Well, I finally did it. I signed up for a sprint triathlon this summer, with an open water swim. Its the TriBella Women’s Triathlon, to be held at Cherry Creek Reservoir on June 23.
Thirteen weeks, but who’s counting? I am. Time to get serious, or more accurately, more disciplined, about my training. I’ve been working out all winter, getting in at least one swim each week, and two or three bike and run workouts as well. Distance has been limited, given the weather. I do inside training when I have to, but 30 minutes on an indoor bike or 20 on the track is about all I can hack.
The good news is I can do all these individual event distances now. Swim 1/2 mile, bike 10 miles, and run 3.1 miles. I do more than that in my routine training. I don’t routinely do them all on the same day, although any two may happen on a given day. Last summer, when I did my first mini-sprint tri, it was about ten weeks after I took my first running steps in 30 years. I finished that, so I can do this.
Why did I pick this race? The primary reason is its relatively small size, entrants capped at 450. It is also marketed as a beginner friendly race, with many first timers. I’ve done two mini-sprint races now, and they were both at recreation centers, with pool swims and small numbers. I’m also hoping that as a women’s only race, it may have a more relaxed and supportive vibe. Overall, it feels less intimidating than a larger race.
For me, less intimidating is good. Participating brings with it two big challenges. The first is distance, going from the mini-sprint to the sprint length race. That feels manageable, I think I’m ready, and its a leap. The bigger challenge is going to an open water swim. I’m confident in my swimming abilities, and I have no open water distance swimming experience. There are practice opportunities around here starting in May, and I plan to take advantage of them. I’m hoping that the water will be warm enough that I don’t have to deal with a wetsuit, and time and the season will tell.
Then there is the matter of age. I’m 62. Hardly ancient, but comparatively old. I looked at the results from last year’s race. In the sprint event, there were 6 in the 60-64 age group, 3 in 65-69, and 1 in 70-plus. Only ten of us 60 or above! There were another 9 in the shorter super-sprint group. Its an interesting idea to swallow, finding myself at the upper end of the age groupings. I don’t generally feel or think of myself as old, but perhaps I’m getting there.
It’s good for me to know going in that almost everyone participating will be younger than I, and most of them will also be faster. Helps me to adjust my expectations. Just in case I was thinking about placement and stuff like that, it’s a reminder that the reason I am doing this is to challenge myself, improve my fitness and have some fun. The “winning” is in the participation, the doing something new. I’ll certainly learn something out of the experience.
At the moment, I’m both excited and a little scared about this new challenge. Its what I’ve been aiming for since I started this project last summer, and it seems fitting that about a year after I began the project, I’ll be participating in this race. I’m both humbled and grateful to have gotten this far. Stay tuned, and wish me luck!