water swim, it still scares me that I can’t see anything in the abyss.  Even if I’m looking at that direction, I try to keep my mind busy by imagining “more pleasant things”.

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Biking is my favorite (or maybe everyone’s favorite?). It is fun, you get to go places and it’s safe for your knees.  I once had a colleague who asked me, “Isn’t biking easy?”.  Well if it’s just biking in the park, it is.  But if you add hills, mileage and speed, that’s a different story.

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What I love most about joining triathlons? I can eat whatever I want without getting fat but in moderation, of course.  I already lost more than 20 pounds. Training helps me to destress as it releases happy hormones.  Anyone can get into triathlon.  Whenever I hear someone say, “I’m busy” or “I don’t have time”, I say if you really want it, you have to make time.

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