My First Try at a Triathlon

CAF

Challenged Athletes Foundation.

That’s really all I have to say when someone asks why I’m trying a Tri. This organization is literally providing amputees with the tools they need to live full lives – complete with sports, a whole lot of smiles, and newfound spirit. That feeling of losing a leg or arm is unimaginable. The idea of having your desires and joys stripped away from you because of an accident or disease or simply because someone was born that way seems completely heartbreaking and unfair. But that’s where the Challenged Athletes Foundation steps in. They have helped thousands of people all around the world get prosthetics so they can continue striving for success and discovering new goals. We’re not talking about basic prosthetics to help someone walk, although that’s still a HUGE miracle. The CAF is outfitting these athletes with swimming arms, running legs, cycling feet, basketball chairs, you name it, they will find a way to make it happen. The CAF truly embraces the importance of mastering your favorite sport, scoring that winning goal, and crossing a finish line. They “get it.” Many people yearn to accomplish an athletic feat so badly that it’s all they think about. Many people want nothing more in this world than to train for a crazy race or to help their team reach the top. The CAF spreads a message that  every amputee is stronger because of what they’ve gone through.

And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a triathlon scare me from supporting them!!

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CAF 1

Here’s the deal:

Coming up Sunday, October 18, 2015 thousands of athletes and I will take part in the CAF triathlon. We swim 1 mile in the open ocean at La Jolla Cove. We bike 44 miles from La Jolla to Del Mar to Rancho Santa Fe and back to La Jolla. Then we run 10 miles up and down hills near La Jolla Cove.

Hey, at least it’s not an Ironman, right?! (insert nervous laugh here.)

The course looks a little frightening only because of the hills. I think I’ve proven to myself that I can trudge my way through any run, so I’m not too terrified of the last section. But cycling up Torrey Pines won’t be easy and neither will riding towards Rancho Santa Fe. Oh, and that whole swimming in the ocean thing could be complete torture especially for someone who has never done it. Yup, you heard that right. I’ve never swam for distance in the open ocean. I’ve snorkeled around and I can certainly swim in the ocean. But most of the time when I’m in the water, I’m more like a sea lion not a fish. I flip and flip and play around. I don’t zoom from one spot to the next in speedy fashion. But on Sunday, I’ll be swimming around a couple buoys and will literally be so grateful if I survive. I don’t want to ruin the CAF‘s great message with news of a rescue or anything! So one would think I would’ve trained for this. Well, I kinda, sorta let time slip me by. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been working out hard. I pull all sorts of weight and do tough cardio with sprints and the Versa Climber at SKLZ with Team Exos, so I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. But, had I paid better attention to my calendar, I would’ve started swimming many weeks ago.

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Instead, I show up to the CAF clinic on Saturday (about a week before the big day) in a bikini. I was thinking I would be able to join them for a practice swim at La Jolla Cove. Most of the others are wearing full-on wetsuits and the water was crashing so hard and high that I took one look at my outfit and another look at the water and I knew I needed to get a wet suit or a Tri suit. So I cheered the athletes on as they headed out in the tough waters, then I went home.

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Immediately after that embarrassing morning, I went to a store called Nytro and asked them way too many questions about what to wear during this upcoming Triathlon. That’s what they specialize in so they were filled with useful info.

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I got a two-piece Tri suit, Aqua Sphere goggles, and Glide (they offer a discount to CAF participants too!) Glide body butter is meant to prevent chafing which I can imagine is a true threat during these “wet to sweat” events. I can’t fathom what it going to feel like to go from the ocean to my bike, but I guess I’ll be finding out sooner than later and preferably before Sunday’s event!

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I have plans to meet the CAF clinic coach Friday and Saturday. Until then, I’ll keep training at the gym and running and riding my bike. So I’ll keep you posted on how swimming goes!

Any triathlon tips for a first-timer??

Also, if you’d like to support this great cause, you can always give a few bucks HERE on my donation page. Thanks in advance!

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Neda Iranpour

About the Author

Neda is an Emmy-award winning evening Anchor in San Diego, a cyclist, a marathon runner, a WBFF Pro & a member of the vegan club. She loves to share stories, including her own!