There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

Pregnancy is a binary condition. You either are or you are not. There is no “little bit pregnant.”

I don’t have original citations for those quotes, but they lead perfectly into this announcement.

For those who don’t really know me, I have to tell you what is probably in the minds of many who do know me well, right about now, or at least most certainly will be after they see the end of this post. “Here goes another Andy project where he gets all fired up at first, dives in headfirst, and then fizzles out.”

They’d have reason to say so. I was going to be the next Body-for-Life winner in 2000. That died in 5 months. I was going to be an amazing home winemaker. That is ancient history. I have been talking about the beehive for 5-6 years now, yet I canceled my scheduled pickup this month, and the woodenware still sits in the garage, boxed up.

Half-done projects fill a closet, and my list of abandoned hobbies is longer than some folks list of books they’ve read beginning to end.

So if I were a 3rd party observer to this blog, I would probably put good odds on this guy reaching another saturation point of beginner’s excitement that will wane soon, and in a year have him saying “oh yeah, that triathlon thing. Remember when I did that?”

But I’m not a 3rd party observer, and I do know what is happening in my life. And it goes beyond a new hobby or interest. I am going to bed at night and getting up early. I finish small things I used to let go. I schedule better and I’m not late for everything. I snap at the kids far less (can’t say never, yet). I don’t eat everything that is in front of me. I mow the freaking lawn. (This one is huge.)

So with that probably-too-defensive preamble, it’s time to lay out the plan for year one.

The switch was thrown on Dec 1, 2010. I keep mentioning that date. Even though it did not happen without weeks, months, even years of prelude, it is a day that will stick in my mind the same way an AA member can name the day they quit drinking.

Without rehashing the day, I will say that I set some pretty minor goals. OK, the first one was a 1/2 marathon in 13 months, which is hardly minor. But the other fitness goals were very timid. They were of the sort that said “aim low so you can’t fail, thereby risking embarrassment.” And they were a necessary start when I had no idea what it even felt like to move under my own power for more than 20 minutes.(The exception was Disneyworld, October 2010. The magic of my children experiencing that place was a performance enhancing drug.)

Goals began to change and grow as this blog came into being. The first milestone was shooting for a Sprint Triathlon finish in Lewisburg, August 20. That was a big step up from the goal to just do the swim as part of a 3 person relay.

By March, the goal was to complete the pool sprint distance by April 30. Got it done. Then, like a moron, I signed up for TriRock Annapolis, and holy cow, I finished that too.

The switch is on. I have two speeds, sedentary and ridiculous speed. (I do run the risk of going plaid of course, and if you don’t get that joke, check imdb.com.)

So here’s what a reasonable person would do: focus on the time for August, and just train for that one event. It’s still an achievement. But that’s just not enough for a guy who wears a purple DOUGHBOY shirt in a race. It’s also not enough for someone who is trying to change the old habit of doing just enough to get by and then stop progressing.

Some of these events were registered a long time ago. Some of them just got added. I will not be trying to recreate this year in 2012. But with the momentum I am building, I thought this could be the year I just go all out with various types of races, in lots of places, and then next year, I can focus on a couple choice longer more challenging events.

OK OK – here’s the race schedule for 2011.


Feb 13 – Snowfest 5.5K trail run (in huge snow pack)

April 2 – Night Flight 5k trail run (in the dark)

April 23 – Robbins Run 5k

April 30 – Danville Sprint Triathlon

May 14 – TriRock Annapolis – Sprint



June 4th: Northern Tier Athletic Fund Triathlon – kayak, bike, run in Sayre. This is a small event that just seemed to fit the schedule. I am also scouting it out to figure out some transition issues for an event I would like to plan. It’s also a chance to get in a kayak tri before Chilli Challenge.

June 11th: Sunbury YMCA 5k – by now, a 5k is just that day’s training run, and we get to have the kids do a fun run.

June 25th – Tri Tri Again! – This is something I signed up for a long time ago. A short pond swim, short trail run, a short mountain bike trail. Then do as many laps as you can start within the 3 hours. I hear the bike course is very rough, so I am happy to do 2 or 3. I will be trying the whole thing in my vibrams,

July 9th – Wildlife for Everyone 5 Mile Race – Allenwood. Mid-Penn Trailblazers production. Good people at all their events.

