What happens when you tri -- ken davis

What Happens When You “Tri”?

What happens when you tri -- ken davis

The pool that spans two time zones

9:30pm Two months before the triathlon:

Ken: Why don’t you do the Cedars of Lebanon triathlon with me?

Diane: I’m afraid I couldn’t finish. I am not a good swimmer. I don’t run very fast. I’m 66 years old. I’ll stand out among all those young chicks. I’ll drown. I can’t.

Ken: Sign up! You’ll love it!

Diane: I’ll drown!

10:00am Six weeks before the triathlon, after swim practice at Williamson County Recreation Center.

Diane: (Hanging on to the edge of the pool trying to catch her breath) See! After 25 meters I can’t even breathe! We have to swim 200 meters in the triathlon. I will die! You will inherit everything. I can’t let that happen. I will go and watch you get another medal, but I am not going to compete.

Ken: Just try!

Diane: You try! I’ll watch.

Ken: Will you keep training?

Diane: I’ll try!

Ken: (Smiles as he watches his beloved swim another 25 meters.)

7:00 P.M. The night before the Triathlon, Cedars of Lebanon State park. 50 meter pool, Lebanon, Tennessee.

Diane: Look at the size of that pool! That thing crosses two time zones. I can’t possibly swim fifty meters without stopping, let alone make it four laps. What if someone touches me? What if I run out of breath? What if someone has released a shark in the pool? I can’t do it.

Ken: Will you try?

Diane: (Stares at the pool in silence)

6:00am Day of the Triathlon  Hampton Inn,  Lebanon, TN

Diane crossing the finish line.

Diane crossing the finish line.

Diane: (Rises early muttering some nonsense about drowning and Ken finding one of the younger competitors to replace her after she drowns)

(Puts on swim gear)

(Heads to the race)

(Points out several possible candidates to replace her)

(Lines up with the other racers)


Diane: ( TRIES!!! )

Ken: (Smiles real big)

10:30am Awards Ceremony

Diane placed third in her age division!

Diane placed third in her age division!

Diane: Stands on the podium smiling and waving as she receives the award for third place in her age division.

Ken: Whistles and cheers and is filled with pride. He married a woman who is willing to try. As a result, throughout her life, she has experienced moments of joy that only come to those who try.

On this day that joy was not only on the faces of those who won medals, it was on the face of every person who crossed the finish line. The next day I saw the same look on the faces of my granddaughters, Kialee and Lexi, as they finished the Nashville Kids triathlon.

It seems the only unhappy people over the course of these two days were the women who Diane had designated to replace her if she didn’t make it out of the pool. Their big chance was gone. But I gave them an encouraging pep talk. I told them there were still many good men out there in the world.

As for me I was going to stick with Diane, a woman who TRIES!

Is there something you need to try?

Have you experienced the joy of trying?

It is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all!
Ken and Diane after tri

If this post inspired you, Check this out!

I have been seriously thinking of creating a community of men and women who will train for one of these events next year. Age is not a factor. A year will give you plenty of time to get ready. If your doctor says you can do it, (a necessary consideration) you can start training now. I will coach and encourage.

I am going to call it the “I Tri” group. I’m thinking we will do tee shirts and the whole bit. If your going to make a scene, be seen! right? It’s still in the beginning stages but If you are interested, Simply write “I’ll try”in your comments.

In my book, Fully Alive I talk about how one of these races was pivotal in changing my life.

Let’s do this!


  1. I am a very weak swimmer – but this post did inspire me! I’d love to TRY!

    1. Nikky, Whoo Hooo! Start swimming this week. If you can do it, find a coach that can teach you the basic. I could stay off the bottom of a lake, but I didn’t know how to swim until someone taught me at age 62. I applaud your effort. We will find a way to keep in touch.

  2. I have been waiting for a kick of encouragement just like this. I’m all in-I’ll try!

    1. Did ya feel my boot??? I am very proud of you Sarah. We will figure something out that will keep all of us keep going. Have your read Fully Alive yet?

      1. Yes, I might be one of those people who died at 25 but at 34 I am ready to LIVE…

  3. My 52nd birthday is tomorrow. I am going ziplining for the first time to celebrate. I thank God for every single day. As long as He continues to wake me up in the morning I’ll try!

    1. Come back here and tell me about the zip lining after you have done it. At 52 you are all set to live healthier than before and be everything He created you to be. I am in your corner. More later.

