Today I’m doing something I haven’t ever really done before.
I’m doing the Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon at Quassy Park in Middlebury, CT.
But that’s not the thing I’ve never done before.
Well, it is. But it also isn’t.
This is the second triathlon I’ve done this summer, and it will be the seventh I’ve done in my life. The first five were in 2013 and 2014.
So I took a four-year break — not because I wanted to, but because life simply got in the way.
I’m not particularly good at triathlons, but I like them. A lot.
I have goals of becoming good enough to get on the podium on a consistent basis.
I just haven’t gotten to the point where I’ve been able to train consistently. The past month hasn’t been any different.
I’ve been training a little more consistently in the last month. And by consistently that means that I’ve done something almost every day. I might do a half hour swim on one day, a 3 mile run the next day and then a 5 mile bike and a 2 mile run the next day. But nothing has been to the level of intensity I’d ideally want to do it to. And that’s not the amount of training I need to do if I really want to be competitive.
Which I do. Some day.
So I said I was doing something today that I’ve never done before, and although I’ve never done this particular triathlon, that’s not what I meant.
Quassy Park is a small water/amusement park about twenty minutes from my house.
Our middle school goes there for a school trip every year. They rent out the whole park and take grades five through eight there for the day in June to celebrate the end of school.
Number 3 and 4 are both in middle school, so they went on the trip this year, but the weather wasn’t great, and the water ride portion of the park didn’t open that day.
So Quassy gave all the students a free pass to come back another day this summer.
Number 4, being the resourceful kid that she is and knowing that funds are limited and the chances of me taking them to the park this summer are slim to none, worked her Number 4 magic and managed to accumulate six tickets. So with Number 3’s free ticket, we have seven free tickets.
Most triathlons begin early in the morning. Like 7 a.m. And that’s good for me because I’m a morning person, and as the day goes on I run out of gas.
But today’s triathlon starts at 6 pm.
So it’s late and it’s usually warmer then than it is earlier in the morning which also doesn’t help me because I love the heat but I don’t love exercising in the heat.
The one and only time I ever took the kids to Quassy was in 2015.
Number 5 was six years old, Number 6 was five years old, and Number 7 was three years old.
Since the race doesn’t start until later and we have the free passes and the little guys have only been to Quassy once and there’s also a beach there and it’s perfect for their age, we are going for the day.
The whole day.
And then at 6:00 I’m going to do a triathlon.
That’s the thing I’ve never done before. Ended a day at an amusement and water park with a triathlon.
I’m a little worried I’ll be too tired to finish.
I don’t particularly love a day at an amusement park. I like to see the kids having fun, and I know they are SUPER excited to go.
But amusement parks are not all that amusing to me. Not when there are five kids to keep track of and follow around.
They’re more like endurance parks. Or exhaustion parks.
And I find myself nowhere near the shape I wanted to be in for this race.
Again rather than being in a position to really push myself and maybe be competitive with the other athletes, I’m in the position where my goal is merely to survive and to finish.
Being a competitive person, this is a little frustrating for me.
BUT, on the other hand, I feel pretty good about myself that I’m in good enough shape to even consider spending a day at the park with my kids and then compete in a triathlon at the end of it.
My skinny, 30-year-old, 125-pound, pre-kid, pack-a-day smoking body never could have done that.
So I’m going to enjoy the experience and do the best I can and more importantly, HAVE FUN. (hopefully 😉 )
But I do have some goals.
I usually set three goals for myself whenever I’m doing any kind of race, whether it’s a 5K or a marathon or a triathlon.
There is a fairly easily achievable goal, a stretch goal, and then a shoot-for-the-moon goal.
Before I tell you what they are, I need to share a story.
I used to coach the masters swim team at the Y, and there were quite a few triathletes who swam with me, and I became friends with all of them. After I stopped coaching, I started swimming with some of the masters swimmers when I decided I was going to get back into triathlons this summer.
None of the masters swimmers who were triathletes started off as swimmers. They were actually doing masters to become stronger swimmers and improve their swim leg of their races. One of the guys is a really good triathlete, but not a really good swimmer.
I’ll call him “John.”
I swam with John a couple months ago, and I kick faster than he swims. I could kick his ass up and down the pool with both arms tied behind my back.
But his run and bike more than make up for any weaknesses he has in the swimming department.
So John did the same triathlon I did back in June. My final time was a 1:29, and his was like a 1:02 or something.
He beat me by like 27 minutes.
That’s a lot of minutes.
Before we started that race, I jokingly said to another one of the masters swimmers who was also racing that day that my only goal was to beat John in the swim.
And he laughed and said jokingly something along the lines of if you don’t beat John in the swim then you are pathetic. He didn’t use the work pathetic, but you know what I mean. He’s very good friends with John, and it was all meant in good fun.
So anyway, after you finish a triathlon, you can see the results and the times and splits of every participant. The splits refer to your time in each portion of the race.
There are five splits in a triathlon: a split for the swim, the first transition from the the swim to the bike, the bike, the second transition from the bike to the run, and the run.
And everyone wants to see what their splits are.
If you read my post about that first triathlon, you might remember that I had a complete and total panic attack in the water. Being a swimmer you’d think I am super comfortable in open water, but I actually have a phobia about open water swimming. It completely freaks me out, and I usually hyperventilate for at least the first two or three minutes of any swim, and it takes me a long time to be able to swim comfortably.
Well in June it took me a 3/4 of the swim until I could relax. Literally. I was swimming more backstroke than freestyle, and I was way more tired from my heart racing due to panic and anxiety than I was from any swimming.
After the race was done and I got home later that afternoon I checked the results and I looked at my splits and then I looked at John’s splits and, well…
John completely kicked my ass in the swim.
By almost two minutes.
I was not happy.
John is also doing the Pat Griskus Tri today.
SO. Back to my goals.
My easily achievable goal?
KICK JOHN’S ASS IN THE SWIM.
My stretch goal?
Finish in under 1:30. This course is much hillier than the last race I did, so this will for sure be a stretch.
My shoot-for-the-moon goal(s)?
Have the fastest swim in my age group, and break 30 minutes in the run.
Those are nearly impossible, but if I’m gonna shoot for the moon, well… I’m really gonna shoot for the moon.
Wish me luck!
And “John”, if you are reading this, try not to choke on my waves, and I’ll wave as you blow by me on the bike.