Yesterday marked my 5-year anniversary with Triathlon! I ventured back to the Verona Triterium Triathlon at Fireman’s park for another go at the sprint-distance course. This race has remained dear to me for many reasons: naturally because it was my first, because it’s close to home, because I’ve consistently performed well at it, and because it remains a friendly place for beginners – like I once was – to come out and race.
I posted back in March about “Balance in Halves“, and that approach has been serving me well this summer. I haven’t been spending a lot of time with super-long (or even super-hard) training sessions, and in exchange I’ve been able to put a lot of time into projects that make me happy, like tending my yard – which has been especially tough this year with day after day of dry sunny weather in the mid-90′s. I’ve been in the lakes for simple swims to stay cool. I know that the structure of my summer will decrease my race-performance to some degree, but I’ve been feeling very happy… and who’s watching the numbers that closely, anyway? After all, racing is only as good as the enjoyment you get out of it.
I had the privilege of singing the National Anthem again to kick off the race, then scoot over to the starting line where I took a place near the front of the swim pack, but off to the side. The quarry lake was warm and clear, and I had a good swim. I could certainly feel my lack of recent practice, but was confident in my technical know-how. Plus the water felt so nice. T1 went fast, and quickly I was out on the bike. I recalled how last year, after canceling the swim on account of thunderstorms, athletes darted awkwardly out of transition through a huge puddle; this year my bike bounced and rattled over the hard, crispy brown grass.
The bike course features rolling and steep hills; the out-and-back sprint course gives riders the chance to see each other. I knew a lot of people at the race: I’m glad to have found this fun and supportive community over the past five years. I do what I can to be a positive part of it. Sure, I count the number of athletes in front of me – and was quite successful this year at running many of them down between T2 and the finish – but I also smile to see the newbies.
So maybe this spring I haven’t put in quite as many hours or specific workouts as I do some springs, but I certainly have come to know myself, and know that I’m capable of pushing hard and hanging on when the day gets hot and my body feels bad. I hit the run hard, and kept pushing myself – and passed several other runners for a place on the age group podium. I’m capable of staying positive and enjoying the race for the challenging, painful thing it is. I felt alive. With about a mile to go, the thought popped into my mind: “you call it tri therapy, Dano: this is it!”