How I became a triathlete

Well, it was quite a long journey. But there’s a happy end 🙂

1978 – 1982
As a young child I had a lot of issues with my ears. I mean, I sort of lived on antibiotics and suffered from one infection after the other. I actually never decently learned how to swim and also became quite frustrated because all other children swam a lot better than me. Competitiveness runs through my veins …
1984 – 2002
On the contrary cycling was my cup of tea at that time. I was lucky to live that close to school I could always cycle to school. From 6 years old to 22 I have always cycle to school. Also after school I kept on cycling, mountain biking, etc. I love bicycles. I like to maintain them and try to do everything myself. I even have a bike mechanic diploma because I want to be able to fix most stuff on my own.
2002 – 2004
So after a while it became clear that I should try out some competition and I joined a cycling team. Not on a mountain bike, no, that was too obvious. I learned the famous Belgian specialty of cyclo cross. Without a lot of training, I must say, I was able to stand between semi-professional amateurs. Also, the tougher the race was due to weather circumstances I had better rankings. And when it came to running in the mud with the bike on my shoulders, I was one of the best. When other’s gave up because it was too tough, this animal was feeling great.
2005 – 2010
After a few years I quit the team, bought a house, got married and started to miss my sporty past. I needed to find something new to start moving my body again. So I decided to start running. To my it was an obvious choice. I joined a local running team in the town where I moved to, got to know new people and learned how to run 5k and 10k races. At that time it was perfect as running takes less time to train than cycling.
After a while I wanted more. I wanted to become faster, better, stronger. And so I found a coach to help me. Somebody to help my with my running technique, provide me with the training schema’s and push me to the next level.
After a while I became better and started to run more. I also learned that my body is fragile. I suffered my first injury and had to rest for 2 weeks. After those 2 weeks I wanted to get back where I left off, and trained hard to get up to speed again. But then again, I got inured again. I actually had a stress fracture in my right foot due to training too hard in a short amount of time, because I was too eager to come back after my first injury.
This year started with my foot in plaster due to the stress fracture. After 6 weeks I could start rehab and learn how to run again, but this time very easy, step by step. Thanks to a wonderful physician I was back in no time and 6 weeks later I was running again. First in his own garden, later on soft surface and then again on the asphalt. Lesson learned: my body is not built to only run or cycle. I need both to cross-train and to become stronger and have a good mix in the muscles I train. Also what became clear from the foot fracture, was that I had little or no core stability. My legs have always been quite strong, but I always neglected my upper body. So I started to train to improve my core stability and I learned that I should keep doing this to improve my running posture. Swimming was a no-brainer. I started swimming again, first in a swimming pool, later on in open water.
And so we have the pieces of the puzzle together. I registered for my first triathlon and even before competing my first triathlon I already registered for 2 more this year. By the end of September I will have competed in 2 quarter distance races and 1 half distance race. Added together that’s 1 full distance triathlon 🙂 My training schedule now has a mix of swimming, cycling and running and my body loves it. It is the mix of the 3 sports that is perfect to me.
During winter time later this year I will take some swimming technique lessons because I am not the best swimmer compared to others but that’s no surprise. For now I am really enjoying swimming in open water and I feel that I’m already improving just by practicing every week.
Next year I will also compete some quarter and half distance races. But I will be obedient and listen carefully to my coach 😉
Keep training,

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