How asthma can make you do crazy things

3 Feb


by Vanclei

First things first, I’m talking about sprint triathlon. Yes, it has swimming, biking and running but in a very modest amount if you compare it to the Iron Man challenge. Now that I`ve made it clear, let me talk about one of the most amazing experiences in my life.

Well, I have asthma, not a big deal but sometimes it takes your breath away (badum tss), and at the end of 2009 my doctor advised me to take swimming classes to strengthen my lungs and cardiorespiratory system. It was a pain. I didn’t know how to swim and learning was boring. I mean, you feel like you’re in a hamster wheel at the swimming pool and I really wanted to quit. Fortunately the guys there enjoyed “open water swimming” competitions and it was my first step. Swimming in open waters is more fun, it is energising. After that I started to tolerate the swimming pool sessions.


Next step was easier, everyone knows how to walk so to start running you just have to speed it up. We gathered some friends and started training to “Interparques run” in Curitiba, just for fun. It was a race that had many parks on its track so it sounded nice to know them running. It was not a hard training, just once or twice a week during 2 months and we were there running. Keep in mind that we didn’t want to win the race, we just wanted to finish it with our dignity intact.

So that was it, I was swimming and running, not insanely, twice a week each one of them, just to relax no hard training. If you sum them all up it’s not more than 3hours per week (~45min swimming classes and ~40min running sessions). Also my lungs were doing pretty well, I didn’t feel any discomfort doing the training.

Finally in 2011 my girlfriend (my wife nowadays) had a wonderful idea “What if we subscribed for a sprint triathlon competition?” At first I thought she was crazy, I never pictured myself finishing a triathlon, but 5 minutes later I realized it was doable. A sprint triathlon is swimming 750m, biking 20km and finally running 5km, it’s half of regular triathlon (1,5km, 40km and 10km) and waaaaaay smaller than the Iron Man challenge.  We were running, swimming, why not ride bikes? Once in a lifetime, it sounded like something fun to do.

March 2012 I finished my first triathlon, it was amazing. The whole experience, from setting up your gear very early in the morning to finally seeing the red carpet and crossing the line, it’s something you can’t describe but you can feel, deeply.



Again, although it does require some training (obviously), it is something that anyone can do. Two running sessions per week, you can run around your block if you prefer, two swimming classes (this one unfortunately will require a teacher if you don’t know how to swim) and once a week go visit your friends or some place new riding a bike, this is good advice especially here where the neighbourhoods are far from each other 🙂

The last question is, why? I’m going to use a clichê but, why not? It’s fun and it’s different, although is an individual sport there are plenty of people there you can talk and have a good time. In the future if you feel sprint triathlon is too short and you like the training you can try olympic (the “regular” triathlon), half Iron, Iron man or Ultra, who knows 🙂 So far I’m ok with sprint, finishing it in 2012, 2013 and 2014. 2013 I finished the olympic version and hope to finish more of them in the next years.

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