May 22, 1988
Heritage Park Triathlon
Race transitions, from a first triathlon with 3,200 competitors in downtown Chicago to 320 competitors held practically in my own backyard in Olathe, Kansas. Now married, Chris and I competed in a sprint race held entirely within Heritage County Park. She came out of the water in 2nd place for the women’s division and completed the bike and run. She rode the only bike in the race with a kickstand. Mine was removed the night before to save weight on the bike. She knew better, with no kickstand, no embarrassment for me from other triathletes.
Also hoped not to be embarrassed by hyperventilating. Pat, a well decorated triathlete who swam with us at the YMCA said, “You look like a deer in the head lights”. Probably true. I stayed relaxed through the swim, cycling came off with no issues, and the running leg went as expected. Tri number two completed. Chris reached her 1986 goal and completed her first triathlon.
We trained together for the triathlon to build a strong bond, honor our commitments, push our capabilities, and achieve common fulfillment. She emphasized the fun because life is hard enough without adding it as an ingredient in fulfillment. I wanted in the race to be a competitor instead of watching as a non-contributor like an unselected project team member at work. Still officially honeymooners, we strengthened our relationship during training. A few years later a study conducted out of Indiana University confirmed exercising proved much easier when your mate worked out alongside. Spouses training together proved more supportive to each other. Researchers in the study tracked married couples who started an exercise program. In 50% of the couples, both spouses exercised. In the other 50% of couples only one spouse exercised. Over the course of a year, 43% of the individual spouses dropped the exercise program. In contrast, 94% of the exercising couples continued working out together. One binding factor included excuses to bail out were kept in check. Half of the quitters stated family responsibilities and lack of support from the other spouse resulted in their dropout decisions.
Together we smelled of chlorine a good portion of the week. We biked together on the roads in and around Kansas City and at a couple of parks we camped in during the build up to the race. To make sure we stayed married, we ran separately. The training promoted common activities for us to further develop a great relationship for honeymooners in love.
Chris – somewhere in the top 320
Doug – somewhere in the top 320