by FOX News Radio Executive Producer & Director of Web Operations Willie Sanchez
For ten months I have been getting up early to ride my bike and run before work and on weekends. I joined a gym to work on my endurance and strength training during the cold months of the year. I swam at the gym pool whenever I could squeeze it in between lunch. I suffered a high ankle sprain, iliotibial band syndrome, and a bad spill on my bike that left me with major road rash on my arm and knee. I did all of this to say that I completed the NYC Olympic length Triathlon along with over 3,000 other athletes of all types of skills, physical abilities, and and ages today.
Because I set a goal for myself and I had to see it through.
I am a goal oriented person and when I signed up for the triathlon it was because I felt uncomfortable with my current body weight. My clothes didn't fit "right" and I had to do something about it. Some could think, "why not just go on a diet or workout more"? Working out was not going to happen. I hate working out. Eating right could have happened, but I didn't know where start without looking at the millions of diet products and fads.
I needed a goal that would help me lose weight, get stronger, and ride more bike (which I love doing). So, when my company sent out an email about their sponsorship of the NYC Triathlon in 2011 I plunged head first into the online sign-up form.
From that day on I suffered a low-level feeling of anxiety. "What did I get myself into"?
Ten months, three hours and sixteen minutes later I found out what I got myself into. I overcame my anxiety and I learned how to breath to relax. I lost 23 pounds from eating the right foods and exercising. I healed from some minor injuries that I normally would not have encountered if I just sat on the couch.
However, I didn't sit on the couch. I learned how excruciating a 1 mile swim in the Hudson River can be for a new comer and experienced alike. Naturally, I cruised through the 26 mile bike portion, but not without having to pedal hard on the hilly Henry Hudson Parkway (aka West Side Hightway). And, I finally ran/walked my way into Central Park. I pushed through stomach pains, quadriceps on the verge of a cramp, and hamstrings just another hill away from locking up on me. I could tell I was near the end when I could hear tons of cow bells, cheers from the fans and volunteers, and finally my name announced over the loud speaker in front of thousands as I crossed the finish line.
Ten months, three hours and sixteen minutes later I became a triathlete.
Most important of all? I accomplished a goal that I set for myself...
Ten months, three hours and sixteen minutes ago.
PS - I am not writing this to convince you to sign up for a triathlon. But I do encourage you to try something new. Do something different from your same everyday routine. Learn a new language, get better at a language, go for a walk with friends regularly to get some exercise and catch up on the neighborhood news (that's always fun, isn't it?), choose a healthier side with your meal, play with your kids more often, do something unexpected. Live life. Don't just live in your life.
Thank you to my lovely wife and kids who supported me in this crazy endeavor. I spent many hours preparing for the triathlon and I would be lying if I didn't say some of that was at the expense of her time and my kids. Maybe a little more than "some."
Thank you to my neighbor, Jon Buyck. He has been a great friend and training partner. He has always been in great shape, and his supportive attitude has been very important in this journey.
Thank you to my friends and other training partners:
- My neighbor Jamie G. who came out on those pre-dawn runs.
- Lifelong friend, training partner, and now triathlete, Henry F.
- Another lifelong friend and virtual workout partner (he's in Flordia) Leo F.
- Colleague, friend and now triathlete, Johnny Syl. He rocked today!
- My friends who posted well wishes on facebook.
- My family for telling me I was crazy, to be careful, and HAVE FUN!
Thank you to my co-workers for checking in on me and encouraging me to keep going. And especially FOX News Radio reporter and author, Todd Starnes, whose book "They Popped my Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick" got me started with my first 5k two years ago. That lead to a few more races and a lot more cycling.
Finally, thank you for reading this post. Now, go set a goal for yourself. You will be surprised at all the new things you will discover.