In it's original form, triathlon was supposed to be an individual time trial in three sports. There are even penalties for drafting or receiving "outside assistance" during a race. Supposedly it is the quintessential, individual sport.
But does anyone get to the finish of an Ironman race alone, completely under his or her own mental and physical power?
I suppose there could be some stud out there who never doubted his own ability, never struggled, never turned outside himself in need of assistance or encouragement. Show me that person, and even if it is true I'll show you an insufferable egotist. More likely, it is not true, and he's either self-deceived or ignoring the elephant in the living room--his own shortcomings.
Can someone reach the finish line of an Ironman alone? I don't know, but who would want to?
This weekend, I did not take to the open water alone. Who would want to?
I did not sweat on the bike alone? What's the fun in that?
I followed someone who had been there before, someone who has taken any number of TNT trainees through their first open water swims.
I followed in the tracks of an Ironman.
Who better to show the way than a pathfinder?
I had to be in Dallas this weekend on family business, and Boomer took me to Lake Grapevine, the same place the Team In Training swims on Thursday nights. 2400 meters later, I had again learned more about how to be successful in open water--what to do with my brain in the middle of the swim when it feels like no progress is being made as well as how to balance the body, breathe, and swim effectively in some chop kicked up from the wakes of boats.
Then, on Sunday it was off to White Rock Lake on a top 10 weather day of the year for a moderate four hour ride. I got to test the new gearing on Carmen Tequilo, and she was totally sweet, smoothe a silk. 38/53 in the front and 12/27 in the back--it was like having half a dozen more options than before. Wildflower would have been somewhat less disasterous with that kind of setup.
And no trip to the Metroplex would be complete without dropping some cash with Lance Armstrong's original sponsor--the Richardson Bike Mart.
Yeah, I supposed I could have gone solo riding and swimming this weekend, and I suppose the physical benefits would have been about the same. But I do an individual sport, not a solo journey.