My triathlon story so far

Croatian middle distance championship
Croatian middle distance championship

In the spring of 2005 I was surfing the Internet and stumbled upon triathlon. I enjoyed all three sports and thought that combination of those should be fun so I decided to give it a try (to be honest, I thought that girls would dig it :-)). At the time I wasn’t completely out of shape, but I didn’t want to show up in the club untrained so I dedicated that summer to running. I bought a heart rate monitor, found some training plan on the net and started hitting the pavement. That plan was to advanced for me but I didn’t know that at the time (ignorance is a bliss :-)). My heart rate would go way up when running faster than 6:30-7:00 min/km (that’s km not miles) so sometimes it was mentally hard to see all those people passing by. Luckily , running is not very popular in my country so there weren’t so many people passing me, although it seemed that everyone who was running was running faster. That pace felt very easy but I relayed completely on my HR monitor and that probably allowed me to log a lot of kilometers without cracking.

At the end of the summer I finally decided to join a club. I realised that triathlon clubs were not filled with highly trained professionals and I should have joined a club much earlier. We had very nice group (although it was small), so the training was fun. Over the winter I paid the prize for my summer training (to much to soon) as I had to deal with overuse knee injuries. Despite of reduced run training over the winter and early spring my improvement was great. In my first real race (sprint duathlon) I run first 5k in 18:45. That time sounded unreal, as it was hard to me to hold anything faster than 5 min/km just 9 months before that. By the end of the season I reduced that time to 18:10. Swimming was also going well for someone with no swimming background. After a couple of months in the pool I was at 25 minutes for 1500m. Training and racing was fun and it slowly changed my lifestyle. Before that I led a typical student life, going out, drinking… I remember thinking that our local triathlon league was excellent for training but it was scheduled Saturday mornings so it would collide with my Friday night going out. As the time passed late night outings were more and more replaced with early mourning training sessions.

Next season I dedicated more time to training and that showed on my results. I was now placing in top 10 on most of our domestic races. I also did my first international race in Bardolino, Italy and placed around 70th spot in the field of around 1000 competitors. Runing developed into my main strenght, and I was at 16:30 for 5k at the time. Swimming was also improving although a little slower, and it took me around 22-23 minutes for 1500m.

At the autumn of the year 2007 I graduated and started working full time. I had less free time, but I managed to use it as much as possible so my training didn’t suffer (although some other things were :-)). This season was another breakthrough year as I started placing on the podiums in Croatian championship races. I’ve run 5k in 15:56, and I could swim 1500m in around 20 minutes. My improvement over the years can best be seen on one olympic distance race:

2006: 2:07h

2007: 2:00h

2008: 1:49h

I also got invited to represent Croatia in Mountain running world trophy (World championship) held in Crans Montana, Switzerland. Although it wasn’t triathlon related it was a great honor for me.

Summer of the year 2007 was a turning point for me as I graduated and started working full time. I had to decide between making a career in my profession or taking this triathlon thing even more seriously. It was a tough decision but I decided to take the road less traveled and pursue my dream. Career in my profession could afford me a lot of money but for me money doesn’t mean happiness. I don’t want to wonder all my life what could have been if I decided to follow my dreams. Zachary Scott once said: “As you grow older you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.” As I don’t have any income from triathlon I still must work to earn for living, but I hope that some day I could make a living out of my hobby. I’m currently putting all my energy in making that dream come trough.

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