The night before Mother's Day, my siblings and I sat around my parents' dining room table. We were all taking part in a semi-serious game of chicken. The game was to see who would pull the trigger and register for a slightly-less-than-Olympic-distance triathlon. For whatever dumbass reason, I cackled my way over to the computer and dropped the eighty bucks on registration fees. By doing so, I threw down the gauntlet on an event I didn't fully understand and was certainly not prepared for. My brothers and Suz quickly registered as well, and a week or two later, my Dad also accepted the challenge of becoming a triathlete.

My parents raised the four of us out on Cape Cod for a couple of weeks a year. We swam in the freshwater kettle ponds, often forming a floatilla of canoe/inflatable boats and boogy-board-kicking kids as we swam across the various ponds. We grew up proficient swimmers, having gone to many way-to-early swim lessons with the Sneeringers at SUNY Albany. We also were lucky enough to spend many days by one pool or another, using our skills for chicken fighting and other forms of waterlogged combat. I've always taken being able to swim for granted, but over the past two weeks, I've come to greatly appreciate my parents and Susie for getting us in the water so regularly. Training for the swimming portion of this triathlon is brutal, and without that swimming foundation, I would be in deep trouble.

The siblings in the lake after flipping the canoe.

The siblings in the lake after flipping the canoe.

Ellie and I have moved up our workout load to a six-day-a-week schedule. Three days of running, three days of swimming and biking. We are still geared mainly toward the Boilermaker, which is now less than a month away, and we are responsible for 10+ mile runs on the weekends. But I can honestly say that our long runs have been the easiest part of our week. Thirty minutes of swimming three days a week has completely beat us up. I have swam the 1,000 meters that the triathlon is going to require, but it wasn't pretty.

A game of Speedy-Canoe . . . we had to be decent swimmers to play.

Mike and I playing a game of Speedy Canoe . . . we had to be decent swimmers to play.

The summers on the Cape also meant plenty of bike riding. There is a massive network of bicycle-only paths known as the Rail Trail, which connects many of the towns and beaches on the Cape. Our favorite destination was about eleven miles from our campground. A Pizza Hut. We would make the trek for the all-you-could-eat Pizza Hut lunch buffet. You felt like you earned the pizza by riding all that way. After stuffing ourselves full, we would send my dad back for the car to pick us up, because riding bikes after Pizza Hut? Nowai.

Not exercised related . . . but a funny picture from Cape Cod.

Not exercised related . . . but a funny picture from Cape Cod.

I've never used bike riding as an exercise really . . . it was always more of a fun activity. I've found through this training that it has provided a nice change of pace from running. There is a lot more distance covered, so you can go places you wouldn't normally run to. Ellie and I have biked all the inner and outer harbors in Buffalo, as well as all around a couple of parks in our area. It is a blast, and she is getting really good at biking around and navigating the city traffic. It's been fun. This all being said, I didn't realize just how difficult running would be after biking any moderate distance. Legs turn to Jell-O, and it feels like your quads don't exist. Looks like another hurtle to conquer.

The past two weeks have been eye-opening to say the least. I think I've always had a healthy respect for triathlons, but I don't think I fully understood how much work training for one would be. Right now, it is kicking my butt, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it . . . at least a little bit.