Our sport is one that attracts driven, tough, goal setting
individuals from all walks of life. We see moms that want to be
healthier for themselves and their families, we see corporate executives
looking for the next big challenge and we see groups of friends that
rally around an event as a way to get together each year. We are blessed
with a great variety of individuals that compete for their own personal
creates the perfect triathlete is not what we see on the outside as
much as what is on the inside, a hunger and passion to be the best one
can be and to test their mental and physical boundaries. While certain
body types are more easily predisposed to handling a triathlon with
greater efficiency on muscles and joints there is no certainty that
being small and slender will get you to the podium. Look around and you
will find athletes with a few extra pounds, those that are far taller
than everyone else and even some that struggle with one particular
portion of the race. The stars of any given race are seldom those that
ran the fastest, had the best bike time or even swam the course the with
greatest of ease.
The perfect triathlete I contend is not the one that is genetically
blessed enough to have the largest set of lungs or the strongest legs
but the one that is able to pull themselves up each morning and make
that day of training count regardless of how they feel, what stresses
their day holds or how windy and cold it is outside. It’s a habit of
self discipline and courage.
As soon as my race season ended last year with another, but most
memorable, IRONMAN Arizona finish, I thought to myself, what's next?
It's always - rest, recover and then TRAIN FOR WILDFLOWER! It's one of
those races you can't just show up to "have fun" or have a "catered
training day." Are those types of races out there? Sure, but Wildflower
isn't that race and that’s what makes it perfect for people like us,
triathletes. It's the bucket list race of all bucket list races. It's
one of those you have to start frantically training for WAY too soon in
the season because you don't want to suffer. Suffer you will, but the
race, the race experience, the venue and the people will make it all
Some decades ago, standing on the deck of the UCSD pool after a
rigorous master’s swim workout, I overheard two college students.
“There are a lot of very fit athletes here.”
“Yeah, but not many healthy ones.”
conversation intrigued me. What did they mean? What was the difference
between fitness and health and where did I fit on that continuum? Some
weeks later, I surmised, the claim was in reference to the dozens of
world class triathletes who constituted the noon-time workout. And the
reference inferred that as you move into the upper echelons of elite
multisport and gain a superior level of fitness, you necessarily
sacrifice basic health.
If this was the case, I wondered if there were to be costs to my
colleagues and I as we chased titles around the globe, training
excessively without the modern benefit of technology-based bio
information. Was our desire to win through performance causing us to
lose through the sacrifice of simple health? The answer(s) to those
questions were to come much later when age, illness, time, and tide had
washed over us.
As any human being who’s read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
knows, you shouldn’t ever be without your towel. Any self-respecting
Wildflower Triathlon veteran knows that the same holds true for life at
the Woodstock of Tri, along with a few more essential items. Below
you’ll find a quick top ten of must-have/must-do items and actions to
make your life easier at Lake San Antonio.
Book/Chair. There is very little in the way of cellular coverage in the
park, and one of the joys of this race is disconnecting from the
digital world for a few days. Bring a book you’ve been meaning to claw
through, and a comfortable folding chair in which to read it.
2. French Press. There is also not much in the way of coffee around
the park, and what there is usually requires a long walk to retrieve it.
Bring a French press so mornings are a little more civilized.
Open water swimming can be exhilarating, liberating, and a little scary.
I’ve competed in over 200 open water swim races and triathlons,
volunteered as a safety paddler at a number of triathlons, and
instructed junior lifeguards for nearly a decade. I’ve learned that
with proper preparation, anyone who can swim can swim in open water.
The three most important things to do to prepare for open water swimming
are: 1) swim in open water; 2) swim in open water; and 3) swim in open