      1. Ziplining was an amazing experience! Flying over the canopy in the Smoky Mountains like a 52 year-old monkey was a blast! Will do it again first chance I get. No fear!!

    1. MOVE! If you are not running start by walking. If you have a pool start swimming. If you have a bike, dust it off and start riding. If you do not have my book Fully Alive, get a copy as it tells you the very basics of getting started. I am not trying to sell the book but it has helped thousands of people get started. I am proud that you are ready to do something. MOVE for at least a half hour a day. I am figuring out how to help everybody as a group.

      1. Thanks! I appreciate your willingness to help all of us. I am so out of shape and overweight but I will try. Now off to play some tennis with my husband when he gets home from work.

    1. Glad you liked it Erica. If you would have felt the temp of the water you would have got chills too! I am going to try to figure out a way to help you tri!

  4. I am tempted to say “I’ll try!” But then I think, I know how easy I let other “more important” things get in the way. I am 52 – never was much for running….rather walking at a good pace with my dogs. It would help to have someone willing to train alongside…

    1. Gisela, I started ten years old than you. You are just a spring chicken! So there is only one step further you must take. Go beyond being tempted and send me a message that say’s, regardless of all the excuses and fears, I will try. A bunch of us are going to help hold each other accountable. You can find people who will train with you. Will you join us? Will you try?

  5. I really tried to like this post. And I did! Wow, it works! Nicely done Davises!

      1. Yes I do. We live in Franklin. I started cycling at age 43 and racing at 46. Not that great at it but I can beat some of them youngin’s once in a while! I love what you are doing here. Us older folks (I’m 50) can still enjoy endurance sports. In fact I know some pretty amazing 50+ year old athletes. You never know until you tri…

    1. It’s a deal. You get my personal attention. Start by doing something together every day. Work toward at least a half hour. Be sure to check with Doc. I can’t wait to help you.

  6. I Tri–I ditto every excuse Diane gave, just you know. But I passed out a couple of nights ago due to a med I had taken for pneumonia. When Steve showed your article to me, I read it and thought, “I may not do the whole Tri, but it would do me a lot of good to try.

    1. I believe that with careful training you can tri with us next year. The point is not how fast you do it. I would love to have both you and Steve join me next year. With your Dr’s okay we’ll get started. Let me know.

  7. I’ll try! I recently started training for a half marathon next year. So far I can run almost a mile… just 12 more to go!!!

    1. Dirk, That’s about where I started. Even the longest journey starts with a single step. You have taken the first step. Hurray!

  8. I’ll try! I did my first duathlon in February, and I’m hoping to do marathon #3 by the end of 2013.

  9. I have been considering a marathon this fall / winter. I’ll try!

  10. Boy Ken, you really do challenge us! I am SO much like Diane, although I do like swimming!! I am not a fan of running and have a lot of work to do if I’m going to make any kind of successful attempt at completing something as totally out of my comfort zone as this, but…I’ll try!

  11. I love this post, your story and you both! Blessings from Northern Minnesota!

  12. Thanks for the inspirational message. It is so true though. I did my first tri (shorter than a sprint and actually called a TRY TRI) last year in 2013 at the age of 38. My boyfriend at the time competes in them and encouraged me to TRY it. I was not a strong swimmer although I can swim and exercise induced asthma keeps my running at a slow pace. BUT my goal was to finish (not worried about a time but I was concerned about being last) AND I DID!! I loved your quote about the DL, DF, and DS and plan to keep that in mind on my future tris, no matter how far the distance. As for my boyfriend coach, he proposed in Paris, France last year in March. We got married on October 12, 2013. I did my first half marathon 2 weeks after our wedding (and my time was actually better then I expected). We will have to see what distance of tri events are in store for me in the year ahead, now that I am married to a 7 or 9 time IRONMAN triathlete! I am a nurse and took care of a 72 year old woman that will be attempting her first half Ironman this year. She was such an inspiration to me and I told her, “If you can do it, I will try to do it too.” SO I definitely would like a “I TRI” t-shirt because I’ll be trying it this year. I recommend DRIFIT material for the shirts, that way we can wear them when we try our tris!!! Happy training everyone!!!

  13. I know this is an old post, but I just found it when I was looking for pictures of the Cedars of Lebanon pool, because I like Diane am intimidate by a 50M pool, but I swam 150M today in my first practice swim, I image my friend and my conversation on the night before and on race day will be similar, I’m too young to have hope of medaling, but this is an great little motivational story.

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