UA professor fought flu, bad tires in triathalon debut

By Scott Allen

Arizona Daily Wildcat


That is how UA political science professor Paul Buchanan described his first experience of participating in the Gatorade Ironman Triathlon.

The Triathlon, which took place in Kona, Hawaii, was held Oct. 15.

"It was a good first time," Buchanan said.

His initial experience in the triathlon did not come without its problems, though.

Buchanan arrived in Hawaii with the flu, started the race with a 101 degree temperature and finished with it rising to 103.

Prior to the race, he told himself, "I didn't come this far to not start the race."

Buchanan finished in a time of 13 hours and 30 minutes, which was a few hours over his original goal of finishing in less than 10 hours.

Besides the flu, Buchanan had to deal with a shredded tire in the middle of the bicycling leg of the event.

"I waited for two hours (for the support van)," he said.

That setback cost him any chance of finishing under 11 hours, another of his goals, but he said it was still a good experience from a personal standpoint.

"It was a new experience for me, being that far back," he said of the blown tire incident.

Buchanan was the lone Tucsonan, out of four, who finished the race.

"There was no issue about not finishing," he said. "Now I know the course for next year."

Buchanan said the chances of all of this adversity coming his way again all at once are slim.

"If I did what I had planned on doing, I would have finished in the top 10," he said. "It was a very humbling experience, but being humbled in races is good for you."

After the race, Buchanan said he went straight to the medical tent and then to the emergency room to take care of his flu, which had escalated by the end.

Buchanan has realized that this was a learning experience and that this time he was there just for the experience. Next time will be for competition.

Buchanan enjoyed the experience so much that he said he will definitely be back in Hawaii next October.

"I think that I'll do the Ironman Series early next year (to prepare)," he said.

Next up for Buchanan is the Tour De Tucson Nov. 19.

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