Tragic Sandwich

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Belated Triathlon News

The training paid off! I still have a bad knee, which limits my running, and I’m still afraid of biking down hill, which limits my cycling. But I rocked the swim, if I do say so myself. I expected to cover the 1/4-mile distance in about 20 minutes, and came out of the water in just under 13. The entire experience was fantastic, and I decided to follow it up with a relay at the Catalina Triathlon.

This race featured a 1/2-mile swim, which made up my portion of the event. I was so excited at not having to prepare for the bike and run that I completely forgot to prepare for the swim. I was late to the transition area, and as I was laying out my towel, I realized that I couldn’t find my official swim cap (color: yellow) or my ear plugs. Fortunately my husband was able to provide extra ear plugs, and I did have my regular swim cap (color: blue). Naturally, in between the discovery and the solution, there was freaking out and shrieking.

So I made my way over to the start, where I waited for my wave (relays go last). I couldn’t see anything, because I had torn a contact and therefore decided that it would be better not to wear them. In retrospect, that might have been half right.

Soon it was time for my wave to begin. I gave myself a quick pep talk (I am a strong swimmer! I am going to swim very fast!) and ran into the water. Within 50 yards, I was shocked to realize that (a) I was already dead last, and (b) I felt like I was going to drown. What kept me going at first was the realization that I was part of a team, and that I couldn’t let my friends down because the swim was too hard. After that, what kept me going was the people on surfboards. The support crew was absolutely fantastic, providing moral support and directions to the buoys. After I rounded the second one, I could see the shore, and somehow things got easier. One woman paddled the entire way in with me, cheering me on the whole way.

At this point, I was clearly the last person out of the water. Apparently the race photographer didn’t see me, and left to take pictures somewhere else. (Harumph! I was only 40 seconds behind the person who finished immediately ahead of me!)

However, in spite of being incredibly slow compared to the other racers, I improved on my previous pace. This time I finished in just under 22 minutes, which means that my pace was faster over the longer distance.

So on a personal level, my training paid off. On a team level, it’s a good thing that I was on a team with people who were faster on the bike and in the run in comparison to other racers–my friends and their speed are the reason that the team didn’t come in last, even though I did!

That’s it for this year. I don’t know what next year will hold.

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