Monday, May 21, 2012

Triathlon 2012: Forty-Five and Over...just showing up is half the battle!

Road Trip! It's time for my much anticipated first triathlon of the season!  As they say, "ready or not...". Friday I took some extra time to pull all of my gear out of storage, clean the car, pack up, and leave.  But not before a quick lunch on North Avenue with Peter!  We're just over half way through May, and it's already well into the eighties in Chicagoland...a sign of things to come? you think it's too loud out here?

No, just close your eyes and imagine....calm.
And after Three Hours of driving I'm at the lake,  packet pick-up, park your bike, and so on.  This race, as simple as it appeared at the outset, is a major commitment. The logistical affairs involved in getting oneself to the race start alone are completely overwhelming, and then there is the reality (i had been warned) of the hills.  The Galena area promises hills, and as far as I can tell from my drive to race start, there will be no disappointment on this front.  It wouldn't be the day before a triathlon without a collection of people giving the water a go.  I hadn't even considered the idea, since, well, it was all I could do to arrive, but it would have been lovely to do a bit of swimming on Friday.
no ice, this year!!!
That said, I worked my way on to Galena, where I was staying, fortified with the knowledge that I'd have a night out on the town in Galena, followed by a day filled with shuttle buses and sports! Leave it to me to find the one hole in the wall in town unpopulated by nervous triathletes. The vibe in Edme bar/eatery was great, and I overheard some great chitchat.  A triathlon anywhere in the state of Illinois? All roads lead back to Chicago...of course!
refugees from chicagoland populate Galena and it's businesses.
And what about the race, you say?  No photos to document my experience, you'll have to take my word, fine reader, that I actually showed up and did the thing. What with all the usual tri-gear accoutrements and comings and goings, I didn't even slow down to take pictures of the lovely countryside on this fabulous weekend!  Next year, I'll try.
The race went off, pretty much with no hitch.  The swim was delightful and short, the bike hilly and beautiful.  Starting in the final wave gave lots of opportunities for me to pass other people.  This is a good and bad thing. That far back in the pack it's easy to feel fast without actually pushing Enough.  Then again, I had plenty left for the run, which was HOT at nearly noon.  I'm never lightning quick, and with the long, steep hill in mile one, i was proud to tick off the four miles without walking, slowing, or any other serious impediment.  So I finished fresh, realizing that the heat had taken a toll on me in this two hour race.  I spent the rest of the day trying to re-hydrate and celebrating the fact that this was the first early season race I've managed to complete in Three years! Yay!!! By looking around at the other 45-plus women who manage to show up on race day, I'm discovering that to hang on for so long is a true accomplishment.  I met a number of fabulous women, but I was particularly thrilled to meet a gal who has been racing for as long as I have been, and has tremendous accomplishments to show for it.  Her engaging smile and conversation was by far the high point of my weekend.  We talked about old time races, training outside, and our aging parents.  I looked around at all the beautiful young women racing and training (and fast) and wondered how many of these kids will hang on into their forties and fifties, with families and all sorts of baggage to show for.  Let them try! I sure hope so, maybe when I'm sixty, sitting around after a race, I'll see lots and lots and lots of other older women!!!


  1. Karen, great report..I thought about you yesterday looking out at Lake Monona..thinking about getting into the wetsuit and doing my first open water swim of the season. If not sooner it will happen on the 30th with a group organized by Dan Hearn across Spaight St. from his pier. We haven't been in the canoe or kayaks yet this year. Let us know if you and family are coming up. Congratulations on your good finish. BOB

  2. Bob! Thanks for the comment! I'll be in touch!!!!

  3. Great job Karen! You are an inspiration. PS You are not old until the age groupers behind you start complaining about being old.

  4. Kind words - thanks! Experience trumps youth every time! HA! Enjoying your ramblings!