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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Third time's a charmPosted Friday, August 26, 2011, at 4:06 PM
Perhaps I was suffering from a bout of insanity or a temporary lapse of judgment, but I again found myself waiting for the air horn to sound, signaling the beginning of the Dog Days Triathlon in Belmond last Saturday.
After taking an oath to not get run over by cars, wipe out on our bikes or drown in the pool, we were off. As much as I really hate running, I somehow made it, after drinking/choking down two cups of water from race volunteers, and after my shoes began to form angry, red blisters on my arches.
The fact that there were only five people in my age category kept me going, because I knew I was sure to snag a medal again.
But my heart started to sink when I finished the three-mile run, and headed for my bike. The racks were very empty, with only 20 or so bikes left.
Wasting no time, I jammed on my helmet and off I went, passing competitors right and left. Being a slow and steady runner meant I'd have to burn some rubber with my snazzy new road bike to make up for lost time.
That old guy who kept playing pass-and-slow-down with me on the run was quickly left in the dust. Although they were my competitors, I felt a twinge as whizzed around those struggling along on mountain bikes that weren't made for speed---that was me last year, pre-road bike.
My mouth felt like sandpaper and my calves were screaming, but I kept pushing, maintaining 18-20 miles per hour throughout the 10-mile ride, and gave my 43-year old mother-in-law a thumbs-up as we met near the turnaround for the ride.
Embarrassingly enough, she beat me by three minutes.
I was getting tired, but began to think back to my spin classes at L.A. Fitness. Having a 220-pound man, whose arms were roughly the size of your legs, get in your face and yell at you to "hit it" certainly creates a pleasant mental image to keep on pushing.
Finally, the pool. After stripping off shoes and socks, I wobbled towards the pool entrance.
Breast stroke? No. Crawl? No. Backstroke? Oh, yes.
After inhaling a few gulps of chlorine, thanks to choppy pool water, it was finished. Months of training for just an hour's worth of work.
The dragged-out door prize drawings left me the proud owner of "Dancing with the Stars: Ballroom Buns and Abs," but disappointment set in as the award ceremony began.
For the female 20-24 age category, first place was 54:09, second place 56:47 and third place 66:56. I ended with 70:03, just three minutes shy of placing.
I left bitter and angry, because last year's 77:39 finish was golden; err, silver in my case, when I took second in my age category.
As my husband and mother-in-law reminded me, it wasn't a wasted effort. All the time spent training has given me a stronger heart and healthier body, and a seven-minute improvement was nothing to scoff at, medal or no medal.
Next year is going to be jam-packed with triathlon goodness---Mason City Police Department Triathlon June 16, Storm Lake Triathlon Aug. 11 (still in the works) and Dog Days Triathlon Aug. 18.
The third time's a charm.