A Tale of Two Triathlons

When I was plotting out my triathlon season earlier this year, I had two priorities:

  1. Early season races
  2. Reasonable start times

“Why,” you ask? Because I am a lazy triathlete.

You may think that this sounds counter-intuitive, but I assure you it makes complete and total sense. I’m not a lazy person. As far as people go, I’m quite motivated. I exercise for fun, netflix and chill does not come naturally to me, and I love to take on new challenges. However, when it comes to triathletes, I am as lazy as they come.

Hektor snuggles my tri kit
#Hektorthepuggle says tri gear is for snuggling

Triathletes are this weird subgroup of humans that like to layer endurance races one on top of the other. Unsatisfied with a single endurance race, they seek three-in-one. This is me! I’m this kind of weirdo! But there is a broad range of triathletes, and I am on the lazy end of the spectrum. Where many triathletes are excited to move to longer distances, pursuing the coveted IRONMAN credential, I’m delighted to indulge exclusively in sprints – with the occasional olympic distance race thrown in for good measure. Where the motivated look for ways to shave seconds off their transition times with “race hacks,” my biggest concern is getting my feet dry so I won’t blister on the run.  Where aspiring athletes sacrifice hours to the gods of pool, bicycle and treadmill, I move my workouts around to fit my social schedule. I love triathlon, but it’s just one of the many things I love to do. It’s not the center of my universe.

When it came time to schedule this season’s races, I just wanted them to be fun. Last July, I bailed out on the NJ Triathlon the day before because I wasn’t feeling it. It was too hot, the hotel I had booked was freaking me out, and I just didn’t want to do it. While I don’t feel bad about that decision, I didn’t want to make the same mistake this season. My motivation for training is always highest in March and April. The weather isn’t great, so spending a ton of time inside at the pool or on a spin bike feels like time well spent. When it starts to get nicer in May and June, I’m delighted to run and ride laps around the park. By the time July rolls around, the only reason I want to be riding a bike is to get to the beach. There are just so many other things to do in the summer.

This new found self-awareness (surely the wisdom of my thirties) delivered me the shortest, sweetest little triathlon season yet: the HarryMan Triathlon (olympic) on May 20th and the Rock Hall Sprint Triathlon on June 4th.

Aubrie is a lazy cyclist
*not a race photo

HarryMan is not for the faint of heart. I wish I could say it’s because the race is so early in the season and the water is cold, but anyone with a good wetsuit will be juuuuuust fine. This race is a beast because the bike course is a hilly son of a gun.  I had never considered dropping out of a race, but I contemplated quitting after both loops of the bike course on this one. My quads were SCREAMING.

Lazy triathlete lesson: If someone says a bike course is hilly, believe them. Register exclusively for races that advertise a flat bike course.

That said, once I survived both loops of the incredibly picturesque bike course from hell, I had a really delightful run through Harriman State Park, and finished the race with an extremely self-righteous sense of accomplishment. *Pats self on back*

The Rock Hall Sprint Tri has become an old favorite. I raced it last year and landed my first age group award. Weirdly, I felt under-prepared last year, but raced one of my fastest times ever. This year, I knew I was plenty prepared (thanks to that early season olympic), but I felt pretty lazy on race day. I’ve never felt so chill about a race before. In fact, I rarely feel that chill about anything. (Have I mentioned I’m a little high strung?) Truly, doing this race was as relaxing as a day at the beach. I took my time, enjoyed myself, and when I bothered to check my times hours later, discovered that I had landed another third place finish in my age group.

Aubrie exits Rock Hall Sprint Swim
I actually shaved a full minute off my swim time from last year!
Aubrie finishes Rock Hall Sprint bike leg
and slowed down by 4 minutes on the bike…
Aubrie runs the Rock Hall Sprint
That’s my mom in the yellow in the background. Hi, Mom!

It might be bizarre, but  it brings me back to my original self-assessment. I am a lazy triathlete…but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I LOVE to swim, bike and run. I love doing a few races each year. I love the camaraderie with athletes on the course. I love pushing myself. I’m just not in it for the glory. Chasing ever-faster times and ever-longer distances, doesn’t appeal to me. Racing to maintain a perfect athlete’s physique doesn’t even hold my attention. I’ve definitely been passionate about working on speed in the past, and I may again. Someday I may even get the iron itch. At the core though, I just love the sport. I think it’s fun, and I’m going to keep on keeping on in my own lazy way.

For now, that means I’m done with racing until next season and will spend my summer on other athletic (and social) pursuits. See you at the beach!

Do you take an oddball approach to any of your hobbies? 

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