208.7 miles run; 1 mile swam; 30 miles biked in 2012 races
Race: Vikingman Triathlon
Place: Burley/Heyburn, ID
Miles from home: 584 miles
Weather: 40s-70s; crisp; sunny
Vikingman Triathlon, their 70.3 was going to be my “A” race of the 2012 triathlon season. I saw the race would be four months after I completed the Pacific Coast 350, I would have two months off prior to it to train, and the course suited me. There was no reason not to plan to crush my PR, win the race, and ride triumphantly off into the sunset.
Then life intervened.
First, a bike crash and messed up shoulder –to put it lightly, followed by problems with my legs that went quite unexplained. After trying to will myself into shape and not being successful (it apparently takes actual exercise) I finally realized, literally hours before the race, that this race could in no way be my “A” triathlon race for the season. In addition, even attempting to do the 70.3 would probably set me back in my recovery, something I finally seemed to be turning the corner on. As I long ago lost the need to feel like I had to complete a race just for the sake of completing it (as if I needed to prove something to anyone) I decided that I would change races and run the Olympic distance triathlon instead. Instantly I was happy with my choice.
I believe the Olympic Distance tri is the distance that best suits my skills. With a 1500 meter swim and a decently long-run distance of 10K, the just-a-hair-under 25 miles of biking is palatable. I simply am not a strong cyclist and have not given myself enough of an opportunity to improve on that. Unfortunately, given the logistics of the multi-loop course to accommodate the 70.3 distance, the bike portion of this triathlon ran a little long. The nearly 30 miles of biking would be what we Olympic distance athletes would undertake. This meant there was 5 more miles for the lesser talented swimmers to kick my butt on the bike. *sigh*
The night before the race, I was given the immense pleasure of speaking to a large assembly of triathletes, supporters, and volunteers at a beautiful amphitheater in Riverside Park. I was able to share my stories of success and failure and how to overcome the latter and not get too caught up in the former. After a Q&A where some young kids in front led the way ,which I absolutely loved, I was able to spend time talking with new friends and old friends I had met in the past four years of traveling.
When Bert from Ogden, Utah, who I last met at the St. Louis Marathon in 2010, not only told me the awesome story about sharing a mega long-distance bike ride with his son, but that my story inspired him to continue to challenge himself, I was incredibly moved. People are very happy to tell you when they are not happy. Rarely, for whatever reason, do they do the opposite and share the good things in their life. It is almost as if sharing would be bragging. But Bert made it a point to specifically tell me this which was extremely touching. I thanked him sincerely and let him know how much I appreciated it.
|Alice and I post-race|
After a delicious cheeseburger cooked not five feet away from where I was doing a book signing, I skipped over to the host hotel which the race graciously provided for me and was actually in bed before 11:00 p.m. I think the last time I did that was when I was 7 years old. However, a 5:00 a.m. wake-up call in order to assure I had all my gear where it needed to be waited, and I wanted to be as rested as possible.