I’m Still a Tortoise, but with a Gold Star for Improvement

Yesterday was my second-annual attempt at the Delaware Diamondman Triathlon. You may recall that last year, I finished No. 206 of 214 competitors with a total time of two hours, 32 minutes, and 28 seconds—making me an official straggler. My goals for this year were to keep a few other participants in my sights, and to not have the race committee clearing orange cones from the course as I became the final competitor to bicycle past them.

By those admittedly low standards, yesterday was a big success. I finished No. 152 of 166 competitors with a total time of 2:11:49. That’s 21 minutes better than last year, which is a lifetime out there on the course. I went from being in the bottom 4 percent to being in the bottom 9 percent, so while I’m still moving slowly, I’m at least moving in the right direction. I was faster than 10 of the 70 women who competed, and I bested the slowest finisher in my Athena division (women weighing more than 150 pounds) by nearly 15 minutes.

I once again lost to my younger sister, but only by 6 minutes this year. That means there is still hope that during some Thanksgiving dinner in our lifetimes, I will be the one with bragging rights.

Here is yesterday’s race by the numbers:

  • 0.6-mile swim, 16-mile bike, 2-mile run
  • My overall time: 2:11:49
  • My sister’s overall time: 2:05:11
  • My husband’s overall time: 1:39:29 (WOW was he fast. Way to go Sean!)
  • Number of times my sister heckled me for wearing a wetsuit: 2
  • Number of times my sister stared enviously at my wetsuit while waiting an hour in the cold rain for the race to start: at least 4
  • Number of swimmers who accidentally free-styled into my legs from behind: 2
  • Number of swimmers who accidentally breast-stroked into my ribcage from the side: 1
  • Average speed I maintained for 16 miles on my bicycle: 14.9 mph (vs. 11.3 mph on the same course last year)
  • Number of times my husband referred to his bicycle as “The Red Death” before the race: 1
  • Number of times my sister referred to my husband’s bicycle as “The Red Death” during the race, causing the bicyclist behind him to crack up mid-course: 1
  • Number of odometers my sister inexplicably lost during training for and competition in this race: 2
  • Number of times in a row that I sang “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” in my head to stay alert during the 2-mile run: 3
  • Number of times during the run that I heard music in the distance and thought, “Either I’m near the finish line, or I’m going to the afterlife. Either way, I get to stop running soon”: 1
  • Number of competitors who nearly passed me at the finish line while I slowed down to high-five my sister: 1
  • Number of plates of food my sister, husband, and I ate at our post-race buffet lunch: 10
  • Time last night that I fell asleep on the couch: 7:45
  • Number of Advil I have taken since yesterday afternoon: 5
  • Number of triathlons still to come this season: 1, next month at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. Training resumes on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

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