So, the weekend before the bicycle accident, I got a personal best in a Sprint Triathlon and placed third in my class (ladies between 21 and 30).
(For the curious, the distance is 750 meters swimming, 20 km (12 miles) biking, and 5 km (3.1 miles) running. My official time, including transitions, was 1:24:45 (splits = 15 min swim, 41 min bike, and 24:39 run).)
I can’t remember if this is my 14th or 15th sprint triathlon…I’ve been participating in one or two a year since I was sixteen, so just shy of 10 years now, and I’ve done triathlons in five different states in the US. I’m not very good, but I really enjoy them! Actually, triathlons are an inevitable result of my innate passion for running, biking and swimming.
As you can imagine, given my infamous history of being accident prone, I have some great triathlon stories. Boy, just about everything has gone wrong at one point or another! I wrote about my first triathlon here, including my unfortunate run in with a tumbleweed.
I think my hardest triathlon was the one I did in northern Ohio, in March. If you’ve ever lived in northern Ohio, you might know that the weather in March is a mixed bag of sleet, freezing rain, and/or blankets of snow. That day, we got to enjoy freezing rain.
As I was getting out of the pool, I slipped, caught my toe between the rungs of the ladder, and snapped it in half. I gritted my teeth, hobbled over to a bicycle I had borrowed from a friend, shoved my foot in its shoe and started pedaling into the rain, only to discover that she hadn’t ridden the bicycle all winter and the gears were all but rusted shut. For the 21 km (13 mi), I ground through the rust and rain. The bicycle complained constantly: ChinkchinkchinkchinkBANGsquuuuueeeeaaalll, chinkchinkchinkchinkBANG
The ride took me so long that, by the time I got back, everyone had already eaten a pizza lunch to celebrate and left. They were starting to clean up the cones on the running course, so I chased after the vehicle that was picking up the cones, stifling sobs. I finished the run just as they picked up the last cone and turned in surprise to see me stumbling across the finish line, with one shoe oozing blood.
When I was getting cleaned up in the locker room after, I heard someone behind me quietly say, “That was the most hardcore thing I have ever seen.”
I never looked up.
So, needless to say, this last triathlon, replete with sunny 31 C (87 F) weather on my favourite bicycle (poor Dragon!) was pretty much nothing but pleasant.
And tomorrow, I was going to do a half-Ironman race in New York. I’ve been training hard for five months, recovering from serious injuries in the spring. But with this broken shoulder blade, I can’t compete! It is really very disappointing, after all that hard work!!! (also, very expensive since they don’t grant refunds)
But here is Chrissie Wellington’s take on the matter; it is very inspiring. http://www.chrissiewellington.org/blog/turning-turds-into-triumphs/
“At times like these we can throw our triathlon toys out of the pram, stamp our orthotic assisted feet, and let the flames of disappointment destroy us, or we can emulate a Phoenix – that mythological bird which rises from the inferno, emerging stronger and much more powerful.”