CrossFitter turned Triathlete?

Can a person who CrossFits enter and complete a Sprint Triathlon with little or no training and just use the fitness that CrossFit provides to get them through?  Well Coach and Owner of Skyline CrossFit, Dylan Kucish tried to do just that.

Dylan taking off on his 5k run during the Bridgeland Triatholon.

Dylan taking off on his 5k run during the Bridgeland Triatholon.

Alright guys here is my take on my first Triathlon. A sprint Triathlon is usually 400m swim, 12 mile Bike, 5k run.  Before we get into this morning let's go back to December. Six months ago I told myself, I want to learn how to swim. I knew how to swim but it was more of a survival swim and not very efficient.  Well to make sure I accomplished my goal I registered for The Bridgeland Triathlon for Aug 3rd. Also I would like to see how well I would do at the Triathlon without doing any extra specific training except for my daily CrossFit training.The next few weeks I let some of my athletes know at the gym that I signed up. Most people were like "400 meter swim? That's nothing, you will be fine." So I had this confidence like “You're right I do got this, I don't  have to train.” Outside of my normal CrossFit training of course.

Well a month away I had a dream of me drowning during the Triathlon.  I was like maybe I should at least hit the pool and see what I got. I signed up for swimming lessons for Triathletes. I show up introduce myself to the coach then she says “Go ahead and do a 300m warm up.”  I responded “How many down and backs is that?” She looks at me to see if I’m serious then says “Three.” Let's just say I swam 50m and I was dying. I immediately thought back to my athletes telling how 400m swim wasn't nothing. I think they all secretly wanted me dead. Let's just say I hit the lessons 8 more times after that and felt pretty comfortable. I hit 400m open water without stopping, the day before the Triathlon so now I knew and had the confidence I could finish maybe even do well at this race.

Dylan with his Swim coach at "Dads Swim Club".

Dylan with his Swim coach at "Dads Swim Club".

Alright it's race day. Slept like shit but not nervous. I think deep down I knew I wasn't going to do great so nothing to be nervous for.

First athlete briefing is at the water. First thing the director says “The swim course goes through the middle of the lake and is slightly over 550 meters.” My stomach dropped. Just the day before I just made 400m for the first time in open water and was super scary. Well no turning back now.

My age group walks out to the start of the swim. I'm like this water looks like chocolate milk and the other side of lake (My goal for this Triatlon)  looks like “miles” away. The start line is about 30m out in the water to where you would have to tread water for about 90 seconds before the start of the race. I thought to myself "You go getters have fun with treading water. I will be back on shore where I'm still able to touch, safe and sound. A few others did the same.

3....2....1.....Go.   Heard this before. I start my swim and I immediately realize the water is a lot rougher than usual.  Water up the nose and down the mouth. Still good though. I say to myself I'm going to swim out to the 200m buoy then do my backstroke rest. (My swim coach told me to do intervals of Freestyle and when I need rest to go to backstroke. For all you swimmers out there, I can’t breaststroke. I sink)  Well I got to the 100m buoy and realized this was a much better place to rest. My goal on the swim was not to grab any boat or buoys for the whole duration. Well I start resting at the 100m mark and a lifeguard on a kayak paddles up and says "You need help?" "No thank you" I replied.  I was thinking "Do I look that bad already?"

Anyways I make it to the 200m bouy and I'm like "Crap! I’m not even halfway?" Finally reach the 300m bouy and I'm doing by rest backstroke and this lifeguard in a kayak says to me "It's a lot farther than it looks huh?" I kind of wanted to tip his Kayak over but I just laughed and agreed. 400m is now unknown territory and all I could think was about how tired my arms were. Finally make the final turn and I'm on land. Sweet 150m PR!                               

On to the bike.  I rode my brothers $200 road bike he bought from Academy. I rode about a mile two days prior just so I could get used to the gears.  I start my bike I get about 3 miles in and I kind of get used to the burning in my quads (Quads were burning like a SOB). I pass about as many people that pass me. We do this giant loop and we start getting back to the start, which I think is the end of the bike so I start really pushing it.  I start passing all these guys, then I round the turn and this volunteer girl says "Only 4 miles to go!" Shit, I just blew my load thinking I was about to finish. Anyways all those guys I passed, yeah they passed me back up about a mile later.

Finally finish bike and when I hop off the bike. As I start the run,  I know I'm running but it feels like someone blasted my butt with a baseball bat. Weird feeling, I would say it felt like running after doing a 2000m row for time or the last 400m of Helen. Either way I started running and I felt great, lungs were good, stride was good. I'm passing people by the dozens. Then about the 800m mark hit and I got upper abdominal cramps that stopped me in my tracks. I start walking until the pain subsided as I do this the dozens of racers I passed all came striding by cheering me on.  "Come on buddy no man left behind". I was like "Thanks guys but I feel like I'm being stabbed in the gut with a hot fire poker." When the pain subsided I could kind of start trotting, like when you are crossing the street and a car tells you to go ahead and you don't speed up at all you just move your arms faster to make look like you are trying. Yeah it was kind of like that for about the next mile. After that I sped up a little but after an hour of work my body was kind of in unknown territory so for my body to kind of hate me I guess I should have expected it. Around mile two the soccer moms showed up in force. These women were passing me like I was standing still.   It was about 20 of these women who started at least 10 minutes behind me on swim and they were catching me and passing me. Pretty impressive.

Well I finished around hour and a half which was my goal. I had fun and the whole community is super supportive. I would highly recommend if you are thinking about doing one. Yes my fitness definitely helped me achieve my goal of finishing a Triathlon. With that said, you will not be winning any medals.

-Dylan Kucish