The news out of Manhattan yesterday, when a 32-year-old man died of apparent cardiac arrest during the New York City Triathlon, reminds me that I need to be in top condition for my own big triathlon of the year. It’s just five weeks away, and it will mark my third annual attempt to cross the finish line before my younger sister at the Delaware Diamondman Triathlon.
News reports say the autopsy from yesterday’s death was inconclusive, but it’s not the first time there has been a death during the swim portion of a race—especially when a new triathlete is involved. I’ve been training harder than ever for the swim leg this summer, both because it’s been too darn hot outside to run and bike some days, and because I want to be as strong as possible when I get into the water with dozens of other competitors smashing their arms and legs into me. While the swim portion of my upcoming triathlon is only 0.6 miles, I’ve been practicing a full mile once or twice a week in the pool. I want to feel as strong at the end of that swim as I do at the beginning, having learned in past races that other swimmers can really give you a good wallop whether they mean to or not.
My condolences go out to the family of the triathlete who died yesterday, of course, but I hope the tragedy does not deter others from participating in triathlons. The sport has grown like wildfire in recent years, with USA Triathlon having 21,000 members in 2000 compared with 100,000 members in 2007. My sister and I are still enthusiastic participants, especially of the well-run Diamondman race, where I improved last year but still couldn’t catch her.
Hopefully this year’s race will be free of injuries and filled with fun.