August 6 – Beach Bum Triathlon – Hilton Head South Carolina. This is the second year we’re taking to the road to catch up with old friends from Lycoming College and crash their houses for vacation. As it happens, our lovely hosts Elaine and Jason Lake are not too far from this event, so I’m heading out to the beach. This is a hard beach bike ride and run, so definitely taking the mountain bike.

August 20 – LARA Sprint Triathlon – This is a target event. I knew about it before most everything on this list. It happens to be the morning of our 17th wedding anniversary. This is the one I am inviting family and friends to, so they can cheer as part of TEAM DOUGHBOY. I even have tshirts.I hope to do it in under 2 hours, and I plan to place in the top half of swimmers. 300 yards in a pool. Child’s play.

August 27 – 5K Open Water Swim – Hazleton. You read that right, 5K SWIM. I can’t maintain this reputation as the Walrus without a serious long distance swim. It has a 2.5 hour cutoff. It’s in a lake, in August, so wetsuit is still up in the air.I will definitely be putting in serious swim training for this one. This YMCA has done 1 and 2 mile swims before, but this 5k ius an inaugural event, and I would love to be a first-time finisher. But it’s only a stepping stone to eventually do this. And that still seems like a cakewalk compared to this event, that fewer people have done than have climbed Everest. A guy needs dreams.

September 3rd – Dandelion Run – Camp Mount Luther. After years of watching the finish to this run, and every year saying “next year I’ll run it!” Well, finally this year, I will run it. And I’m doing the 10k. I even have this nutty idea to carry the weight I’ve lost for the first 5k lap, then drop it for the 2nd.

September 17 – Dewey Beach Triathlon – this was a late addition, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to do a race on Olivia’s birthday, at the beach no less! The bike is very short for this, and flat, the run is standard for a sprint, but the swim is longer than a usual sprint, and it’s in serious water, so this is a good one.
October 15 – Chilli Challenge – Montour Preserve – This is one of those events I thought about doing in a relay, back in December. It’s a kayak trip around the lake, 2.2 miles. Then 20 miles of some hilly terrain on the bike. Then 4.75 miles run. This will be my most significant distance out of the water yet. It is definitely a challenge. I had thought about doing a TriRock Gettysburg Olympic the next day instead, as it’s my Mom’s birthday. But Meghan is running the Hershey half-marathon that day, and I don’t want to conflict with that. Besides, that would take away from the epic nature of the final event in my year one lineup……

November 12 – 5150 Series Finale Olympic Distance Triathlon – Clearwater Florida.

This is the go big or go home moment. A full Olympic distance, run by the same company that does Ironman brand events. 1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run. It’s definitely something that will take the months of training I have yet to do. But as the timing worked out to shoot for an Olympic around that time, an opportunity arose. I am flying to Florida for a couple of days to do a wedding for an old dear family friend on 11-11-11. That’s a Friday night. The race is Saturday morning. I’ve worked out the check in logistics, and even researched flying with a bike. As it became apparent that it was feasible, it seemed to me this was how it had to go down.

Oh yeah, and then there’s the event that got the ball rolling in the first place.

Jan 7, 2012 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon

So there is my completely psychotic lineup for my first year in triathlon. Truthfully, most of them are no more challenging than what I’ve already done, just with novel twists or venues that fit into vacation/travel plans. There is something of a progression once we get to fall. Like I said, go big or go home. Once I get that first Olympic (International) distance under my belt, then the game enters a whole new phase. Longer distances are nothing to trifle with. The training is intense, and I hope to move beyond HTFU (happy to finish upright) and actually improve times. I have early sketches of ideas for 2012, but I can’t decide them yet. Look how much my initial 2011 goals changed once I got moving.2012 will be different, but moving forward. Always moving forward.

It took almost an hour to do this post, and I am now well past my new bedtime. Must sleep. I may run before the kids are awake. Things are definitely changing around here.


One thought on “Go Big or Go Home

  1. Just found your blog through my sister-in-law Sarah. Her hubby is the Camp Mount Luther director. Anyway, love the content here! As another big guy trying to live longer for his kiddos, I can totally relate to a lot of this! Congrats on the accomplishments thus far. I’m signed up to do 4 sprint tri’s this season with the first coming up in ten days. Sarah is trying to talk me into coming out to do the Dandelion Run, too. So I may see you there! Until then, train hard fellow triathlete!


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