I wrote back on July 6th that I had entered a mini/sprint triathlon. As I had explained, the week that I saw the ad for the mini-triathlon had been cool and mild by Kansas summer standards. I think that was the mental lapse for me: cool and mild.
I signed up for the triathlon, and two days later, BAM! Back we were to the triple-digit temperatures. I was distressed. I hate sweating. But, I did venture out most mornings of that fortnight and either ran or rode my bike some semblance of triathlon distances. Oosh: the sweat. I hate sweat trickles.
In the evenings, I enjoyed my swim training. Ha ha ha! I swam happy laps; side stroke, breast stroke, back stroke, and freestyle. In that order. Most evenings, I had my own happy lane. And every other swimmer was polite. "May I?" "Is it OK?" "Can we?"
I thought this was the way things were in the swim world. "Do you mind?" "How about we share?" "Oh, pardon me."
In my two-week triathlon training, I also looked at YouTube for videos on "transitions" and "strokes" and blah blah blah. I was so ying-yang mentally. Part of me said, "You've got this!" and part of me said, "Seriously? Just go have fun with it."
That latter mentality is what I chose to adhere to: Go have fun. And so, the early morning of the triathlon, I drove an hour or so to the competition site, parked my car, and looked around, eyes wide open to a myriad of athletes. Somehow I had gotten the mistaken impression (having entered this thing online) that there were so few participants that I was certain to be Okie-Dokie and not stand out like a total beginner in any of the transitions.
Ha ha ha! Wrong. There appeared to be some serious competitors in this morning's fun and games. SERIOUS. E.G., the woman whose bike I placed mine next to? She had all her "stuff" lined (in a line!!) as to how she would transition from pool to bike to road run. Yes, I do understand that this is how it is in the Big Time,but HEY! This was supposed to be fun and games, and not the Olympic trials.
So, I shifted my shoes and helmet around a bit. To show everyone that I knew how this thing was going down. Yes sirree.
The start of this mini-sprint triathlon was in the local pool. We were told that they would send each swimmer off every 20 seconds. (We all had timers on our ankles). No diving was allowed, and I mentally planned to jump straight down into the pool in order to kick off from the side. Ha ha! Well, adrenaline got the better of my mind, and when that man called "Go!", I jumped about twenty feet into the pool. Ok, I exaggerate, but know that I jumped far away from the side of the pool so I had no place to kick from. SHEESH. Starting from a dead stop.
And then, I swam a few lengths of the pool, passing a few people. And a few people passing me. Everything seemed OK to me, not unlike my happy swim laps at home with my polite fellow swimmers, until SUDDENLY these two Saint Bernard-sized men overcame me in my lane, SPLASHING and WHACKING me as they passed me.
Oh. OK. That's competition, I told myself as I gasped for breath in the waves.
But then, you know what? I met those two giant Saint Bernards at the other end of the pool. They were hanging there, catching their breaths. And so I had to swim under the rope, pass them and get on with my swim. But then! Whoosh!! Again, those two Orca Whales overcame me once again, and WHOOSH! I had a few mouthfuls of water. This was not pleasant, nor was it anything I had experienced in my happy laps in my happy evening swimming. This went on for the last four laps of our swim.
Transition to my cycling: it went well. Very well. I can't say enough about it, except that i was fast for six miles. I passed people!
And then: the running transition.
I was tired from the cycling, and so I piddled around in my transition (i.e., parking the bike, taking my cycling shoes off and putting on running shoes, drinking a fair amount...)
And then I went off. It started as a run, then a walk, then a run, then a walk, and so on, for two DING-DONG miles in Kansas summer heat.
I was toast. But you know what? So was the teenage girl with whom I was trading off and on during our last transition. She and I were both encouraging each other, and that made my last few minutes much more pleasant.
So the result of my two weeks' training:
3rd in my age group (56-ish?)
31 out of 35 entrants.
I will take it, and I will eagerly take a new mini/sprint triathlon.
I likened it to recess for 50-year olds. Seriously: I had so much fun.