Try 4 more

The buoys gently bobbed on the waters of Little Pine Lake as the sun glistened off the water. It was going to be a good day.

With my bike and gear positioned neatly in the transition area, I stood on the landing dock and wondered to myself, “How bad will the swimming leg be?”

The 500-yard swim would certainly place me far in the back of the pack at the Average Joe Triathlon. That I could guarantee.

At my first spring triathlon 3 years ago, I found a way to survive and made up placement in the bike and run segments. For months afterward, the laps at the pool became easier as I set my mind to being a better swimmer.

But those laps in the pool are a distant memory, and swimming has always been a major weakness. Any fitness and form from time in the pool had floated away long ago. I’ve barely been in the pool in the past 2 years.

My swimming turned out to be worst than I even anticipated. By the time I exited the transition with my bike, there was a lot of work to do — and not much distance. The 12.5-mile bike course proved to be a nice route for this inexperienced cyclist but not nearly enough distance to make up for such a poor swim.

Without question, a poor week of preparation didn’t offer any favors, even on a short course. As I exited the second transition for the nearly 4-mile run, I hoped to make up a bit of ground on the run.

The flat looped course provided a nice route, but my legs never really rebounded for a fast final segment. And there was plenty of uncertainty heading into the run as I spent most of the previous six days addressing a leg injury sustained during Monday morning speed work.

Despite the internal struggles, the Average Joe proved to be a terrific little race. The venue at Paul Miller Park, on the shore of Little Pine, proved to be stellar. The park, roads and paths around Perham are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

After running through the finish line, I found my vehicle and swapped out shirts. Despite the injury, and my efforts in the triathlon, my day wasn’t done. It was time to head back out, and run the course in reverse, for 4 more running miles as part of my St. George marathon training.

 

A tribute to remember

One year ago today, Dave Hawkinson of Fargo had been out on a long bike ride near Grandin, N.D., training for an upcoming Ironman.

A respected and well-liked person, and a talented athlete, so many lives changed that morning when a distracted driver speeding on a rural road near crashed into him. The man responsible for the crash killing Dave received a 5-year sentence, with six months in jail and the remainder suspended. This video recalls a gathering on behalf of Dave.

Today, people celebrate his impact on their lives and offer a touching tribute by being active, taking a photo with a special bib dedicated in his honor, and vowing to increase awareness about distracted driving.

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We all play a role in making the roads safe and it’s painfully obvious that distracted driving is deadly. As I’ve written before, so many drivers are more focused on their phones than the road ahead.

Nine days after Dave’s tragic death, in Minnesota’s rural Rock County, distracted driving also killed Andrea Boeve while she was cycling with her daughters in tow. Several weeks ago, the Minnesota State Patrol released an emotional video, Shattered Dreams: Distracted Driving Changes Lives, to show how lives can change due to poor driving decisions.

Last August, another gifted triathlete was killed while cycling. Friends and family mourn the death of Lisa Knudson, who was the driving force 10 years ago behind establishing the Dave Kvidt Duathlon in Grand Forks. A touching tribute to Lisa at this year’s duathlon remains one of the lasting impressions of the event and the impact she had on many, many lives.

State laws forbid distracted driving. But stopping tragic collisions — runners and cyclists will always be vulnerable when sharing space with cars and trucks — starts with a commitment to adhere to those laws and accepting responsibility to make our roads safe for everyone.