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Failing My First Traithlon (and Why That is a Good Thing)

This past weekend I participated in an indoor triathlon at my gym, the JCC of Indianapolis, and I failed to finish after the first of three events.

Lack of Training

I started working out again six weeks ago. It turns out that my neighbors all have memberships so we’ve been all going, Mon thru Fri, and working out before work. It has been a combination of Couch to 5K and free weights. But what I didn’t do was train towards the triathlon, which was 20 minutes each of swimming, running, and biking.

I only got into the pool once.

I Didn’t Black Out

So when I show up the very first event right out of the gate is the one that I knew I would do poorly at—swimming. I got into my trunks and tried to pysch myself up reminding myself of my modest goal of 7 laps. I’m a very poor swimmer and have difficulty putting my face into the water. (I had thought that I had conquered that with swimming classes over the summer. In the heat of the triathlon I reverted to bad form.)

I swam for everything that I had. Freestyle down and backstroke back (to get a bit of air and rest). I managed to do 10 laps! Way more than I had originally hoped! I was elated!

I was also getting dark spots in my vision. I could feel my blood sugar crashing and it wanted to take me with it. Shaky, I climbed out of the pool I’m thankful that I didn’t fall back in. I sat on a bench, breathing slowly to calm myself down for a few moments and then stumbled to the locker room, where I realized I wasn’t going to be able to continue.

Why This is A Good Thing

While doing the walk of shame out of the building I started to think about how I could turn this failure into lessons learned.

I need to improve my eating. I’m sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that my poor eating contributed to my problem.

I need to keep training. For the next triathlon I plan to do dry runs to make sure that my body is up to it.

Failing is never easy. It is important to realize that each failure is a learning experience that you can use to improve.