So, here’s the problem with adding a race to your summer schedule at the last minute: sometimes it doesn’t really work into your plans. But the good news, in this case, is that I get to race something even better!
This coming weekend, I was planning to compete in the LUNA Bar Sprint Distance Tri on Sunday. Big Boy and Little Boy are competing in another Tri 4 Kids event on Saturday, which would make it a pretty full weekend. I’ve been entertaining a few nagging doubts about my race, including the fact that I would be skipping the 16-miler on my marathon plan. Add in the boys’ weekend homework projects and The Hubs’ planned 60-mile bike ride and I was feeling some serious guilt about racing on Sunday.
A quick check on the race director’s website revealed a Super Sprint Distance Tri (half the distance of the Sprint: 400 meters/8 miles/2 miles) on Saturday morning, just an hour after the kids’ event at the same venue. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
“But P,” you may be thinking, “Why would you throw away your hard-earned tri fitness on a Super Sprint Distance?” Well, bloggy friends, to answer that question, let’s take a little trip in the Way Back Machine.
Picture this: It’s the summer of 2008 and I have had an injury-plagued spring season, including a severely sprained ankle and a stress fracture in my shin bone. I haven’t run since May and it’s now mid-September. To cope with the lack of running, I’ve been riding my $30 Pacifica mountain bike, affectionately named Ol’ Bessie (who, by the way, weighed a whopping 39 pounds!) and splashing around a little in the pool.
The Hubs’ work friends have talked him into competing in his first Super Sprint Tri (2nd place AG, 8th place OA) and he, in turn, has convinced me that I should give it a go. I bought a slightly nicer bike (Shirley, my Fuji Finest) and a tri suit, and as soon as the doctor said I could run, I started working my way back up to two miles.
Race day dawned and there I was with barely three weeks of training, ready to have at it. More or less. I wasn’t even waist-deep in the water before I started having a full-blown tears and hyperventilating panic attack. I doggy-paddled, I asked a kayaker for assistance, I back-stroked and I cried almost the entire time I was in the water. Twelve long, painful minutes later I finished the 400 meter swim and was ready to wobble away on two wheels.
The bike leg wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t fast. There were really only two or three gears I felt comfortable in, I rode my brakes on all the downhills and I didn’t know how to get out of the saddle to climb the uphills. The 8-mile course took a little over 30 minutes to complete.
The run was hot and hilly and I wasn’t in running shape, what with the three months I took off due to injury. I walked a few times and felt pretty discouraged for most of it, but two miles and twenty-plus minutes later, I crossed my first triathlon finish line in 1:04:07.
The thing is, it all comes down to this: I have something to prove at the Super Sprint Distance. I want to wipe that 1:04:07 off my sidebar. I need to chase down the ghost of this race and kick its ass. I have pretty big aspirations for next year’s tri season, but before I move on to bigger and better things, I need to take care of this little piece of business.
See you at the Finish Line!