Some in my life thought it was a “fad” but I have continued to do one or two triathlon per season. I really like two of the three sports and I commit to more intense work outs when I have a specific event coming up. Now in the sport of triathlon the theory is to overtrain each individual sport leading up to the event so that on race day you have something left in the tank when you switch from swim to bike and then bike to run.
I most definitely did not over train this year and almost didn’t register as I haven’t been out running much this year. I’ll be honest that I have never had the “runner’s high” that people speak about and most of the time come back feeling a bit like the hills kicked my ass. I swim twice a week from September to April but then struggle to find a pool time that works with my schedule in May so always rely on muscle memory and adrenal to pull me through the pool. This is the first year I used a road bike and I was passed significantly less than in previous years. I have, as I said, always struggle with the run but this year I turned it around mentally. It’s always been my “weakest portion” but this year I headed out of transition with the words final stage in my head as well as last loop.
I was fortunate enough to pick up a running partner shortly after the final transition and despite her age we stuck together. It was the young woman’s second triathlon and her goal was not to walk any of the five kilometres. I went into it thinking I would end up walking some but felt quite good coming off the bike, in fact better than I have in about 5 years. So when she stopped to stretch her Achilles and started off again we fell into a very similar stride and off we went. We chatted, shared our few running tips with each other and used the words when the going got tough. I would have walked twice for sure if she hadn’t been beside me although I was also watching a friend ahead of me and trying not to lose too much space to her! Nothing like a little competition to keep one moving.
My friend Gaye would say that I encouraged her to go out and try this sport. I’ve always admired her commitment to running. She travels lots for work but takes her gear and runs on a treadmill before the start of a busy day and when home has a running group that she gets out with. She and a friend joined a local coached group this winter and did lots of training. It was her first triathlon and she rocked it!! It was with her encouragement that I decided, despite the lack of training, to go for it. The results showed who had been out there putting in the miles as she placed 5/7 in our age group and was 1 minutes and 11 seconds ahead of me.
The fabulous thing about triathlon is the encouragement given by volunteers, spectators and fellow participants. The volunteers are fabulous to give their time to ensure our safety but they go the extra mile by urging us on. The first year I did one, when I was passed repeatedly on my mountain bike, the riders going by consistently said “good job — keep going” and so I did. I was discouraged but I kept at it. Today I paid that forward by encouraging some bikers and runners who were obviously struggling a bit. In fact by the time we finished we had picked up a third runner in our group, who responded to our encouragement. I was buoyed up by the fact that spectators paid attention and watched for me, giving me a shot in the arm by calling out my name and telling me I was doing great. Plus my wonderfully supportive husband encouraged me to take the time to do the event and was there watching with the camera and cheering me on.
You know what? I am proud of my time and the effort I put into the event. It would certainly pay off to join a triathlon group during the off-season so I could shave some time off all three disciplines but for today I’m going to rest easy that I gave it my best and go have a beer!
Age Group # Swim T1 Bike T2 Run Total time Placing/age
50-59 105 13:29 2:42 38:23 23.4 33:44 1:25:35 6/7 Women