Soccer evolved into swimming in high school, where I tried my first multi sport event – the Greenlake Biathlon in 1979. Triathlon was in the early stages then, and I did not do one until 1984 at Western Washington University, and one at Lake Padden in Bellingham the same year. After college, life changed, and I dropped the multi sport habit for work for the next 15 years or so.
Back in those years, I did do some scary things, probably the scariest, was jumping out of an airplane. In 1979, the Issaquah Parachute center existed, and I made 5 jumps, preparing for a 10 second free fall, that I never did, due to school and financial considerations.
I came back to Triathlon in 2006, but had yet to find my Tribe in RTB, which happened in 2009.
Chris: I see you have a swim workout on Monday and Wednesday evenings, how do I sign up?
Patty: How much swimming have you done?
Chris: I swam in high school and college at UW.
Patty: Oh, you need to come to the Tuesday morning workout at 5:30am.
Chris: 5:30am? That’s kind of early, why not the evening swim?
Patty: No, you need to swim in the morning workout!
Chris: (sheepishly, reluctantly), ok
It took a while for Patty to allow me the option of coaching a swim workout, which I did Wednesday’s for a while. Unbeknownst to me then, my future wife, Andriette, was in that workout.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation). There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I put this to practice when I signed up for the Skaha Ultra Swim in Penticton, BC, this last August. Swimming 7.38 miles (11.8km) was a major challenge that I am proud of completing. Finishing 5th out of 80 finishers, first in my age group, missing Scott Lautman’s (Long distance swimmer – English Channel etc. and Olympic qualifier) age group record from 2004 by 14 seconds (2:56:59 vs 2:57:13 for me). I still have a few chances to get that record, if no one else does.
A typical Tri for me goes like this – solid swim, often first out of the water, get passed on the bike and slog through the run, as I seem to have lost the running speed I used to have as a youth. I took Brad Williams words of wisdom to heart, when he said, “it is more about participating and not winning” for most people.
Given that approach, I believe I have a few more years left in me to participate.