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The Breeds of Triathletes


Let’s all just admit that it takes a certain “breed” of person to become a triathlete.

Now, I believe that anyone can become a triathlete… but in doing so, the morph into the correct “breed” of person is required.


Loved this from @Running2Sanity on Twitter. She’s got the important stuff on her Kindle! 🙂

The Sprint-Oly Breed

You are completely sane. You are a fun, easy-going breed who is also hard-working and dedicated. You look at people tackling Ironmans like they are idiots. You want to have a real life and stay out of the ice baths and weeks in physical therapy. You know that you will reach your goals with the correct amount of work and dedication. You like to swim, bike and run a few days a week. You “tri” to better your life. You might been seen with your children on runs, or pushing a stroller in a 5k. You are relaxed and content. You have only seen your therapist three or four times in the last ten years.

*Note: There is a mutant breed of Sprint-Olys, however. Those who race only sprints and Oly distances for extreme spreed. You are fast and scary, and often have fancy tri suits with your last name on the back. You line up at the start of 5ks and often win.  You are fast and lean and like a greyhound. You are not crazy, per se. But you have bouts of insanity which may require some more therapy sessions (for the brain and the body).


The Half-Iron Breed

Your breed is a tad nuts. Beast Mode has commenced. You are not completely nuts, but just sort of googly-eyed and gangly. Like a pug.

As you morph from the perfectly sane Sprint-Oly breed into the Half-Iron, you lose about forty percent of your common sense. Dedication becomes more like a mild case of stalking. You send needy emails to your coach. You read books, blogs and articles until your eyes cross. The scary part is that you are envisioning the 70.3 sticker on your car, and it’s like the last piece of pie on Thanksgiving. You must have it, and it doesn’t matter who you have to take down to get it.

You started out liking to swim, bike and run, but now it’s just something that you do. Like childbirth. Today, I wake up and birth a painful bike baby of sixty miles. The Half-Iron is just someone you are, someone who now sees a shrink more often and sits in an ice bath once a week, licking wounds.


The Iron Distance Breed

Completely off your rocker. As you morph from the Half-Iron, you lose about ninety percent of your common sense. You have lost all connection and understanding with the outside world. To you, 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running makes perfect sense. You stare, blank and black-eyed, at people who say, “Why would you want to do that?”

You stare at them, thinking, “Why wouldn’t I? I must. I just must.”

Going to bed at 7:00 makes sense. Waking up at 4:30 is normal. Your therapist and you have a string-can-telephone attached from your house to hers.  Your physical therapist lives your garage. Sometimes, you wake up in the middle of the night to check on your bike. You love yourself just enough to work so hard at swim, bike and run—but you hate yourself just enough to put yourself through that much torture. And you think about doing it again.

*New video posted… still some “French,” but hopefully less offensive*

Okay… okay… so I’m being silly.

But as I was laying on my couch today, completely miserable and sick with Round 2 of the Christmas plague, the Expert chatted me on G-Chat about noon when I finally cracked open my laptop.

Expert:  You are alive!


What’s up?

Well, I just saw on Twitter that Ironman Coeur d’Alene still has 10 Ironman foundation slots left.  Meaning, you can register. All that big talk of yours.

[The Expert has been saying, on hard workouts, “I’ll just register for CDA and show you how it’s done.”  He’s the Expert. What can I say.  You all were warned.]

Expert:    Heck no, I’m not registering for that.

All bark, no bite.

No, I just love myself waaaaay too much to put myself through that.

[At this point, a lightbulb went off in my head.  Maybe even more of the WHY behind me tackling Ironman.  I realized that maybe, just maybe, I had recently morphed into the Iron Breed. I smiled and wrote…]

Me:          Yep. And I hate myself just enough to finish it.



  • Sarah F

    January 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I LOVE this post….. I too am training for Ironman this year. And I too have totally lost my rocker. But I know that when I cross that finish line, I will be unstoppable.

    We got this!

  • Brad

    January 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    This post is awesome. You depicted us Ironman Triathletes perfectly. I thought I was going to fall out of my chair at that video. Thanks for writing this.

  • Cindy S

    January 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Awesome! And this is my favorite part because this is me right now: “The scary part is that you are envisioning the 70.3 sticker on your car, and it’s like the last piece of pie on Thanksgiving. You must have it, and it doesn’t matter who you have to take down to get it.” And funny enough, I actually birthed my last baby last March in less time than it will take me to ride 60 miles! Haha!

  • Melissa

    January 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Amazing post. I am one of those Iron distance cuckoos. 140.6 totally makes sense to me. Did my first last year and plan on another in 2014! Good luck on your IM journey!

  • Allyson

    January 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I have the 70.3 sticker and now I have to earn it. Time will tell if I make it 140.6, hope so but I think I am only half crazy and one will be enough and then it’s halfs for this lady, half Ironmans and Half marathons. Waiting for Beast mode to kick in……

  • Connie

    January 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Bwah ha ha. that video was funny!!! I can see that I am slowly moving from first breed to the 2nd! I guess I will eventually lose my mind : )

  • Kelly

    January 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    That sounds about right. I’m at the point this year of morphing from the sane sprint/oly to the half-cocked half Iron. Pretty much about right, I was always half off my rocker anyway.

  • Txcristen

    January 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Those robot-triathlete videos are my favorite! I am still at the sprint-oly breed level and am totally happy to be here. My friends who even started triathlon after I did have surpassed me and and I am a wee-bit jealous when they complete another 70.3 or 140.6, but oh so proud of them too. Maybe in my 50s when my kids are in college…

  • Nancy

    January 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Hey there! I love your posts, but this one especially cracked me up. Having completed my first half ironman this past fall after doing a few sprints I could totally relate. My thoughts on the full ironman/woman? THOSE people are crazy. Seriously 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  • Therese Slechta

    January 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    im one of the 140.6 distance gals. I just did IM WIS last september and dummy me signed up again for 2013. I just found my beast mode thanks to you and your blog… it had been hiding since sept. wow, 15lbs later and feeling like starting over here i come again ImWIS 2013!!

  • Ed C.

    January 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Great post!. Last year I morphed from Half to Full and completed Ironman Arizona. I can’t wait to do another but must wait til 2014 to keep peace at home. Of course I would put myself thru that again!!

  • Karen

    January 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    One of my reasons for signing up for Ironman CDA 2013 was that I want the car stuff that says I did it. It is not unusual for me to see 2 or 3 cars on my way to work with bumper stickers, hitch plugs etc. This will be a home town race for me. I get tears in my eyes, and goose bumps on my arms when I see these things on other people’s cars. I couldn’t get past it, so I signed up. Crazy, I know, but true.

  • Shelly

    September 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    This is too funny! I’m only at the Sprint/Oly phase, but my friend’s husband has definitely drank the Ironman kool-aid. Hey, there are worse things – he could be gambling the money away. We call any kind of triathlon training efficient healthcare reform without Big Brother federal government interference.


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