Triathlon: a trilogy of sports totaling sheer madness ranging, in order of madness (worst to least): Ironman, Half Ironman, Olympic Distance, and Sprint. The sport is said to have originated in the 1920's France even though the name comes from the Greek words trei (three) and athlos (contest). I'm not sure how the French ever agreed to the name being Greek.
Competing in a Tri was never on my list of things to do, especially as I considered it having become something people did to be hip. Didn't feel the need to prove anything. I was quite happy with my routine of cross training, and my body seemed to agree.
Then I came across a Sprint Tri advertised in the next town over from where I live. The date was in three weeks. Being fitter and more cross-trained than ever before I was admittedly tempted. I wouldn't have to train any more or drive three hours to get there. I routinely did more than the 1/3 m swim, 14.5 m bike, and 5k run. Just hadn't put it all together yet. This was a little too close in time and distance to pass up...
However, I did not lose sight of my goal of not getting injured so I asked an equally motivated and life embracing friend to do the run. He needed little convincing. We registered as the relay team "Never Too Late" because in our minds it's never too late to starts something new.
Once or twice before the race, I combined swimming with biking, roughly the distances required for the race, but absolutely without applying scientific methods. This race was going to be fun, not overwhelming. I was thrilled that someone else was going to do the race with me and as an extra bonus relieve me from the pressure of having to do the run. In fact, the week before the race I got sick and focused more on sleeping than training but as someone who tends to over-train I believe it worked in my favor.
Bike strapped down sideways on my roof rack (bike racks are overrated), and helmet, fairy shoes, sunglasses, gloves, towel and running shoes accounted for, we drive down to Nahant for the First Nahant Annual Sprint Triathlon, September 9, 2012. Both giddy, laughing at the madness of it all. Two peas in a pod, disguised as a red VW Golf GTI.
The air has a definite chill to it but I know from an ocean practice swim I did a few days ago that the tropical storm brought along some pleasant, warm water. The reports said 65 degrees. Tropical indeed.
The sun rises over the horizon and chases the night's rain clouds away as we make our way down to the start of the race. Upon arrival I notice that all but five participants are wearing wet suits. I'm one of the five and not one of the "better insulated" participants. They are all in fact, wearing wet suits.
The pre-race meeting is brief and soon enough the first wave of competitors throw themselves into the wet. I place myself on the outside of my field to avoid getting caught up in the sea of madly swinging arms and kicking legs which is where, I learned in a swim race last year, contact is the rule rather than the exception. This turned out to be a good strategy and soon enough I am out of the water and on my way across the street to the transition area, happy to not be twisted up in a wet suit: Sixty-five degrees is not cold when you have 125 psi of adrenaline pumping steadily through your system.
Back in transition I throw my bike on the ground, hand off the timing chip and wow I'm done. Now it's up to my teammate who takes off like a rocket and keeps the tempo up all the way to the finish which helps land us in second place out of eleven teams with a total time of 1.17.09. Not too shabby for a pair of first timers. We are on the moon, jumping with joy and adrenaline proudly wearing our medals to the post race breakfast, complete with beer, eggs, and live music.
A few days later I mention there's another Tri in Rye, NH in two weeks. We enter as individuals this time... hooked.