It started back in 2003 with a neighbor's challenge to participate in the Pax River Triathlon and a used road bike purchased through the local classified ads.
"I finished the race in 1 hour and 24 minutes," said Simon Richardson. "I had a great time, met some seasoned triathletes, got hooked and the rest is history."
Since that first triathlon, Richardson, who is a systems engineer with Engility Corporation supporting the Navy H-60 Seahawk program (PMA 299), has methodically honed his skills.
Today, in addition to donning specialty clothes and riding a professional bike, Richardson trains seriously throughout the year.
"A year of training is broken down into sections of periodization," Richardson said.
Periodization is basically a year-long plan that involves stages of rest and recovery, base buildingestablishing endurance, strength, technique and fuel efficiencyand training for competition during the May through September racing season.
"After racing season is finished (October) the body needs to recuperate and focus changes to light workouts, cross training, yoga, spinning and weights," Richardson explained. "January and February is focused on building endurance base, and low intensity workouts. March and April work on speed, strength and longer endurance workouts. Training continues strategically to prepare the body so it is at peak performance when you want it to be."
Richardson participates in five or six official events each year, including the September Patriots Half Triathlon in Williamsburg, Va., a 1.2 mile swim in the James River, 58 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run.
"Self-analysis of my training calculated a time of 5 hours, 45 minutes if all went well, and 5:30 in perfect conditions," he explained. "I was very happy with my overall time of 5:40. I finished 88 out of 440 overall. Mission accomplished."
Of the last nine Pax River Triathlons, Richardson has won five in his 40-49 year age group; he qualified for the Age Group National Championship at the international distance in 2011 and 2012; he is the co-founder and current president of the Patuxent River Triathlon Club; and is a Mad Dogg-certified instructor teaching spinning classes at both the Energy Zone and World Gym in Lexington Park.
"Triathlon is the fastest growing sport in America right now," Richardson said. "And I'm all about getting people involved with nutrition, fitness and living healthy."
To commemorate his 50th birthday in 2013, Richardson intends to participate in a full Ironman triathlon competition that will entail a grueling 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles cycling, and a 26.2 mile marathon run.
"I'm considering Ironman Cozumel, Mexico, in 2013," he said. "I am a serious triathlete and have never attempted a full Ironman. I'm considering an Ironman tattoo, but you can't get that until you've completed one."
Originally from the U.K., Richardson arrived at Pax in 2002 for what he thought would be 2.5 years, but he's still here after more than 10 years.
The Patuxent River Triathlon Club is a USAT sanctioned nonprofit organization of nearly 50 members and anyone is welcome to join. For more information, visit www.paxrivertri.com or become a member online by visiting www.bigtent.com and searching for Pax River Triathlon. To learn more about the USAT, visit www.usatriathlon.org.