After reading about Bob Scott of Naperville, an 87-year-old man competing in this weekend’s Chicago Triathlon, I felt it necessary to make one thing clear: I could totally do a triathlon; it’s just that I’m kind of busy and also don’t want to draw attention away from Bob Scott.
Bob seems like a remarkable fellow, and he certainly deserves to be a primary focus of Sunday’s event.
If I swam, ran and biked the triathlon, it might distract from interesting people like Bob. The headlines and television news chyrons would all read something like, “Handsome columnist with finely sculpted calves wins Chicago Triathlon very easily.”
I’ll be darned if I want that to happen.
Like most parents in their 40s, I’m in outstanding physical condition. I type quite a bit (cardio) and also run lots of errands (cross-training) while constantly carb-loading to keep my body prepped for action. I also do yoga (bending over to turn on the Roomba) and meditate (watch Netflix) every night to keep myself centered.
Truthfully, part of my aversion to a triathlon — aside from stealing Bob’s thunder — is a fear it wouldn’t be challenging enough. I would need more along the lines of an octathlon or a ten-tathlon, which are things that exist in the athlete community of which I am most definitely a part.
My fitness level is such that I’ve never even bothered with a triathlon or a biathlon or a regular athlon or walking more than three blocks.
According to a story by my colleague Suzanne Baker at the Naperville Sun, Bob will be the oldest competitor at this year’s event.
He has “competed multiple times on the triathlon community’s largest stage: the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.” (I have not yet competed in that particular triathlon or any triathlon, though I certainly could and would almost definitely not die after five minutes.)
In the story, Bob said, “I’ve always had an urge for fitness,” which is something I can relate to if you replace the word “fitness” with “Dairy Queen.”
He said he needs to rest his body after a triathlon: “In a week, I’ll be fine.”
I have a similar recovery time following any major exertion, except instead of a week, I take a year and several months of physical therapy so others won’t feel intimidated by my Adonis-like fitness.
Another reason I’ve chosen to forgo the Chicago Triathlon — which includes a roughly 1-mile swim in Lake Michigan, a 24.8-mile bike ride along Lake Shore Drive and a 6.2-mile run — is because Jeri Villarreal of St. Louis doesn’t need me and my perfect abs to be there eating up the spotlight.
I read about Jeri in a story by my colleague Morgan Smith, who wrote: “The St. Louis mom of three will be one of the first hijabi athletes to compete in the Chicago Triathlon on Sunday, according to Scott Hutmacher, a brand manager at Life Time Tri, the company helping to organize the Chicago Triathlon.”
Most triathletes wear skimpy clothing, but Jeri wears long sleeves, full leggings and a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith. She tries to make interactions with people who ask about her clothing positive and promote greater understanding.
That’s very cool, and I worry my presence at the triathlon might be a distraction, so I’m just going to stay home and nap, even though it’s clear Jeri and I have a lot in common.
From the story: “Instead of watching television or reading, she spends her downtime working out two or three times a day, swimming, biking or running.”
I also do not spend time reading. Total birds of a feather!
Anyhoo, I hope all my triathlon community friends (of whom I have none, but would if they met me) understand my decision to not compete in and probably win Sunday’s event.
It hurts me to my extremely well-defined core. But remember, I’m doing this for people like Bob and Jeri. They’re the ones who should be the real heroes this weekend.
Also I lightly tweaked my ankle the other day during a particularly strenuous errand (a Targetathlon), and it’s important I maintain a rest-and-ice-cream regimen for at least the next 10 to 15 years.