In my last post I had written a summary of the last year and a half of my triathlon comeback. I ended the post by writing the following: "2016? I'm looking to expand my horizons beyond the northeast. Time to see if this big fish in the little pond can go swim/bike/run with the big fish in the big lakes. First order of business is to revisit the scene of the crime. The crime being my pathetic exit from triathlon with my sad performance at St. Anthony's Triathlon in 2009."
So what was so criminal about St. Anthony's in 2009? You've heard the expression "pouring good money after bad"? Going to St. Anthony's that year was a classic example of that. I was supposed to do St. Anthony's in 2008. I wasn't doing it with Team in Training. I had signed up on my own with the idea that it would motivate me to get back to swim, bike, run as opposed to long walks during marathons. I wasn't ready for various reasons, so I paid to defer my entry to 2009. March of 2009 came and I had not been in the pool, I had not been running, and had only been on the bike a couple of times. A person with half a brain would have said to herself. "Okay you paid $75 to defer your entry to this year. It's a month before the race and you haven't done any swimming or running. Just eat the $75 and be done with it. Why spend money on hotel, airfare, food, car, etc. just to justify spending $75 to defer your entry? Can you really do an Olympic distance race with barely any training?"
I do have a full brain, however the prudent half of the brain was shouted down by the "what the hell, go for it" half of the brain. So to justify paying to have my entry deferred to 2009, I spent $100 to go to the pool maybe 3 - 4 times before the race. I also bought a plane ticket, rented a car, booked a hotel room, and paid TriBike Transport to ship my bike to Florida. (That was the best money spent for that trip! I loved not having to schlep a bike case through airports and worrying about whether or not my bike would arrive on the same plane as me.) Let's not forget about food and gas. I don't recall how much I paid for all of that, but I'd guess probably around $1,200. That's not counting the money I probably spent at the expo buying stuff I didn't need. All of that to justify the $75 deferral fee. It's true there are worse places than St. Petersburg, Florida to spend a long weekend. On the other hand, I could have saved that money and gone somewhere even better, and saved myself the angst of doing a race that I wasn't physically or mentally prepared to do.
The only reason I was able to finish the race was because the swim got completely canceled. The day before when I went in the water, I couldn't swim much more then 200 yards before I was gasping for air. The waves were high and I was struggling to make any progress. I got out of the water that day and thought I would have my first DNF on Sunday when they have to save me from drowning in the rough water. Thankfully the race organizers thought it wise to cancel the swim due to the rough water. I was relieved that they weren't replacing the swim with an extra run before the bike. Instead the race went off with a time trail start on the bike. Every two seconds they would send a person out on the bike. However it was done in number order and with a number like 3099 it was going to be a long time before I got on the course. I can't remember how long it was before I got to go. However I spent a long time out on the course for just biking and "running". I averaged 14.1 mph on the bike, and walked a 16:40 pace and completed the race in 3:35:01. I finished 31st out of 33 women in the 55-59 age group. I had just turned 55. Quite a comedown from 2005 when I finished 3rd out of 35 in my age group (F50-54) with a time of 2:43:10.
I had fun over the weekend hanging out with friends. The race sucked though I did enjoy walking with a guy in the 75-79M age group. We talked about races we had both done, and places we had traveled. However I would have rather been talking about this stuff over a nice meal and a glass of wine, not during a slow walk in a triathlon.
After that race, I decided I was done with triathlon. I was too damn competitive to be satisfied with back of the pack results. I had given up on ever being able to run again, and felt I was too young to be reduced to walking the run course. I thought I'd be in my 70s or 80s before I'd have walk the run portion. Never thought it would happen in my mid 50s. I would now refer to myself as a former triathlete. I'd concentrate on Tae Kwon Do, working towards my Black Belt, and maybe do some bicycling. Little did I know that 7 months later, my world would be turned upside down with a tumble down my stairs resulting in a broken ankle. The black belt would have to wait a year and bicycling would have to have to wait two years. Triathlon? Not even on the radar. It was only a scheduling conflict between Tae Kwon Do and Team in Training that brought triathlon back into the picture.
Seven years later I'm returning to the scene of the crime to make my peace with St. Anthony's. Call it the seven year itch, or revenge of the tri-geek, but a new attitude about swimming and running is going make things a lot better this time around. Stay tuned.