The following report was written in two stages, prior to and after my participation in a triathlon.
Back in September 2008 I received notice that the CNIB’s Lake Joseph Centre, in partnership with the “Joe’s Team Triathlon”, was organizing a triathlon team for Canadians with vision loss.
Having participated in several duathalons back in the mid 90’s, I had an idea what was involved and through my name into the hat. It’s been ten months now, and the event is two days away. I think I’m ready, but to be honest, having never undertaken the three different activities concurrently before, I’m just a little apprehensive.
The race involves a 750 meter swim, a 20km bike ride, (On a tandem bike), and a 5km run. Maestro, my guide dog, will be watching from the sidelines, along with the other 400+ participants, volunteers, and supporters. There are 18 of us non-sighted participants still in the running, having started off with just over 30.
The “Blind Guys” (www.blindguys.com) have raised over $20,000 in pledges that all will go towards cancer research. I think it’s really cool that a bunch of blind people can get together like this and raise money for such a needy cause – after all, cancer affects all of us directly or indirectly. It was the financial support of Ottawa’s Knowledge Circle language training centre, and their students and teachers, that made it possible for me to attend.
My training has involved running on a tread mill, biking on a stationary bike, a rowing machine for the upper body, and laps in a public pool. More recently however, I’ve begun using a product called Swim Cords that fasten around your ankles and use bungees to connect you to the pool ladder. The Cords allow me to swim continuously in my 24-foot above ground pool without having to worry about hitting the end of the pool with my fingers.
Through out all the training, I’ve managed to drop 26 pounds, and I’m now down to 206 pounds – not bad considering I’m 6’3”. The hardest area on the body to lose weight from is the stomach. I’m still a 38” waist, which isn’t too bad, but what really concerns me is all the new research out now that identifies stomach fat to be the most harmful fat a person can carry due to its being extremely toxic and active. Oh well, more work on that front to come.
It’s now been three days since I ran the race. Did very well and I’m extremely pleased. My partner Cecil and I may not have shattered any records, but our one hour 50 minute total time was more than respectable.
My training was more than sufficient. I know now just how much effort is needed to complete the race in one piece. In spite of my taking a fall at the beginning of the run, I had no problem with the five KM. I’m certain that next year I’ll be able to reduce my total time.
Joe’s Team raised over $800,000 in funds for cancer research. The Blind Guys Team kicked in $20K of the total. Next year we should be able to double this amount at the very least since key race infrastructure such as the tandem bikes are now in place.
I can’t say enough about the great feeling I have to be part of this amazing event. The Joe’s Team Triathlon is the largest fund raising triathlon in Canada (400 participants), and would have even been bigger if the site could have accommodated all those who wanted to participate but were turned away.
I also feel great about having accomplished the race in such good form. Again, my guide was excellent and the Blind Guys Team organizers were just fantastic. A big thanks to everyone who made the event and my participation possible. Joe, if you read this, keep up the fight man, we are all counting on you to participate next year and, more importantly, continue to lead on this charge to find a cure for cancer.