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.


Lia said...

Wow! your amazing and an inspiration. This post has blown me away. The time and effort you must have put into the training for this event,let alone actually taking part and enjoying it shows a real strength and puts me to shame. I can't actually remember the last time I exercised, but less about my in activity.
You also have a really great figure, all that hard work has given you a great body. You really should be very proud of your little self.

The photos are great and isn't it great when you get to prove the kids go that mama!!!
much love
Lia xx

Shaddy said...

Lia: Talk about inspiration! With your comment, I'm pumped up enough to continue with my workouts for the rest of my life. You have no idea how much I appreciate your words. I really do feel proud, thanks to you.

Sarah said...

Ahhhhh, memories. I love that you have the bulletin board in your computer room to remind yourself that YOU ROCK SHADDY!! :) My little Roadrunner that I am so very proud of.

I love reading about this in your words. If I were you I'd be beaming with pride as I wrote it. I am beaming with pride reading it. Way to go girl!


Shaddy said...

Sarie: I know you're enjoying these days as you travel with Russ. Good for you. Relax and enjoy the ride.

I popped out of bed this morning at 6:30 to do a short one mile run. Without my previous self-imposed performance pressure, I stretched it to two miles simply because I was enjoying being out in the quiet early morning air. Ahhh, I like my nice and easy attitude much better.