Friday, October 24, 2008
40 years old
(Almost) Gold Challenge
10 mile run time =
swim time (unknown distance) =
40.54 mile bike time =
Total run/swim/bike time =
Total time with transitions =
The beginning of my challenge day was bright, clear and cold. I am fortunate that I had an extra couple of day’s vacation from work, so I took two days off (one to complete the challenge, the other to rest up!) My co-workers weren’t shy about voicing their opinions that they thought I was nuts to want to spend my birthday running, biking and swimming.
My initial plan had been to ride first, and then swim, then run. That changed when I realized the temperature had dropped to 23°F overnight. Since the pool was only open for 70 minutes in the morning (vs. 2 hours in the afternoon), I knew I wanted to swim starting at . Thus, I decided to run my 10 miles first. After a couple of documentation photos, I was out the door.
What a chance for reflection. Perfectly dressed, I marveled at how effortlessly my steps were coming. Running is usually my least-favorite discipline, followed by swimming. Bicycling is my favorite of all. I found myself thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for, especially good health. And by maintaining a regular workout routine, I hope to be able to keep my fitness and to compete in triathlons for many, many years to come. Too soon, it seemed, my run was over and I was back home and definitely hungry!! After another couple of photos, it was time for a snack of toast with peanut butter. Since I had about an hour before I had to leave to get to the pool, I took advantage of the time to get my clothes set aside for the afternoon’s bike ride, fill water bottles and pump up my tires.
I took the “standard” B-Fit B-Day swim photo at home for two reasons. First, cameras are not allowed at the pool. Second, even if I sneaked my camera in and took a quick shot, I had no way of keeping it secure while I was swimming. I guess you’ll have to take my word on the swimming portion! And this leads me to the (almost) gold part. I don’t know how far I swam. It wasn’t even close to 4000 yards. I started counting laps and lost count three times before 10 laps, so I stopped counting. I then decided I would swim for the entire time the pool was open, 2 hours. After an hour, I was terribly bored and not really having a lot of fun. After and hour and a half, I decided that life was too short to make myself swim just for the sake of the complete challenge. The younger, “all-or-nothing” me would have canned the whole thing right then and given up on the bike ride. Now (being older and wiser!) I decided that the spirit of the challenge was to get out and do something, even if it wasn’t the “whole” challenge. As for total distance, I believe I probably swam about 2600 yards, based on time. Given that my longest swim previously had been about 1000 yards, I was very happy with my accomplishment. Besides, it gives me something to shoot for next year!
I returned home ravenous and took the time to dry my hair and re-heat some leftovers before my bike ride. At this point, I was starting to get worried about making sure I got out on the bike quickly. I dressed in several layers, took another batch of photos and was off.
Oh my! I had desperately underestimated the difficulty of this challenge. My legs definitely felt like lead. I can honestly say that yesterday’s bike ride was one of the three toughest in my life. Being that I hadn’t mapped out a precise 40-mile route, I made route decisions based on how I felt. I avoided as many hills as I could. By mile 18, I was already averaging about 3-4 mph slower that my usual rides and I was starting to get really cold. I was afraid that if I looped back towards the house, I’d abandon the challenge. So I chose a route that avoided any chance of a short-cut back to the house and committed myself to the full 40 miles. At approximately 26 miles, I was afraid that my planned route would fall short of the 40 miles and I very nearly chose a loop around a small reservoir that would have added about 6 miles. Thankfully, I continued as planned, figuring I could always extend the ride later if I needed to. Imagine my delight when I pulled into my driveway and my odometer read 40.54 miles! Originally, I had thought that I would have gladly put an extra few miles onto the bike ride, but I was more than ready to call it quits for the day.
I took one last photo of my ending time. Being easily amused, I got a big kick that I snapped the last photo at . I guess “4” will be my lucky number this year!! After a long hot shower, I refueled with a piping hot bowl of soup and thought about how I wanted to do my write-up. When I sat down at the computer the following morning, I couldn’t help but think that I would rather be out running or biking!
In closing, I’d like to say “thank-you” to Roman for creating the challenge and thanks to the sponsors who support us. Lastly, I’d like to extend huge congratulations to everybody who did the challenge this year and lots of inspiration to anybody who considers taking on the challenge for next year.