Yesterday was my first triathlon of this season, the Independence Triathlon sponsored by Piranha Sports. I’ll admit up front that I wasn’t as ready as I like to be for this annual event. While my swimming and running were up to par, I just hadn’t trained enough this spring on my bicycle. I knew going into yesterday’s race that the big hills at Nockamixon State Park in Pennsylvania were going to be a serious challenge for my quads and calf muscles.
The good news is that I swam the quarter-mile course faster than last year (9:16 last year vs. 8:37 yesterday). The bad news is that I biked the 10-mile course a full three minutes slower (48:04 last year vs. 51:15 yesterday). There is good news in that last set of numbers, though—because I spent at least three or four minutes pulled off to the side of the road addressing a finicky bike chain. My gears were for some reason jamming up yesterday, and not once, but twice the chain came entirely off the bike. I had to dismount and get the thing back on two times in a row, which left me covered in black grease and at a complete loss of momentum. And both times that I fixed the chain, I then had to wait for an opening in the field to re-mount and continue the race.
Excuses, excuses, I know, but the reality is that my time difference on the bike from last year is most likely a result of those mechanical breakdowns. Where I have no excuse, though, is on the two-mile run, which took me two full minutes longer (24:46 last year vs. 26:33 yesterday). On that leg of the race, I have nothing to blame but myself. My lack of training on the bike left my legs so spent that I had to walk a few paces along the run course to catch my breath. I simply ran out of steam on the muggy, 84-degree morning.
That training matters is, of course, a good lesson to re-learn at the start of the season. And I still have three more months to train before the big annual showdown with my sister at the Delaware Diamondman Triathlon this September. (But first, a trip to the local bike shop…)
Yesterday’s race, by the numbers:
- Overall place: 421 out of 441
- Place in my division, Athena: 11 out of 18 (way better than last year, when I was next to last in my division)
- Number of times I kicked my bicycle: 1
- Number of times I made other bikers laugh by saying “Thank God” out loud as I cleared the top of a hill that might as well have been Mount Everest: 3
- Top speed on my bike: No idea, since along with my bike chain, my odometer crapped out on me, too
- Number of 61-year-old women who blew past me on the run: 1 (she rocks!)
- Number of Advil taken since yesterday afternoon: 8
- Number of celebratory servings I enjoyed yesterday of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie FroYo: 2