Mar 14th, 2010
Yesterday was my first training ride of the 2010 triathlon season. As I started grinding up the first hill, I noticed that I wasn’t going very fast. Even for me, I was going pretty slow. I started pondering the depressing possibility that I had peaked as a triathlete at John Tanner State Park on April 25, 2009. I had finished 326th in a field of 472. I am a lousy triathlete.
On April 26, 2009, I crashed my scooter in a grocery store parking lot and broke my foot and ankle. It still aches some days.
My friend Kelly and I do triathlons together, and she beat me soundly in the olympic-distance race we did in September. I like to blame my poor time on the ankle, but as I started up the second hill of yesterday’s ride, I thought about second, more scary, possibility: Perhaps Kelly was still getting faster, and I was already beginning the long cool-down toward the grave.
But then the sun came out. The dappled sunlight that had made it through the trees shined on the pavement, and I flew around Stone Mountain. (Yes, 30 Rock fans, there is a Stone Mountain, Georgia, and it is a few miles from my house. Stone Mountain State Park is a great place to ride.) My heart was pumping hard, and the sweat and the wind made me feel truly alive.
And I remembered why I do triathlons: I like training. Once in motion, I genuinely enjoy swimming and running and biking and lifting weights. And I like the resulting strength and stamina. Sometimes, however, it takes a little extra motivation to get up off the couch. My motivation is that I have a race coming up and I’m not going to embarrass myself in front of Kelly. It is a petty reason, but many days it is enough to get me going.
On April 25th, one of the people I did beat was Dr. John Taylor. Dr. Taylor is 88. One of the great things about triathlons is that there are a lot of older racers. Maybe if I keep training hard, I’ll still be a lousy triathlete 48 years from now.