Triathlon Musings

It’s all of one day since finishing my first triathlon, and as with any big race my mind keeps replaying the event and re-examining all the details. My family is probably growing weary of the topic, and hoping it will soon wear out. But I can’t resist one final post in review.

One of the biggest impressions left by the event was just how well organized and orchestrated it was. The Life Time Tri Minneapolis was a model of efficiency. And although it catered to Pro and Elite athletes, it was equally friendly to novices like me. Friends had advised me that it was a large event, and perhaps high on the scale for the athletes it attracts. And since I had chosen to skip the Sprint distance in favor of going straight to the longer International distance for my first time out, that could have been intimidating. But to the credit of the race organizers, it was exactly the opposite. The high level athletes started well in advance of my “old lady” wave, and it was great fun to hear the announcer covering their race while I waited.

It was in the bike portion of the race that I was most wowed. The athletes’ meeting had prepared me for the presence of bad pavement, sharp turns, two-way traffic and potentially confusing intersections. But the race was so well staffed by volunteers that it was impossible to make a mistake.  I wish I could have personally thanked every single volunteer who made the event so smooth for us participants.  In addition, there were signs in advance of any trouble spots warning us of what we’d find up ahead.  And I always had plenty of room to maneuver on the roadways.  I’m convinced that choosing the Lifetime Tri for my first triathlon was a big factor in making it such a positive experience.

DSC_0945The hype and excitement of the race rivaled any marathon I’ve done – perhaps exceeded it because of the extent of the venue and on-side expo that continued during and after the race. It appears that triathlons have not yet reached the general public appeal that marathons have, with smaller cheering sections along the way. But it had other advantages for spectators like Rich and Erik who came out to cheer me on. Because of the multiple sports and more compact nature of the course, they could easily position themselves at frequent intervals along my route, boosting their support power (along with the “Power of the Pig” – a story in itself…).

IMG_9115And how did I feel afterwards? Great! Although I pressed harder than I have in years on the final running segment and was gasping for the finish, I felt less spent than I do at the end of marathons. Or perhaps more accurately, I should say my legs were not as weary. Even though it was about 3 hours of straight competitive exercise, the variety of the sports didn’t deplete one set of muscles. But once the glow of the finish receded, once I had a good shower and my favorite post-race bagel sandwich, my body told me I was tired. Every bit as tired as after a marathon.

So am I hooked? All my friends told me I would be after this first triathlon. I’m not sure. As I wrestled with the preparations and unknowns of the race beforehand, I thought that this was going to be a “bucket list” event I could cross off. But now I don’t know. There are all the usual temptations.  Now I understand how it all works and could certainly improve on the pieces with little effort. Next year I will be in an even older age bracket – which always works to advantage. And it was just plain fun. Stay tuned. I’ll have to muse on this a while longer.

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