Sunday, April 15, 2012

First place in my age group

Wearing my 1st place AG hardware standing by my truck.
With only 48 participants, and the majority of them walkers, I can't say I was totally surprised when they called my name for 1st place in my age group. It was, however, still pretty cool.

I've only placed once before. It was during the Thomas Frericks 5K at the University of Dayton where most of the participants were college kids or their parents. There were only three other women in my age group. I received a UD ball cap for my win.

The course represented the area in which I live: rural and pretty. It was a scenic route past homes and farms scattered several yards from one another; cows and horses grazed on the bright green grass.

Though a casual affair, the organizers certainly had the basics covered very well. The course was clearly marked, the water station was perfectly timed, the post-race recovery water and bananas hit the spot, the mile markers were clear and the mileage on the race was spot on.

The name of the race was the In Step for Life 5K Run/Walk. These folks are raising money for a community garden, so the registration money went to a good cause.

My time for my three-mile effort was 32:57. When I train, I'm usually hitting three miles at about 35 minutes, so it was a pretty good time for me.

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Friday, April 6, 2012

'Ron Swanson' was my race director

Not the triathlon from my dream.
The way I started this triathlon was the beginning of a dream.

A notoriously slow swimmer, I was the first one to exit the water. I thought, Could I possibly podium in this race, and not just in my age group, but overall?

The answer would be no, I was soon to find out.

There had been another competitor directly behind me. I had to keep up a strong pace in the Transition area to maintain this unreal lead.

When I went to Transition, it was like a locker room but in a hotel. I was frantically looking for my tri shorts, shuffling through my bag and other belongings. That was quite strange because I should have been wearing these during the swim.

Uh, oh.

I was unable to find my shorts or anything else I needed fast enough to keep my lead. I looked to my left and out of the room. The lady who had been behind me was now jetting off on her bike.


I continued to scurry about looking for what I needed. Though the next part was a blur, I ended up finding it. I began walking my bike out of the hotel when all of a sudden the tile flooring turned into dirt. There was a trail barely marked for the bike, but I somehow knew where to go.

As I came around the corner, I noticed triathletes already running. I couldn't believe I'd gotten so far behind that people had already finished the bike and begun the run.

Placing was obviously off my radar. I now needed to address the challenge directly in front of me: finishing the bike.

A real finish line.
The bike was only seven miles but it was around a track and spectators lined up all around. As I was going around one of the turns, I saw a sign that read "Party After the 5K."

I turned another corner and saw the character Ron Swanson from "Parks and Recreation" standing on the side. He was leaning against the brick wall, smoking a cigar, clearly in charge of the race but obviously disinterested.

I told him hello as I was riding by on the bike. He stopped me to ask if I would go check on a problem happening in the ladies room. I told him no. Without a reply, he stepped back to lean against the wall, like a shadow trying to forget it was ever there. Though I didn't do him any favors, I thought I saw him nod in approval of my refusal. Almost like I was April from the show.

I finished the bike and now needed to run the three miles of the run. I asked Ron where the trail was. He pointed to the "Party After the 5K" sign.

I was miffed and said, "No. No. Where is the trail? Just because that sign has the word 5K in it doesn't mean it's the trail."

He was a horrible race director.

He then said, "OK. Let me show you what you have to do next."

I thought, I know what to do next, this is not my first tri. I just need you to have been a better RD.

He led me over to the sign again and all of a sudden there was some kind of kid's mini jungle gym toy that he said I had to stick my feet through to wiggle my way to the other side where the run started. There was one problem: My feet were too big to get through. I'd have to take off my shoes. I couldn't believe that every other contestant ahead of me had to do this. Somehow they did, so I must, too.

Then I woke up.


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