From Couch to Qualify

I just have to share this. I am a middle-aged (is 45 middle-aged?) guy looking to adopt an active lifestyle and do something just for myself. I took up running and recently added duathlon races.

I think I should start tracking my progress. As you might see from my previous posts there is nothing about exercising or keeping in shape at all. Most posts are about things that I found on the internet. I works at a desk all day and I work in the IT department at a Canadian university. My health and fitness is not served by my work life at all. I have to make an effort to ensure I get up from sitting and move throughout the day. I have to say, I have been taking the easy way out and not really exercising properly. Then one day I saw this little post from my wife:


I had to get off the couch.

I started simply. I began to regularly walk our two dogs starting in early April. After a couple of weeks of walking I began jogging with them to give them more exercise. (’cause, they needed more exercise, not me. πŸ™‚

By May I really got the urge to “get into shape” as many of us do after a Canadian Winter^TM.

I got off the couch.

Once I felt I was making good progress and found I was running 5K, then 10K distances without much trouble, I began to try to speed things up to run them better and better. I found I was making progress and making gains. I even got the point where my dogs would be tired out after three quarters of the distances I was running. There were a few runs where I had to coax them to keep moving to get home.

Me and my running buddies!

I found myself going to running websites, and eventually triathlon sites with the idea I could set myself a goal to keep the motivation going. When looking for races to plan for I started simple and entered a 10K in my local city marathon weekend at the end of May. I had a month to train and there shouldn’t be any problem finishing, after all, I have been running this far and further with my dogs – just not sure how well I would do compared to those in my age group. I am a fairly competitive person and I wanted to do well for my age. I figured I should be at least be able to say I was as good as the middle-of-the-pack. A reasonable goal, an achievable goal. I wanted to make sure I didn’t get discouraged by setting too high a goal. After all, this is a change in my lifestyle I began, not just a one time thing.

Now to do it.

I set my goal to run it in less than 55 minutes. I ran that first 10K in 48:51 and 7th in my age category. Sweet. I made it to the top third of my age group. Very satisfying.

It was hard and my conditioning at the time left me quite breathless running at that pace. During the race I knew it is supposed to be hard. It is supposed to hurt. I have to push myself to make run my best possible time. I did it. I did it with my kids cheering me on at the finishing line and loved coming in under my goal time.

It hurts now

One day after a lot of training, this hits you. And it is wonderful.

My next race was a 5K fun run in mid-June that was time chipped and I set my personal goal of under 26 minutes. Again, doable, but by how much was that question. I ran it in 22:07 and came in third — only a few minutes behind a couple of 27 year-olds. It felt good, for sure. πŸ™‚

Du it!

With those two races under my belt I then set my sights on putting them together in a Duathlon scheduled for the July long weekend. The 10K run/40K ride/5K run. And my goal is 1. finishing, and 2. under 170 minutes. (2 hours, 50 minutes based on the individual components I have been able to do)

I have been biking with my wife on and off for the past couple years so I just needed to make sure I built up my stamina to go 40K with a respectable time. I was riding 40K just over one and a half hours. I developed my training plan after the 10K race in May with this July race in mind so I added in the riding days in addition to the running, with bricks mixed in and transition practice.

When I was looking for races to enter, I found the Great White North Triathlon that just happened to have a Duathlon which this year would have 5 spots for the 2017 Penticton ITU worlds. I really didn’t think I could end up in the top 5, but hey, set your targets higher so you have to reach. πŸ™‚

Race Day.


I did not tell my family about the qualification spots available, so they may not have understood my anxiousness to get to the race early and work through the mental exercises of visualising the course and the race to come. They were quite surprised when the announcer said as I crossed the finish line “And there is Jonathan Bird, coming in third for his group, which means he qualifies for worlds in Penticton 2017”

Of course, I was thinking, “I finished! What was my time? Wait? I came third in my age category!?”

I finished this race with an overall time of 2:36:09 and very happy to reach my goals.


Crossing the finish line


Future: Eventually, I want to do a triathlon, but I have to learn to swim better than my childhood swim lessons. Until then, I will be Du-ing it and running. My next races are September in the standard duathlon in ITU World Triathlon Edmonton and a half marathon the week after at the Queen City Marathon in Regina.

My goal for the duathlon is to finish: 1. faster than last race, and 2. without getting leg cramps. If I can manage #2, I think #1 will be easy. πŸ˜‰