Monday, September 20, 2010

Lake George Triathlon

My last triathlon of 2010 has come and gone. During the weeks leading up to the race I got bored with training, it started getting cold and I told myself I was never racing in September again. Then the race came and I had fun and now I'm sad my season is over. All that's left is Sunday's little half-marathon...

The Lake George Triathlon is an Olympic-distance race. The swim is .9 miles, the bike course is 24.8 miles and the run is 10K (or 6.2 miles). I finished in 3 hours, 30 minutes and 20 seconds. I'm happy to report that, while I'm still solidly at the back-of-the-pack, I improved on last year's time by 24 minutes.

They say that you can't win a triathlon in the swim, but you can definitely lose one in the water. My race must have been a lost cause! According to my training log, I've spent a whopping 3 1/2 hours working on my swim this year (and that includes the two sprint-distance triathlons I did earlier in the summer). I didn't even deserve
to get in the water with that little training. One thing (maybe the only thing, except my friends) that I miss about New Jersey is having a pool nearby. Our closest YMCA pool is a 45 minute drive, if it's not snowing. Even if I could afford the membership, I can't find a way to fit a couple of swims a week into my schedule. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. With proper training I might figure out how to swim in a straight line instead of going off-course 5 or 6 times. Anyway, I managed to do the swim in 39 minutes, two minutes faster than last year. I was not last. And I enjoyed it. If it wasn't for all those people knocking me around as they passed me, it would have been a nice swim on a sunny day in fall.

Since the bike course nearly did me in last year, I was determined to conquer it this year. I felt
like I rocked the bike. I was loving every minute of it, even the hills. Unlike the swim, I've done lots of bike training this year - more than 800 miles on the Schroon Lake hills. I felt really strong the whole ride. The only thing holding me back is my bike. My vintage Schwinn 10-speed just can't compete with bikes made within, oh, the last decade. (My bike was made when I was still in middle school. Yeah, it's that old.) Her tires are too fat to fit properly in the transition racks. And she's heavy. Despite her limitations, my classic baby and I managed to shave 20 minutes off last year's time to finish the leg in 1 hours and 36 minutes. That's huge. But I still want a new bike.

The run was what it was. I ran the 6.2 miles eight seconds slower than last year, in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 34 seconds. Consistent, if nothing else. My knee hurts every time I run now, and I was very careful not to push too hard. It would stink to injure my knee training for the half-marathon and then not even be able to run that race because I blew my knee out in the tri. I took it slow (obviously) and was just happy that I didn't have to stop and walk. Although I'm considering switching to walking. It might be faster.

I finished faster than last year. I was not last. I can still walk. I met all my goals.

When it comes right down to it, while I like to imagine myself getting age-group hardware someday, I'm not at all attached to the idea of winning. I set goals for myself, trying to improve my bike time for instance, to make training more interesting, but I participate in triathlons because they're fun and I get lots of satisfaction out of completing the race, not because I have any expectation of winning. (Besides, it's easier to find your times when you're on the last page of the results.) So next year I'll tackle a longer distance for the challenge of finishing and the joy of training. And because it's a good excuse to get a new bike.
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