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“Date night” for Scott Wilson and his wife, Julie, has turned into somewhat of a business meeting.
While that would seem to have a negative connotation, the Columbus couple embrace the fact they are forced to be super organized.
“When my wife and I go on a date, we bring our calendars,” said Wilson, a 40-year-old State Farm agent. “Our calendars are amazingly ridiculous.”
Wilson said his family’s calendar also is fun and healthy.
With three children, a busy career and a ton of interests, Wilson is a great example that people can find the time to train for athletic events if they desire.
On Saturday, Wilson won the Columbus Challenge Triathlon.
“I quit golfing because there is no time,” he said Tuesday at his Washington Street office. “Actually, it’s one thing I try not to say, ‘I don’t have time.’ I should say that I don’t want to prioritize my time for golf.
“We all have the same hours in a day.”
While Wilson might not want to prioritize golf, he has made the time to become a competitive triathlete. Julie and their children — Emma, 14, Drew, 12, and Max, 9 — also compete in triathlons.
Wilson said Columbus residents have great opportunities if they want to learn the disciplines of the triathlon.
“There are a lot of things available,” he said. “The Columbus running club is phenomenal. It’s run by Pat Pierz. Every Saturday morning, people show up at 7:30 to run.
“I show up whenever I can, and there’s often about 80 people there. They will hand you a training packet about what to do and how many miles to run.”
The swimming portion of the triathlon was the most daunting, Wilson said.
“I started doing this three summers ago,” he said. “I couldn’t swim 25 yards without stopping. It was miserable.”
However, he started working out at the Foundation For Youth pool, and the lifeguards and swimmers started giving him tips. He continues to improve.
Cycling is a strong point for Wilson. His father, Don Wilson of Greenwood, bought a bicycle and started to ride to help his recovery from cancer. He joined a group that rode bicycles across the United States. Obviously, Scott was inspired, and this summer he completed a ride across the country himself.
With a strong competitive spirit, Wilson also hired a coach to help him improve his training for the triathlon. But he said everyone can compete on a level that makes them happy.
“My wife and I did our first triathlon, and she was riding a comfort bike that was upright with a big seat,” he said. “It might as well have had a bell on it.”
Julie, who finished fourth overall in the women’s open division of the Columbus Challenge Triathlon and first in her age group (40-44), stressed that competitors need to find their own level.
“I would love to help anyone who would to try it,” she said. “You can go on a comfort bike or you can walk the three miles. It’s all about the feeling of accomplishment.
“I have a time-trial bike now. It’s an evolution, but you can go slow. Do you want to train, or do you want to go that extra mile?”
Her husband noted that everyone will have walls to break down, much like he did with the swimming portion.
“This is about teaching yourself how to break through obstruction,” he said. “It’s about what level and how competitive you want to be.”
If the Wilson children follow their dad, they will want to compete on a high level.
“My intensity is pretty high all the time,” he said. “I like the health aspect of it.”
He noted that he had come off a 60-mile training bicycle ride Tuesday morning.
“When I lay my head on the pillow, I barely remember it,” he said. “We prioritize sleep as part of our training. But the next day, I am sharper.”
While he weaves his training into a schedule that he calls “flexible,” he said it doesn’t seem like much of a chore because the entire family does it together, at least in a similar fashion. All three children are involved in youth sports, and they each have competed in at least two triathlons.
Julie Wilson, 39, said her schedule as a volunteer worker and mom allows her to schedule training time. She values that time.
“It definitely gives you more energy and keeps you fit and healthy,” she said. “I have more energy to get things done in a shorter amount of time. Your mind, body and spirit are much more productive.”
She said one of the best aspects of training is that it sets a good example for her children. She talked about her daughter, Emma, telling her the other day that she wasn’t sure she would be a triathlete at 40 years old because she doesn’t like running as much as her parents.
“Just the fact that she is thinking about it is good,” Julie Wilson said. “I told her, ‘I could see you doing Pilates.’ It doesn’t have to be the triathlon. It could be yoga or walking.”
Scott Wilson noted that their competition Saturday was a “sprint” triathlon.
“When people hear ‘triathlon,’ they think of the Ironman, which is a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon,” he said. “Then there is a half-Ironman and the sprint. We did an 800-meter swim, a 17½-mile bike ride and a 5K run.”
The training level for the sprint can be quite different than the others. “I’ve run three half-Ironman triathlons,” Wilson said. “The half-Ironman training can be overwhelming.”
He said the experience of competing in any triathlon can provide interesting results the first time.
“I remember getting off the bike and starting my run,” he said. “I started laughing out loud. It feels like somebody else’s legs are on you.”
But there are benefits.
“It’s brought us closer together,” Julie Wilson said.
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