Sunday, July 5, 2009
Last Year's Danskin Triathlon
These photos were taken at the Chicagoland Danskin triathlon held in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in July of last year. Sally Edwards, a seasoned triathlete (she's done the Iron Man Triathlon) and the spokesperson for Danskin for many, many years is now working with Trek, the sponsor of this year's July event.
I was one of nearly 4,000 women who participated in 2008. The top photo is a random shot of swimmers waiting for their wave to enter the water. That's me in the second photo, looking down at my watch. We're waiting for the gun to signal that our wave (based on our age group) is to start swimming. The usually smiling and occasionally determined face in the remaining photos is mine. I organized my photo memories of the race on a bulletin board which hangs in my computer room. I took photos of the photos on the board to present here, thus they aren't great but you can get an idea of how the event transpired.
This sprint triathlon required athletes to swim a half-mile, bike a 12.3 mile route and finally run 3.1 miles. Time spent in the transitions from swimming to biking and biking to running contributed to each participant's total race time. In other words, the clock kept ticking so taking your time between legs of the race wasn't beneficial if you were challenging yourself. Fortunately, unusually cool temperatures made it a perfect race day, except for the first few frigid minutes in the lake before our bodies warmed up.
At 7:00AM, the start time for the first wave of swimmers, the air and water temperatures were less than inviting for a swim in the lake. I normally refuse to even wade in cold water. When the gun fired and I executed the first of hundreds of crawl strokes, my son and husband were waiting across the lake at the swim finish point. After I finished the triathlon, my son told me he had doubted I'd brave the cold water. He feared the race would be over for me before it even began. So I surprised him when I emerged from the lake, hurried past him with a smile and a wave and ran to my bike. After all the hours of training, ice cubes floating atop the water wouldn't have deterred me.
The training and the race experience challenged me and I'm extremely happy that I put in the time and effort to prepare and participate in this women-specific event. Since last year, I've been swimming, biking and running regularly in preparation for this year's race. A week ago, I decided one triathlon at my age was enough. I've chosen to treat myself to a relaxing camping weekend as a reward for my self-discipline in training.
I'll continue to exercise for as long as I can, although, I doubt I'll ever participate in another triathlon. I'm confident that overall health benefits, weight control and the resulting sense of well-being will pull me out the door and keep me moving. Perhaps I'll participate in some local biathlons and running events occasionally. My competitive spirit is impossible to totally quench.