Being a Triathlete in the Navy

So you walk into a recruiting centre and you get asked, Do you like camping. You instantly think back to that terrible time in high school and snap back with, "I prefer fishing". Next thing you know, you are being sworn in under her majesty's Royal Canadian Navy.  This job is not your usual 9-5 in the city.  If you actively work in an operational environment, it means you need to be surrounded by water.  It is too late, you have a job to do so you better put your head down and get to it.  Wait there is more.

When on active duty you are either on shift work, or  5 on, 5 off, 7 on, 7 off.  You get to eat/sleep when you are off. It could be day 3 or 30, depending on where you work on a ship, you might not see the sunshine.  It is extremely difficult to motivate yourself when on ship that when you get some down time, to train.  Now convince yourself that you should hop on a treadmill, while holding onto both handles because you are swaying back and fourth at saes. How well would you do? 

Now a friend of mine, P Diddy (I forgot to ask him if I could write about him so I gave him a nickname) loves to train and loves the Navy. He has a lot of time in the navy and holds a senior rank, he gets slightly larger quarters where he stores his bike while travelling the globe. He forces himself to train for 45-60 minutes everyday to keep himself sane via bike and trainer. He views it as his time to himself and the only way he can unwind during the busy day. Plus the bonus is, the bike doubles as transportation once he arrives to land. The other day, he peddled around the perimeter of the Bermuda in a 100 km ride.  

Now I am in the Air Force, which means I am not an expert about being a triathlete in the Navy.  But watching P diddy train hard while he is home is extremely inspiring.  He usually only receives his schedule about 30-60 days ahead of time and it is constantly changing.  Extremely hard to book your next triathlon when the sailing schedule is not out yet.  

The food.  Well I have been told military cooks can better in a inverse, linear relationship.  The more people they have to cook for, the quality starts to drop.  If a ship has anywhere from 130-200 sailor's onboard, it would be safe to say that the Navy should have excellent food.  The shelf-life of perishable food is finite, the longer you are at sea without redeploy = less and less fresh healthy food.  So it is easy to fall into the deep fried chicken fingers and fries.  The fresh food is usually available but I think our minds get a rush from bad food especially during a hard day.  So not only is your training lacking but so is your nutrition. Double wham bam. 

The culture. It would seem the Navy always has something to do so it is really hard to find down time to work on fitness or team building. It is extremely difficult to find space on a ship to train effectively and unfortunately that demotivates you to train. That hurts Navy triathletes when compared to most who sometimes take for granted rainy weather or flat tire. At least you were able to train on land today!  

I think we have 9 member's of the Navy Tridents who are actively in the Navy and it inspires me that they are so diligent training.  Now the reason I started with a day in the life of a Navy triathlete is because I do belong to the Navy Tridents Triathlon club and I am currently posted to a Navy base.  I actually married into a Navy family so one would say I love the Navy.  So the next time you want to make an excuse why you cannot perform your workout remember those that wish they were back on land would be out training hard if they were not out patrolling our beautiful three seas.  For those who can't.  Are you retired military, Army or Air Force, leave a comment about what you think.  


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