The short end of it

Blah blah blah—those are my excuses for not writing blogs lately. I’ve been busy, okay? If someone’s still looking forward to my blog posts, I apologize. If not, then I take it back.

I’ve had a hard time writing about the sprint triathlon I did last month because I’m not sure how to write about it without venting. My wife made us really late in the morning through a combination of taking her sweet time and closing out of the google directions I’d looked up on my phone. When we arrived at the race, they very nearly turned us away because we were so late.

After a brief eternity, we lined up for the time trial-style race start as my grumpy mood began to give way to some race excitement. They’d divided everyone into a bunch of subjective categories for the swim (1 = swim team fast, 2 = masters fast, 3 = regular joe fast, 4 = slow, 5 = walking the swim), so I found a spot right in between two categories. When I started the swim, the 50m pool felt spectacular, and I comfortably crawled through the laps. My swim time, like usual, was only so-so, but I did pass a few people.

Yes, this is what comfortable looks like.
Yes, this is what “comfortable” looks like.

I nearly mounted my bike before leaving the transition area, which would’ve gotten me DQ’ed, I’m sure. But once I got out there, the bike felt just right. I took the first hill feeling great and passed my wife and her sister. When I crested, I had two riders in front of me for the descent, one of which I caught quickly. I didn’t close in on the second until we got back to (nearly) level ground. But when we got there, I realized he had a fairly nice triathlon bike. I gave him a thumbs-up as I went by, and he gave me a blank stare that said, “How are you doing that?”

The second hill went even more magnificently, with one exception: the course had obviously changed from 2010, and when I got to the top of the hill, there was an unfamiliar section. Instead of going straight to the main road, we were suddenly taking a twisting, turning, diagonal side road to the main road. I lost some time going the wrong direction and getting mixed up, but I quickly got on the right path.

Back on the flats, I found myself trading passes with a gal named Brittany, who was cranking out the watts on her tri bike. (No, I didn’t draft.) I got back to transition just ahead of her and we took off on the run together—though I quickly dropped her. I was slowly reeling a guy in on the run, so I thought it was going okay. Turns out, I was having one of my slower triathlon runs.

See? It even LOOKS like I'm running fast right? I'm not.
See? It even LOOKS like I’m running fast right? I’m not.
I caught the guy just before we entered the Olympic Oval, and as I did, the female winner (who I’d passed easily on the second hill of the bike) caught up to me. The three of us crossed the finish line a stride apart and quickly started the game of waiting to see how we did.

It appeared at first that I’d missed third place by, get this, 27 seconds—seven MORE seconds than last year. So I quickly moved from elation to “not again!” My sister-in-law had handily won her age group (owing partially to the fact that it consisted of her and only one other girl) so we stuck around for the awards. And then, oddly, they called out my name for third place in my age group—the AG winner had bumped up because he came in third overall. So, as it turned out, I really did take third place in the AG competition.

My wife also had a good time at the race, but not exactly how she expected. She’d anticipated having a fast swim, a mediocre bike and an even less impressive run. Well, her sister dragged her up to the front group of the swim, so right out of the gate, she got passed by a couple of lanky guys who were impersonating Michael Phelps. She then cranked out an unexpectedly decent bike ride before having exactly the miserable run she’d anticipated. In the end, she was just glad to finish. And I was glad for her.

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