Feeling like a Toddler in the Triathlon World

Age is of no importance
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” – Mark Twain

Today I have decided to tell you about the wonders of singing up for a (long) triathlon when you’re 18 years old, and all the joy and fun that comes with that great experience.

A few days ago I had a conversation with a lifeguard (and experienced Ironman!) at our pool, he knows about my IronDream and therefore we catch up once in a while, most of the time it are short conversations but hey, it’s fun to do. At some point he asked me the question: “are you already signed up for a triathlon?”. Suddenly it seemed a bit strange to say: “No, heading straight to Ironman with zero experience!” so I decided to go with: “Well, yeah, I’ve been checking some things out and I’m gonna sign up in a few days.”. In the last weeks a few things have stopped me from signing up:

  1. I forgot that I actually have to race, yes I forget about those things, my brain can’t handle a regular day so planning ahead is a skill I have forgotten over the months.
  2. The triathlon season in The Netherlands is so poor that there is only one triathlon in  May and in my area to sign up for. that triathlon is scheduled for the end of May: right in my peak phase of training.

After that eye-opening 1,5 minute conversation I decided I needed to sign up, quick. Having no other choice I decided to pick that triathlon at the end of May and modify my training plan. I know doing your first triathlon race 6 weeks before an Ironman is a horrible idea but at this point it’s experience over training. At this point I have been in as many triathlon races as my 5 year old dog and that’s not a good number.

So there I was today, ready to sign up for my first half-iron distance race and to rock my triathlon world.

“The minimum required age to enter is 20”.  The next emoticon describes the feelings I had in the best particular way.
Damn It

So you are telling me that I quit school, spend thousands of euros, train for a period of 10,5 months, for 10+hours and then I still can’t enter your race while a drunk 21 year old student who entered the triathlon because of a dare that he made with his friend does have the right to enter?
“You want to do an Ironman, that’s fine!” – “You want to do an HALF Ironman? Sorry you’re way too young for that!” that’s a strange triathlon world right there.

I’ve encountered this kind of ‘age-racism’ (I’m not really that offended, but let’s just go with that cause it sounds fun), numerous times throughout this year but this is the only race in my area that offers a proper half distance race instead of sprint distances so basically I have to get in.

Being the young, hard-headed, teenage, still-not-yet-an-Ironman-but-getting-there, person that I am I have now e-mailed the organization and have asked them to judge me on my mentality and training instead of my age. Once again my mercy is in the hands of other people, hopefully they support me!

Finally I’m going to leave you with this powerful, self-made, totally not professional image, that basically describes the point of this whole blog:
Say no to age racism

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