Em ơi! #317: Highlights From My First Triathlon

Sorry about the sketchiness/relative badness of the art on this one.  I have not had what could be referred to as “free time” lately.

So, the triathlon.  When I first started running, I was kind of overweight and not really very good at it.  In my first 5k, which I ran with my brother Daniel, his then-girlfriend Claire (I may have mentioned them once or twice), and a couple friends of theirs, I finished almost last.  Not just last in my division, but last.  It was great in some ways, because it was a lot of fun to run with everyone, but coming in so close to the end was a bit humiliating.  I didn’t run another race for about two years.

I’ve since got to be a much better runner and recently I’ve been placing in the top 20 in my division and much nearer to the top overall.  People who have met me AFTER a lot of weight loss and hardcore training seem to have this idea of me as a natural athlete, and that just isn’t the case.  I always remember where I used to be…and sometimes, I get to revisit those times.

All in all, I didn’t have a terrible race (except for the swim portion, which was terrifying).  I inhaled about half the lake, and coughed for the rest of the day.  Despite this, I did finish.  Will I do another?  I don’t know.  I might.  I’m off swimming for a while and just relaxing before I have to throw myself into marathon training in earnest.  Of course, the purpose of a race is not to win, and how I placed is largely unimportant compared to how I felt during the race.  But this was definitely a challenge.  I still have somewhat mixed feelings about it.  Glad I tried it though.

I should add that in panel 3, that orange pyramid is the buoy I’m supposed to be swimming toward.  Panel 5 did actually happen.  And I did actually shout “REALLY?”  The guy holding the flags to direct us all around the turns didn’t seem to get it.

Here are two photographs Bryan took of me, one before the race, one after the swim portion.  For two more fun photos, click the “photos” link at the top of this page and put in my number (1354).

This comic is classified under:

GV1060.73 L86 2010

For:

Recreation. Leisure–Sports–Track and field athletics–All-round athletics–Triathlon

5 thoughts on “Em ơi! #317: Highlights From My First Triathlon”

  1. I was bored at work so I started reading your comic. It’s interesting to read a comic by and about people you know.

  2. Glad it got you through the boredom. It’s a little exhibitionistic to *write* a comic about yourself and people you know, that’s for sure…glad you found it interesting.

  3. Were you running when I met you? I don’t think you were – you’d just come back from Vietnam, I think. It’s been interesting to see you develop as an athlete. I still sometimes feel like you’re a natural athlete anyway, even though I saw the “before.” 🙂 You were doing all your martial arts stuff then, so as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been doing *something* athletic.

    1. At that point, I’d been running in a not-too-serious-way for a couple of years – about 1-3 miles at a time, sporadically, mostly to relieve stress. I ran my first 5k (the one I finished last in) in the fall of 2005, and we met right before I did my second, in the fall of 2007. I had just embarked on the Diet and running was a good way to increase my calories burned, allowing me to eat slightly more…and then I sort of kept running because I enjoyed it. 🙂 But yeah, I had been doing martial arts for quite a while, too…

      The first part, getting to be able to do three miles comfortably without stopping, was really the hardest part, since I didn’t have a training plan or any idea what I was doing. By the time I got to three miles, I had sort of figured out how to increase my distance, and from there on it was just more of the same. I read an article yesterday which suggested that those of us who are not naturally fast tend to figure out that we can get some degree of glory through persistence (that is, by going farther and farther). I think that’s probably what happened to me.

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