Triathlon season started today for me. I have in the past run multisport races earlier in the year than this, but in recent years January through April have been running months and triathlon racing starts in late May. Today was the Columbia Triathlon, which I blogged about exactly a year ago.
The race is famously difficult, run on the hills around Columbia, Maryland. It attracts a remarkable professional and international field and is a must-do for serious local racers. Then there are the rest of us. I'm accustomed to finishing in the top 10 or so of my age group in short-course races.* Today, despite my having aged up this year (triathlon counts one's birthday as occurring on January 1), I was 17th. (Some solace that I would have flirted with that top 10 if I was still 39.)
I tried something different. I didn't think about the run while I was biking, with the result that my bike split was my best of the three (which never happens) and I lost ground to the field on the run. I'd be disappointed, but the run was still better than a minute faster than last year's -- in fact, every split was faster than last year's -- and overall I improved by 6 minutes over 2012.
Not all news is good, though. The worst part? The embarrassing 45 second sitting on the ground trying to get my wetsuit off over my timing chip in the first transition.
*This is a misleading statistic. Most short-course races that I run have both a pro wave and an "elite" or "open" wave. Because the latter of those is made up disproportionately of people close in age to me (more so before I turned 40), a top-10 a.g. finish really means "top 10 of the people in my age group who aren't good enough to race at the front of the pack." Or something like that.