A cousin who lives in San Diego first got me started with half-triathlons a few years back. He told me about the different facets to the race -- the cycling, the swimming and the running -- and encouraged me to come back out to California during the offseason to try it.

I was still in the Minors back then and I decided to train with him. When I came back, I went to the gym, ran on the treadmill, swam in the pool and biked on the stationeries. The thing was, he wanted me to actually get out there and participate in a race with him.

Now I'm glad I finally gave it a shot. It's something I really like doing because of the challenge provided by the individual components of the race. I love to swim. I'm not that into biking, but it's somewhat fun. I'm not a big fan of running, but as a pitcher, I do a lot of running.

The full triathlon is a two-mile swim, 120-mile bike ride and a marathon run. I compete in the half-triathlon. It's about a half-mile swim, a bike ride of 30-60 miles and a 10k run to finish.

At the end of the day, you're just exhausted from head to toe, but it's one of the best feelings in the world. You see all those people cheering for you and it just pushes you even harder.

The mental aspect of the triathlon is harder than the physical competition. Anybody can do the physical portion of the events; you don't always have to be going fast. I never really cared about my time. Mentally, it was more challenging.

Competing in triathlons is a great way to increase your mental strength because it forces you to maintain your focus. I think that helps in baseball, especially when I'm on the mound and I need to persevere and work through a situation.

I hope to play baseball until I'm 40, but I'm going to try and compete in full triathlons when my career is over. I'd like to see if could qualify and compete in a full triathlon.

If I had to pick out two of my Mets teammates who I think would be strong triathlon competitors, I'd go with Billy Wagner -- he's very strong, both mentally and physically -- but the player I think would do the best would be Tommy Glavine. He's mentally tough. He knows what it would take.

Heath Bell, a 29-year-old right-hander from Oceanside, Calif., had 35 strikeouts over 37 innings of relief work for the Mets this season.