Low expectations, met.

There is a sprint triathlon I'd done two years ago and enjoyed pretty well, in part because it was a new race and therefore pretty small. I had misread the date of this year's race and had originally thought the race was on a Sunday. When I found out early last week that the race was in fact on a Saturday, I decided to go ahead and enter. This will be my only triathlon of 2017.

I knew I hadn't done much of any of the three particular disciplines of a triathlon for this to be much good. I was a little surprised to find that when I went out to my garden shed to get my bike, the wheels had spider webs on them. Spi. Der. Webs. It also occurred to me that I most likely hadn't swum since before the beginning of school...which was almost two months ago.

But hey. Sprint triathlon, power through, slowly if necessary. And it would be necessary.

First off, I love that the only swag you get from this race are a swim cap and a postrace meal. Who needs another t-shirt or another medal? (OK, I do like medals, even for modest events.)

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Pool swim, 200 yards; bike, 15 miles; run, 5K.

The upside of the swim is that I started way in the back. Only one swimmer passed me, a younger, more-in-shape guy (which hardly narrows the field). I think I did breaststroke for 75 of those yards.

The bike was a little more challenging. It was described as "Out and Back course with some rolling hills but no hard climbs." (Italics mine.) Yes. Well. On two of those rolling hills, I got off and walked my bike for a minute or two. As such, it took me almost 1:09 to complete those 15 miles. One guy in my age group passed me on the bike. I caught him within a mile! On the last hill, I was walking. He passed me.

The run is mostly on paved golf-cart paths. And it was a hot day. For some reason, na├»vely thinking that cooler fall weather was here, I'd worn a long-sleeve tech shirt on the bike and run. Tactical error. It was probably already 70 degrees by that point. As I began the run, I saw the guy from my age group who'd passed me on the bike. I thought, well, that guy's slow, but he's maybe 30 yards ahead of me. I can take him.

I didn't take him. In fact, I pretty much ran a minute, walked a minute for the duration of the 5K, and he pulled further and further away.

So, no surprise here, another last-in-my-age-group finish. But: A) Not dead. B) See A.


A good race, a lousy t-shirt.

A lovely neighborhood run, the Oktoberfest 5K Bier Run in the Germantown section of Nashville. (Bier Run=beer run. Get it?)

But this has to be one of the worst excuses for a race t-shirt that I've seen in the past 25 years:

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100% cotton, white, short sleeves. Lousy illustration, lame fonts. On the other hand, this shirt will be perfect to rake leaves in.

On the upside: Nice course, mostly through residential neighborhoods, and a generous cup of beer--dispensed in one of these newfangled (at least to me) cups that have a small magnet at the bottom, like so:

 


(Slight downside: As with any race that's going to promise a beer to each finisher, they must start putting those out on the table well before runners arrive. So it was maybe not the coldest beer. But it was a beer (Paulaner, I think) and it tasted good.

Afterwards, breakfast at my neighborhood coffee shop, which was quite good but for the fact that they can also serve this on a biscuit, but they were out of biscuits that day:

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Hot 'Lanta.

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I have to say that, despite my general disdain for large races, I once again raced the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta with 59,999 other folks. My thoughts:

  1. This is possibly the best organized race anywhere. For starters, I had my packet mailed to me so that I didn't have to go to the expo.
  2. Good swag (finisher t-shirt, always the coveted item, given out in an organized fashion at the finish; Whole Foods postrace box of a packet of nuts, a Clif Bar, and Dang Coconut Chips, toasted cacao flavor; and for extra $--and yes, I did spring for these--another shirt, sent months before the race, and a finisher's medal, strangely mailed a few days before the race)
  3. Efficient wave start
  4. Sufficient water stops
  5. Various mist sprayers and sprinklers
  6. Fans all along the course, some handing out ice pops, bottled water, etc.

My run was pretty slow, as expected (there was a high alert heat warning), but pleasant, not terribly crowded after the first half-mile or so. I clocked along at about a 12-minute pace early but slowed down to walk through all water stops and drink slowly.

I should add that I had the luxury of friends dropping me off and picking me up near the start and finish. So that was nice.

Shoes

 


So many cancellations.

Yeah, First World Problem, I know. But I have frustrated myself by having to cancel or defer a pretty high percentages of the races I signed up for this calendar year due previously unscheduled family events. So far:

February 11: Hot Chocolate 15K, Nashville

May 29: Chattanooga Chase 8K

July 23: Music City Triathlon

August 27: Rocketman Triathlon, Huntsville, AL

Signed up for but have not yet had a family conflict for:

September 9: Heroes in Recovery 6K, Leiper's Fork, TN

 


Second* in my age group!

Last night, I had to buy my son some running shoes before his "swab summer" at the United States Coast Guard Academy. While we were there, I saw a registration table for today's Girls On The Run 5K.

My Saturday running choices were as follows:

  • Run with my normal running group, a 20-minute drive away from my house, already paid for, at 7am, or;
  • Pay $40 to run this 5K at 8am, a 10-minute drive.

I paid and slept longer.

Worth pointing out that last week's Saturday weather was brutal, and today's was gloriously cool--30 to 35 degrees cooler than a week ago.

Seeing as how this was an event primarily aimed towards beginning female runners, I'd hoped that nobody else in my age group would show up. (That is my ongoing strategy to get onto the podium.) I ran a decent race, just under 30 minutes. By no means a PR for me, but better in this very slow year.

After I saw the results printout at the race site, I was under the impression that I'd finished fourth in my age group. Oh well. Still a respectable race for me. I don't know if they were actually having an awards ceremony, but it looked like I wouldn't be getting anything, even if they did. I went home, showered, then went to watch some tennis.

Then, this afternoon, when I went to look up the official results, I saw that I was second in my age group!

* Two in my age group placed in the masters and grandmasters divisions and therefore were not counted in with the rest of the 55-59 age group. So, yeah...fourth in my age division. Out of four. Hey, I was faster than everyone who was still at home, in bed or drinking coffee (also great options).


Again with the back.

As it turned out, I did not sign up for this past Saturday's Smitty 15K, so I went on a 12-mile training run with the Galloway group. Not saying it was a big mistake, but my body rebelled at about the 10-mile mark. I walked most of the last two miles.

And the back injury that laid me low in September reappeared. Better now, after five days. Also, hope is on the way as the Mrs. and I went mattress shopping. I'm ready to buy; she wants to look around a little more.

But less than 10 days to go before the half-marathon. Despite my surprisingly good run last year on much less preparation, I don't think I'll be anywhere near PR shape.