I just completed another triathlon (yay!). It was my first Olympic distance (1.5 km open water swim, 24.3 mi or 39 km bike, 10 km or 6.2 mi run) and it was also a surprise triathlon. It was a surprise because I tried to register back in April, but it was already full. The race director said he would put me on the waitlist, but I did not expect anything to come of it, and so it was a total surprise when he said, “You’re in!” just a couple of weeks before the race. Naturally, I did not get to follow a training plan, because by that point I should have already been in my taper.
So I had to hope that my basal level of training was enough. (And it was, yay!)
But I had a few thoughts. The first was, wow, this is amazing! The water was choppy and the swim was challenging, but it was such a beautiful day, and I had never swum in this lake (Cayuga) before. I felt so fortunate to be able to do this race, both in that an opportunity opened up, and that I wasn’t injured.
The ride was through gorgeous scenery with beautiful views of the lake and the run did two loops up to Taughannock Falls.
I mean, amazing, right!?
My other thought was this: on the ride, I saw an accident occur, and so I stopped to help out. Of course, a lot of riders went by, and that was a temptation too. This was something we trained hard for, worked hard for! And everything was about the time. Stopping to help would definitely knock you out of any kind of competition. And the race officials would probably be along soon.
Still…I stopped. I stopped because I was worried about the girl who fell. I wanted to make sure that she was alright! I have been in bicycle accidents myself, after all, and I know how scary it is. So I checked out her injuries and made sure she didn’t have a concussion or any broken bones. I helped her up and fixed her bike. When the race officials arrived, I told her to take it easy and she said seriously, “Thank you so much for stopping.”
Of course I never think of the right thing to say at the time. I just shouted “Not a problem!” as I do, and rode away. But on the ride I was thinking about what I would say to her if I saw her again, “You are more important than a race! Don’t let anyone tell you differently.”
After all, a time is just a number, and she is a human.
(I also wanted to point out that the purple swallow-wort broke her fall, so even though it’s invasive, it has its upsides.)
So I didn’t place! But I still felt good about the day.
Also, this race is gorgeous!! Do it!!