Sunday, September 25, 2011


Do you have a bucket list? Is it something you just think about occasionally or is it actually written down somewhere? And assuming you have one and know where it is, what have you checked off recently? I have a bucket list - and most of the time I know where it is - although mine seems to get longer all the time. However, something that has been on mine for a long time was a triathlon. After some persuasion from coworkers (coupled with a bit of a break in half-marathon training), I signed up for the Saratoga Springs Triathlon. It was a Sprint, mind you (generally the shortest type), but it was nonetheless a triathlon. It was on August 20th. Despite what I considered a pretty miserable swim in Utah Lake (600 meters) and losing my chain and crashing on my bike about halfway into the 12-mile ride, I even placed! I was third of 12 male finishers 50 and over - and I won $15! Okay, it hardly qualifies as "winnings" , since it only paid for a third of the wetsuit I rented and didn't even use during the event, but does that make me a professional? I'll assume for the moment it doesn't, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Possessing absolutely NO competitive instincts or traits, I quickly signed up for another one - the second one being three weeks later in Stansbury Park ( just north of Tooele). I really felt I needed to redeem myself a bit for the swim and was certain I wouldn't repeat the bike chain and crash scenario. Well - the results were mixed. I actually managed to finish 2nd of six in my age group (M55-59), but felt just as unsatisfied about my swim. At least I didn't crash during the bike ride - I just lost my chain twice! Apparently, I am a reasonably competitive runner when it comes to triathlons (and old men) - and that helped considerably in both races.

Despite some dissatisfaction with my performance and results, I don't necessarily feel the urge to do another one anytime soon. Besides, I have a number of half-marathons in the next few months and they take precedence. However, I do feel I learned a few things - should I decide to do another one someday - if for no other reason than to validate my belief that I really am a decent swimmer!
First, I was reminded that swimming is GREAT exercise and a great addition to a training plan. I wish it were a bit easier to do that consistently. I admit, I still get winded pretty quickly in the pool, but I also learned "pool" swimming is much different than in "open" water when you are competing with dozens of sets of legs, arms, feet and hands for the same piece of water! And finesse swimming (with as little wasted movement as possible) just means you'll drink a lot of lake water. Much more important during the triathlon is getting your head out of the water to see and reduce water intake! (I did come up with a good analogy to a triathlon swim start, though - imagine a pond where large fish are occasionally fed; when the food is thrown in there is this mass swirling of fish climbing all over each other going after the food. Yes...that is pretty accurate! And whereas the first two triathlons I hung back and got behind everyone so I had fewer feet and arms in my face - I think next time I'll jump out front.) I was also reminded that when using bicycle toe clips (or equivalent), it really is a good idea to take your feet out of them before stopping! Yeah - I have crash wounds to remind me of that. And finally, despite feeling like you have leaden legs when starting to run after the bike ride - and feeling like you could hardly go slower - there is a good chance you are moving right along. I found that especially on the first Tri. I didn't feel quite as bad on the second, but managed to have (for me) a really good pace both times.

One item checked off my bucket list. The motivation to do another would be if Karen or other family decided they wanted to do one and we did one together. (And perhaps Buggy is ready for a reprise?! I now appreciate her efforts up at Jordanelle much better.) Never say never! Who knows, there may be another $15 out there waiting to be claimed!


Alysia said...

way to go Dad!! you're awesome! i didn't know you did ANOTHER one 3 weeks later! look at you and your bad self. you just couldn't let us be tied huh?? well, one of the times I come home we'll have to plan a triathlon to go along with our visit. love you so much and I"m sorry you had such bad luck with your bike!!! get a new one.

Super Daysh said...

WOhoo!! Go Dad! You are awesome and I'm so glad you have a bucket list that you are actually checking things off of! You rock. I'm still sorry that I didn't make it in time for the first one, but at least we showed up, right!

Rachel's Mommy said...

My husband rocks! But hey--where are the photo credits???