31 of 52: Rock Hall International Triathlon

I Love Triathlon

It’s true – although I do love just swimming, and I do love just cycling, and I do love to just run. All for different reasons and all at varying degrees and at different times. Anyone with more than one kid will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Speaking of kids. A pic of me and my mom before the race.
(Photo credit to my dad.)

I love to swim because I can work my ass off in the water for 90 minutes, get out and feel completely spent – but not beat up. The downside is that I need a pool to do it in. Also – minus a “social kick set” there’s not much talking to your lane mates during training.

I love to bike because I seem to be pretty okay at it naturally. Of course I suffer less on the run when I train, but my bike time is usually the same regardless. The downside is that riding outside on the roads is dangerous – no matter how careful you are. Also talking to your buddies on the ride is … a source of distraction.

I love to run because all I need are a pair of shoes and a little bit of time. If you can run with friends it can be some awesome quality time. Conversations after the 10 mile distance get interesting. The downside to running (for me) is that (apparently) I need to do it regularly in order to be any good at it.

So I love them all differently – but when you mix them all together into one event it’s like taking the fam-a-lam to Disney.

  • It’s gonna cost some money
  • It takes some planning
  • It takes lots of logistics
  • You gotta stay hydrated and pace yourself
  • It’s gonna be a long day
  • Not everyone is going to have a good time the whole time
  • It’s magical anyways
Pre race nutrition.
(Photo Credit goes to my dad.)
Making sure my helmet was oriented correctly – you wanna minimize the time and thinking in transition. Dad said it looked like I was doing some sort of ritual prayer. (Photo credit to my dad.)
Wow – I look really worried. lol – This is me mentally going through transitions to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything – like running shoes…
(Photo credit to my dad.)

The (Swim, Bike and) Run

Love Triathlon. My times and pace for the day.

The Rock Hall International Triathlon is my go to Tri. This was my fifth time in 5 years if you count the 2017 Waterman’s triathlon (it’s the same course but held in the fall). It’s close enough to drive to, it’s an easy course (not a lot of hills) and the swag is excellent.

Another huge draw for me is that this is one of the races that the Annapolis Triathlon Club (ATC) supports. This means a couple things – more than a handful of other “crabs” (as we call ourselves in the club) will be there racing and also – we’ll have a tent there. Ahhhh membership…

The tent is where you find the other crabs, talk shit before the race, leave all the post race gear you brought, find a chair to sit in (and talk more shit) after the race – and FOOD. I’ve had the privilege of volunteering at the tent on a few occasions over the years and I can’t appreciate or thank the volunteers enough for this support. It makes the race so much sweeter. You know how I feel about community and the human connection by now – the tent is where it’s at when the race is over.

This year Jeff (who is almost ALWAYS race support – and BTW has finished more full Ironman triathlons than I can count) was there along with Virginia who is often race support and plans the clubs social events.

My Mom at the ATC tent.
(Photo credit to my dad.)

The “international” refers to the distances in the race:

  • A swim of 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers),
  • A bicycle route of 24.8 miles (40 kilometers) and
  • A run of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).

I was a little concerned because the last triathlon I did prior to this was about 18 months prior and I hadn’t trained much at all since. Like – I had only been swimming 6 times and on my bike 8 times in the prior 12 months.

Oops.

I shared my concerns with my kids and woke up to this note of encouragement. BTW – GR9 is better than GR8.

When I signed up for it I had this idea that Rock Hall would be a great “ultra” for me this year in that I would finish the tri and then knock out another 7 miles afterwards to complete my weekly 13.1. Seeing as how I did not train for this and also as my parents were out to see me race AND that this was graduation weekend for my oldest – I didn’t think this was the day to flirt with injury and also keep my folks out in the sun for an extra 90 minutes while I “powered” through the extra 7 miles with all the athletic grace of a hippo trying to make his way down a ski slope on while balancing a stack of turtles on his back.

So… I decided that the Triathlon would be enough to “count” for this weeks. 13.1

Fight me.

Since swimming the bay I feel like as long as there’s no current in the water I’ll be okay. I wasn’t worried about finishing the swim and just figured that I’d be more tired when I got out of the water and that I’d pay some extra the next day. I was a little slower than my best pace but overall had a good time.

I did get hit in the head once – which happens in triathlon but it was weird because we were well into the swim and usually by this time the water is little less crowded and you don’t have to worry as much about contact as you do at the start. I took this as a signal to hurry up already and get out of the water. I had been a little conservative given my (lack of) training but I needed some personal space.

Heading into T1 to grab my bike after the swim.
(Photo credit to my dad.)

The bike was… surprising. I averaged 18.9 MPH on my 9 year old store brand road bike for the almost 25 miles. WTAF? I haven’t been on the bike more than 8 times in the last year and I’m basically the same speed I was on the same course when I trained (19.2 MPH). It’s funny/not funny. I should get a coach and train hard. Maybe a new tri bike. I think I’m leaving a lot of untapped potential.

The run went as expected. 6.2 miles of running in the sun and walking in the shade… and some walking in the sun. The plan was actually to walk the first minute of every mile and also walk the water stops and it worked out pretty well bu man I was tired. This is where the lack of bike training hits me but I was overall happy about it and finished the run 2 minutes slower than my “trained” pace.

Noreen caught me on a walk break and yelled at me to get a move on. So I did.

This is another beautiful part of running this race and being in the club. The run is a 2 loop course and since there are other crabs on the course I feel extra motivated when I see another crab or… like when Noreen yells at me.

It was a great day to race and I felt extra happy that my parents were there to experience triathlon.

Not the Run

My folks have always been there for me growing up. All the rehearsals and practices (and staying on me to practice), concerts and games, even as an adult coming out from CA to see me run my first marathon. I thought to myself during this race how incredibly lucky I am to know how much my parents support me. Not everybody gets parents like that in life. Not everyone still has their parents with them and so I am grateful for every moment they chose to spend with me.

It’s not as if I’m still a kid under their care who needed a ride and permission to do the race. They got up with me at the ass crack of dawn and drove two hours to see me “do my thing”. They didn’t have to – they CHOSE to.

I see sacrifice and parenting mentioned a lot together – but I was thinking about this while I ran and I think really parents weigh the options and do what’s best for the people they love and then act accordingly. For some this means working long hours or multiple jobs so that their kids can have opportunities they never did. In some cases they do this so their kids can have the same opportunities they did. For others still, it may mean passing on professional or social opportunities so that the kids feel safe in this world.

I have my own share of regrets in this area but I think we all do what we think is best at the time and certainly some situations feel impossible. Still other times I knew I was doing the wrong thing – but here we are.

Years ago, my girlfriend Katie (before she was my girlfriend) said to me – “I love the way you spend time with your kids even when there’s other stuff you want to be doing.” and I really liked that. I mean – they’re really cool people. Why wouldn’t I want to spend time with them?

In the end, I just hope the kids feel about me the way I feel about my parents.

Next Week: The Bagel Run

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