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Scott Simpson

HIV+ Triathlete: Til I Drop

My First Triathlon: Passion Stomps Ego
February 16, 2010

My athletic background consisted of ... wait, I have no athletic background. Growing up on a farm with hours of chores every day negated any opportunities to participate in after school athletics -- there were cattle to be fed and dung to be disposed; in one end and out the other. While these were physically demanding chores, by no stretch of the imagination did I ever consider them to be athletic activities. They don't give out medals for shit shoveling.

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Triathlon Training: Nasty, Brutish but Not Short
February 8, 2010

I have officially started my ironman training which means the 'get fat and slow' part of my training season has come to a screeching halt at 173lbs and many missed workouts, but not meals. Mmmmm -- chocolate. Alas, it is now time to buckle down (coz I can barely buckle up) and start into long base building workouts. As such, I have recently bumped up the volume and frequency of workouts, especially on the swim and bike, and implemented hard-day/easy-day rotations.

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Transitions: Life, Lemonade and Triathlon
February 1, 2010

In triathlon racing there is a transition zone; an area where athletes transform / change from swimmers to cyclists and then from cyclists to runners. The goal of the athlete is to get through the transitions, T1 and T2, as quickly as possible. It is free time you can gain over your competitors.

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Lassie, Haiti and the Animal In Me
January 25, 2010

It has been kind of rough going for me the last few weeks with some challenges that have interfered with my life/training. First, I had a minor cosmet- er, medical procedure that prevented any swim training for just over a week. Most recently I've been battling the flu -- but not H1N1 or seasonal flu coz I got those shots -- and have missed 2 days of work and 3 days of training.

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Pretty, Witty and Gay
January 12, 2010

But, I can hold my own in the gay department. I'm told that kittens know I'm gay. I'm so gay that I assume it's self-evident to one and all. So I'm always shocked when anyone who has known me for a while says they didn't know I was gay (ed. Ha, as if). My knee jerk response is "What? Did you just meet me?" I'm mean, like really, even Helen Keller knows I'm gay. Haven't you heard my 'accent', the way I talk? The way I walk? Hell, for that matter, the way I run?

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Something Spiritually Sexy
January 6, 2010

I did not have a personal definition of the word 'spiritual' for the longest time. For me, the word was packed with religiosity and based on belief in angels and other ethereal beings. So not my cup of tea. I like mine green and evidence based. Then I went to a workshop on spirituality conducted for, and facilitated by, HIV+ people about 6 years ago. If memory serves there were about 20 people, mostly men, in the group.

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My Mother: Tractor Pull Queen
December 21, 2009

The alarm goes off at 5am, but I'm already half awake, listening to talk radio, callers blathering on about aliens and crop circles and 9/11 conspiracy theories. I drag myself out of bed, trot across the heated floor, which the soles of my hard working feet relish, and throw a slice of bread in the toaster.

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Triathlon Is Primal. Night Sweats Are Modern.
December 14, 2009

The other night I was watching the science show Nova on PBS -- it was about our evolution and how we became bipedal. The theory goes like this: our ancestors succeeded because they had access to meat and fat that allowed our species to grow big brains. To catch this meat they would track and chase an animal to its exhaustion and then easily kill it. Unlike our naked ape selves, having lost much of our body hair to promote sweating and internal heat regulation, hairy animals cannot perspire through their skin and unless they stop running and pant, they eventually overheat. Our lack of body hair is an adaptation to the long distance running necessary to secure high calorie food. The documentary included a video clip of bush men from Africa hunting for food: chasing an antelope-ish type animal for 4 to 8 hours until it had overheated and could run no more and became an easy target for their spears. This is known as persistence hunting. It reminded me of triathlon.

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Me, Obama and the HIV Travel Ban
December 8, 2009

I have got to confess -- it's a huge relief knowing that the United States, with President Obama's push, is going to lift its travel ban on HIV positive people from entering their country. Definitely a major reason I was finally willing to start this blog. What I found particularly insightful was his acknowledgement of the negative impact the travel ban had on the spread of HIV/AIDS.

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Here We Go!
November 25, 2009

Mostly to share my triathlon training and racing journey as I prepare for Ironman (IM) Louisville 2010, but I also figure, by being public about living with HIV, I can help educate people and reduce stigma and discrimination. In short, effect positive change. Life's too short not to be following passions. The grim reaper lurks closer every day. Maybe that's whom I'm really racing.

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See Also
Ask a Question About Exercise at The Body's "Ask the Experts" Forums
Ten Things You Can Do to Improve Your Physical Fitness
More Personal Accounts on Exercise and HIV/AIDS

HIV+ Triathlete: Til I Drop

Scott Simpson

Scott Simpson

Scott Simpson is an HIV+ triathlete, student and inspirational speaker avoiding real work so he can find more time to train and learn. A former party boy, Scott has gone from the fictional national drinking team to the real Canadian national triathlon team and is current provincial long course champion in his age group. Scott is also founder of, and inspiration for, the Race for Dignity, which is both an annual spinathon in Toronto and annual school campus events coordinated by Dignitas Youth chapters. Cumulatively, they have raised almost a million dollars for the medical humanitarian NGO Dignitas International, contributing to over 11,000 people living with HIV/AIDS gaining access to ARVs in Malawi. Scott is currently training for Ironman Louisville 2010.

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