Saturday, March 5, I participated in my 4th triathlon. However, this one I was calling a “wussy mini triathlon” because it was going to be 20 minutes in each event with a 10 minute transition between the swim and bike and 5 minute transition between the bike and run. In fact, I was expecting to be so “refreshed” after the event, I didn’t even bother getting my shift at the fun job covered. That’s how cocky I’ve become recently with my events. You know what they say, “pride goeth before the fall”, right? Remember it – it comes in handy later.
My heat was scheduled to start at 8:00 am so I arrive at the college at 7:00 am – making sure I got a good parking place, a locker and my packet. The 1st Annual Mesa State College Indoor Triathlon was not well publicized and therefore was not well attended. There were probably 40 athletes all together so it had that small race feel – and I love small races. There were no racing bibs for this race and with everyone starting and stopping at the same time, there was no need for timing bands either. After instructions were given, each athlete was assigned a volunteer whose responsibility it was to annotate distance covered in each event. Jordon, my volunteer, and I shook hands and we took our lane – me at one end, Jordon at the other. With a blast of the air horn, my heat starts and I hit the water for my 20 minute swim.
Let’s talk a moment about the other 9 people in my heat. The other nine 20 and 21 year olds. The other 9 swimmers and bikers. The other 9 who were regaling everyone within earshot of their late night drunkenness the night before and how they were just “gonna go for the finish”. These 9 who started out at the bleat of the air horn like their suits were on fire. Nothing intimidating about them at all. Nothing. So while I maintained a steady pace, these folks started out all on fire but couldn’t keep their pace up. By the end of the 20 minutes, I was actually pretty close to their total laps.
Swimming for a length of time is very different than swimming for a distance. It played with my head – I kept track of distance for awhile but when I passed the normal length of a triathlon (500 meters) and I saw that I still had 10 minutes left, I grew momentarily whiney. It took everything I had to just keep going. At every 50 meters, I’d look up at the clock and mark the time left. I began a new mantra, “I can do anything for ____ minutes”. I was saying that a LOT. Until, finally, I had one minute left – enough for one lap. I finished the lap, heard the air horn and dragged my butt out of the pool. My final tally of lengths was 32 which is about 825 meters. The number one in my heat did 41 laps. Not too shabby for a 42 year-old.
Enough of the self-gloating, it was time to move on to the bike. There was a set amount of time for this transition – 10 minutes – and I found myself trying to decide if I just wanted to throw pants and a shirt on over my suit or to change all together. I decide to change all the way around and get out of the wet suit. I dry off, throw on my pants and my Half Fanatic shirt, grab a Luna bar and my iPod and head off to the bike. I’ve got 3 minutes left to set up my bike and get ready for the next leg of the race.
I like this portion of the race. I’m on a bike but I’m controlling the “incline” and the “resistance”. I’m not stopping to walk my bike up a hill; I’m not stopping because my foot is going numb. Just peddling, peddling, peddling - and trying to avoid looking in to the floor to ceiling mirrors that are placed across from me. I find myself glancing at the time on the speedometer and begin my mantra from the swim – “I can do anything for ____ minutes” and eventually I was done. Total miles biked – 7.1 miles.
On to the treadmill!! We’re directed to wait until we’re told to go (I realize that this event has mainly college students in it but I think even THEY could’ve figured out to wait until they were told to go…) and then we were off. I set it at 3.2 at first, then 3.4, then 3.5 and up and up I went until I stopped at 3.9. My iPod is blasting, my legs are moving and I’m thoroughly enjoying this race. I’m repeating my mantra over and over again and before I know it, we’re done. 20 minutes has come and gone and I’m done. Jordon comes to write down my distance (1.2 miles), we shake hands and part ways. I collect my belongings, head to the gym for a quick snack and then head home. I have to get to work in about 2.5 hours and it would be nice to just lay down for a minute or two.
The wussy mini-indoor triathlon totally kicked my butt. It was exhilarating, trying, exhausting and fulfilling. I was able to do an event in the morning and still get to work on time in the afternoon. While the set time was more challenging than a set distance, it was a fun change of pace. The “1st Annual” is indicative that it will be an annual event – I sure hope it is. I will definitely do it again. And maybe the next time, I won’t come down with the flu the next day.