Why I don’t do triathlons…

An ancient picture of Pancake with PeeWee. This is when I first got him (the bike) probably about 7 years ago.

Chances are if you are a runner, you have found yourself in a situation similar to this:  You are at work, or a party, or some group situation.   Conversation turns to your running somehow and a friend or your spouse says “Clea (or you) just ran another marathon, or 100K, or 50 miler or whatever.”  And someone in the group inevitably responds, “Yeah, but so- and- so did a triathlon.”  Instant Ohhs, and Ahhs by everyone else present.   Triathlon trumps running, every time.

Once I really liked the idea of doing triathlon someday.  I even got a book on it.  I researched cycling and not being able to decide between a road bike or a mountain bike, ended up with both.  I did some long rides, well for me at least, the longest being 30 miles.  But I realized I triathlon probably was not for me.  Here’s why:

1.  It’s expensive.  I bought a used road bike from a friend and at the time it was still a big chunk of money.  From what I understand, a road bike would get  laughed out of most tris, as you need a tri specific bike.  Don’t ask me what all goes into a tri specific bike, but they aren’t cheap.  Then you need bike shorts, helmet, bike shoes, etc.  And you need more than one pair of shorts if you are riding more than once a week.  There are also tri specific suits to do all three sports in, wet suits depending on how warm the water you are swimming in is, and the list goes on.  Then inevitably if you just get the basics, you hit a point you want to start upgrading.  Yikes, even more money.

2.  The swim.  I don’t have a pool.  I don’t belong to a country club.  I never did any swim team type stuff.  For me to start up swimming I would need to pay to use a pool somewhere, and probably get some type of lessons if I wanted to swim with any level of efficiency.   I love the idea of being able to go for a nice long swim to recover from hard runs, but getting me to the point I could do that would take a lot.

3.  The time.  I barely can do one workout a day.  Most of my friends who do tris do 2-3 workouts a day.  I sometimes run and do yoga, or run and do a short ride on the trainer, but never a long, serious session.  And, I am not a fan of people saying “you could find the time if you wanted to”  Yes, I could.  I could do away with sitting down to a movie with my non-endurance junkie husband, I could skip having a glass of wine and catching up on my friends’ blogs, I could let my housework slide.  But, all these things are important to me, and while once in a while I skip it all to do yoga or cycle,  but getting rid of things that are my downtime all the time may not be the healthiest thing.   I have friends that do Ironman with the demands of family and job, and I admire them for finding a way to balance it all.  How they do it is really beyond me.  Even when I trained for ultra runs, I put in way less time then my triathlete friends.  I guess everyone has their line to draw somewhere, and my limit comes before an Ironman’s.

Now, I never said I would never do one.  Who knows, maybe someday when Jasper is in school I’ll have more free time than I know what to do with.  Maybe injury or my crazy arthritic feet will force me into running less, and I’ll gladly start supplementing with other activities.  But I don’t plan on it in the immediate future.  I’ll enjoy my “just doing marathons” for now.


2 thoughts on “Why I don’t do triathlons…”

  1. Man, it’s like you peered into my brain – not kidding! Living here definitely fuels the tri bug; the tri ‘aura’ is constant. Like you, I bought books, researched, then came back down to earth. I like running – while tri’s are intriguing, I think there will be time for that later on.

  2. First of all, I have to say that I love when you put Pancake pics up! Not that I don’t enjoy seeing Jasper..it’s just that my parents always had border collies (and still do) and Shelby is 1/2 border collie, so I’m pretty partial. That being said…

    I understand the triathlon thing. My sister does the sprint level ones and they don’t seem too bad…so I thought about getting into it. It might have something to do with being competitive with her about it (I mean…when was she ever into doing athletic stuff…whatever. 🙂 ). But yeah…the cost of biking is insane. I would rather focus on longer distance races (already have a half marathon in my sight for next year) than start biking or swimming when I’m not really that interested in either. And I view marathons and longer distance races just as “oooh and aaaah” worthy as tris.

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