Ok. Can I have a quick shout out? This was our (Team Fro Fro and Jo Jo’s) seventh annual Danskin Triathlon. SEVEN YEARS IN A ROW PEOPLE!
Enough with that roaring…back to the content at hand.
I’m sure you’re curious as to why I’m bowing my head to San Francisco in my 2011 Danskin Triathlon Race Report. Well frankly, I believe that my success this year was entirely due to living I this chilly hilly city. Let me explain..
So we’ve already talked about how this was the 7th time I was preparing myself for the Danskin Tri. And, as usual, the date snuck up on me like a puppy at the dinner table. I found myself a month before the race thinking “Well you’re pretty fit these days, you can pull it off. You should really get into the pool, on the bike, out running.” Mostly I thought “bugger, I haven’t trained again”. Not for the lack of resources. I have a perfectly good bike in my storage unit and this year access to an endless pool (think treadmill for swimming) a mere 2 blocks from my house. As you know, I’ve also got a delightful park just outside my front door.
But I had this “you’re pretty fit” mantra running in my head. Laura and I have talked about this before. Just the actual act of living in San Francisco, even if that’s just walking outside your front door, requires you to do “hill work” on pretty much a daily basis. And unlike all our friends in the baking central states, if you haven’t heard, the weather in a San Francisco summer can be downright chilly. No “it’s too hot to workout” excuses for us.
So Laura and I showed up in Austin “San Francisco Fit” and ready to race. I won’t bore you with the details of the bike pickup, expo etc etc as you’ve heard it SEVEN times before. What was noticeable this year however was a distinct lack of people. The first year Laura and I participated there were nearly 4000 participants. This year I don’t think the group even made it to 1200. Not that I’m complaining. Laura and I both scored up front bike spots and weren’t overwhelmed by the crowds as we entered the water.
So the swim this year – not my best. I couldn’t swim in a straight line to save my life. I kept finding myself veering to the left when the course veered to the right the whole way around. I KNOW I swam further than the ½ mile course mapped. It did mean I was relatively free of other bodies so swim – check.
I trotted up the hill to my super duper bike spot, jammed on my shoes and helmet and took off again. I had one goal for the bike course. Not get off the bike. Surprisingly the Austin course is quite hilly. There’s even one hill that requires you to come screaming down one hill and make a sharp right turn to head up the other side. It’s brutal. Previous years, even when I was in better shape, I’ve had some sort of bike issue on the hills. I was determined to crank up them whatever it took. This year – SUCCESS! Hills conquered!
Back in the transition area I tossed my bike happily back in the racks and headed towards the run start. While I was jazzed about my performance so far this is where your mettle is really tested. If I haven’t said before, the run is HARD. It’s only 3 miles but it’s on grass almost the entire time and it’s HOT. Texas HOT. Oh, and if you haven’t read recently. Texas has had record highs. I was later to find out that the high in Austin that day was 102. Keeping cool and not going crazy was going to be the key to success un running the full course including getting up the dreaded hill – straight the freak up hill at the end of the course in the open blazing sun.
Have I convinced you to join us next year yet?
As I turned the corner at the bottom of that final hill I looked up with trepidation. It was going to take something else to get me up there. Just in front of me was a young woman jogging slowly and painfully. I knew what she was feeling. She started to walk and I saw her shoulders slump. The hill was beating her. As I came up behind her I gently put my hand on her back and said “Come on. You can’t walk now. You’re nearly done. I’ll run with you up the hill.” She looked at me like I was some sort of insane person and started to run. Now I couldn’t walk. Plus she ran faster than me so I had to push to come close to keeping up. As we neared the top I could see her falter. I shouted “Come on! You can’t let the crazy lady pass you!” She started to run again.
She made it to the top. Poor thing looked terrible and it had taken everything in her to get up that hill without walking. We cheered for a moment and kept toward the finish line on the fabulously flat black asphalt. Yeah.
Now I don’t know what she said to her family and friends about the insane woman on the course that wouldn’t let her walk and nearly killed her.
But I tell you, my family and friends. This stranger on the course got me up the hill. Without her I would have walked. Without her I wouldn’t have posted my BEST TIME EVER at the 2011 Danskin Triathlon.
So thank you San Francisco for getting me ready. And thank you stranger on the course for making it a winning day for me. Now I’m all motivated to beat the time again in 2012. Don’t hold your breath tho. That race sneaks up on me every year. Let’s see if I get my act together this time.