For the Love of Sprint Triathlons

For the Love of Sprint Triathlons

I normally write about the arts, but I would love to share this part of my past.

June 8th, 2022, was three years anniversary of my last Sprint Triathlon. I completed my first Tri just before turning 60. The June 8th Tri was held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the Glen Aqua Swim Club. It was my fifth and last race.

Waiting for the Tri to begin at the Glen Aqua Swim Club. 2019
Waiting for the Tri to begin at the Glen Aqua Swim Club. 2019

Nine months later, while training from another Tri, my knee went out, leading to total knee replacement surgery. I was told that if I attempted any more Triathlons, I would need another knee replacement surgery years sooner than necessary. If you’ve been through that surgery, you know it’s something to be avoided at all costs!

For those unfamiliar with Sprint Triathlons, they are the mini versions of the Ironman Triathlons. They still require the swim/bicycle/run format, but the distances are much shorter. For example, the Carmel Sprint Triathlon was a 400-meter swim, a ten-mile bicycle ride, and a 5K run.

The Carmel Sprint was the first Tri I participated in (2018) and the only Tri I repeated (2019). I almost missed the 2019 race, as the morning wind chill was in the upper 30s that day. Did I mention that what you wear for the swim is the same thing you wear for the entire triathlon? It was cold on the ten-mile bike ride in 2019, but I’m glad I did it!

The things I’d do for a piece of plastic on a ribbon! Glen Aqua Swim Club, 2019
After completing the Glen Aqua Tri. The things I’d do for a piece of plastic on a ribbon! Glen Aqua Swim Club, 2019

Another interesting fact about the Carmel Tri was that a woman in her 80s kicked my butt, time-wise. Her overall time was 40 minutes faster than mine.

I recently discovered that the pandemic ended the Carmel Sprint, so the 2019 race was the last, and I am glad I was able to be a part of it.

If you complete a Tri, you get a medal! The things I will do for a piece of plastic on a ribbon! In some of the triathlons, they had medals for the top three men and women in their age categories. In the photo above, I am showing off my completion medal.

The Zionsville Tri was the second race I competed in. For me, it was a challenging course. I had recently recovered from a broken elbow. It was the middle of the summer, and the cycling course was in the beating sun, with little shade and some challenging hills.

I was the absolute last person to cross the finish line. I was so late that they had begun to take down the racing paraphernalia! As I grabbed my gear to leave, they were in the process of announcing the winners for the different age groups. I figured it was a fat chance that I’d be one of them, but I didn’t mind the opportunity to stand still for a few minutes, so I hung around.

As they got the women in my age group, I saw the reaction of the woman who placed third – She expressed complete disbelief. I couldn’t see the response of the second-place winner, but it must have been much the same as the third-place winner. The announcer joked that perhaps he should talk with the timekeeper based on the reactions of the second and third-place winners.

The 3 (surprised) top women for the 60-65 category. The Zionsville Tri, 2018.
Three surprised top place winner for the 60-65 womens category. The Zionsville Tri, 2018.

When he announced the first-place winner for my age category, you could have knocked me over with a feather – it was me! I wish someone had taken a photo of my face at that moment; it had to be priceless!

I must admit that I am very proud of having completed five Triathlons. I was never very athletic, so this was a significant accomplishment for me.

Nowadays, my goals are humble. Walking 5 K and a 5-mile bike ride makes me happy.

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