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.