We actually had a commercially produced race! The Wrightsville Beach Triathlon.
This race has been held almost every year since 1979. I say “almost” because some years, the race had to be canceled or altered due to hurricanes. But COVID-19 didn’t stop it this year. It was a huge success.
Two hundred and ninety four finishers experienced the first big race of the season in our area. In a normal year that race would attract three times the number of athletes we had this year. I am proud to say that I was one of those 294 finishers.
Friends and family have asked me one of two questions about the race:
“How was it?”
“How did you do?”
For the first time that I can recall, those two are completely different. In other words, I’ve separated my feelings about the event from my performance in that event. This is a good thing.
How Was It?
The race was fantastic. It was fun, exciting. It felt great to be racing with others and to be a part of something. Procedures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were well understood and, to me, it looked like most people adhered to them. Only four bikes on a bike rack. No buses to swim start. No spectators. Temperature readings at transition entry. Half mile long line of athletes spaced 10 feet apart for the time trial start.
All bikes were racked the night before the race and then overnight our timing chips were stapled to the bike numbers. No waiting in line for a timing chip. Can this be a regular thing from now on?
I did miss the before and after socializing. After crossing the finish line all athletes were encouraged to grab their gear and go home. And that’s exactly what I did.
To make this race even more challenging, the race crew had to deal with an emergency run course change minutes before the first athlete came off the bike. I’m told that either a power pole or live power lines fell across the run course. Cars and runners had to be diverted. However, it was handled so well that I hardly noticed (either that or I’m just oblivious).
How Did You Do?
I don’t want to talk about it.
Actually, I did quite well. I was planning on 2nd place in my AG, but I’ll take the 5th… place that is.
Swimming was rough. The incoming tide and outblowing wind created white caps. Also, the long sleeve wetsuit was a pain. I wasn’t used to it. The bike was fast, but the run was like one of those nightmares where you are trying to get away from someone(thing) chasing you and the legs just won’t move any faster than a cow slogging through a mud hole (you dairy farmers will know exactly what I mean).
OK. So my pace was around 9min/mile. By itself, that’s no reason to complain, but the previous week I rode the bike hard for 90 minutes and then ran six miles at a faster pace. I think it’s a mental thing, because I was quite fresh for this race.
What Does It All Mean
In conclusion, the Wrightsville Beach Triathlon was fun and I need therapy or psychoanalysis. That could be fun too, depending on the therapist.
I’m just glad to be in a sport where I can do worse than I expected and still love doing it. Imagine how I would feel if I actually performed better than expected? Is there anything higher than first place?
Until next time …
Stay to the right, pass on the left and keep on smiling