" ... and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us ..." -- Hebrews 12:1 ESV
I had a chance to take a drive a few days ago to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. It seems like many years ago, forever ago, that I went to school there to get my BS in Zoology. Pulling into town on a gorgeous Friday afternoon brought up many feelings for me. I am not the type of person that hangs onto the past and engages in lots of reminiscing but this rare day was different, and was haunting. My mind is wired in such a way as to remember lots of color and detail, sometimes to the point where I can literally lose myself and am mentally taxed.
The sun was out, redbud and dogwood were in full-bloom, as I strolled across the college green, with brick pathways weaving their way through the tall sycamores. It was chilly, but pleasant outside, and students were playing hacky sack, or reading and chatting stretched out on the grass.
The real object of the trip was not the past, but a reforging, a look ahead to the future and new adventures. I had come to do a sprint triathlon after a chance meeting with a young lady in a restaurant alerted me to the event. What a homecoming for me! And I do best when I have goals in my life, and am training for "something", either goals or just life in general. My friend Sarah, seasoned triathlete, skillfully dialed me up a short training plan in the space of two months, reflecting the fact that my hip simply can't stand the rigors of lots of running. I bought a new, spiffy road bike. I enrolled in USA Triathlon in order to sign up for the race. I learned about "brick" workouts, triathlon shorts and shirts, and did mock transition drills on Sarah's back porch. Quietly, I followed the plan and felt like I was in fairly decent shape to be able to finish my first triathlon.
The swim was in the Ohio University Aquatic Center and was a serpentine 500 meter course. At the end of each 50 meter length, one had to tuck under the lane line in order to get into the other lane to swim the other way. It wasn't long into the swim at all before things became quite congested. I never lost my cool with all the elbows and kicks I received but just kept slowly plowing forward. There was a couple hundred yards of running to get into the transition area. I felt for my first time, I did a decent job getting out of there and mounting my bike.
Once on the bike, there was a hilly 25 kilometer out-and-back course awaiting me. Fortunately, my training had incorporated lots of cycling on those sweet West Virginia hills so I was more than ready! While for others, my speed would have hardly raised an eyebrow, and I still am learning how to "climb" hills, I pedaled as hard and as fast, sometimes dangerously fast, as I could down the long descents, passing many people in the process. Here, I felt I made up lots of time.
Next, my legs were wobbly as I dismounted the bike and prepared for the 5 kilometer run through the dorms and along the Hocking River. The first mile was rough but I soon hit a nice pace and settled in. The sun was shining and the temperature had noticeably increased after a chilly morning. Life was good and I felt good :-) The last mile I was able to pick it up and again passed many people as I hit the tape with a 2nd place age-group finish. This was a lot of fun for me and I have no intention of getting all serious into the sport of triathlon; that is, I intend to keep it fun. Hence, I have no plan for the immediate future other than to kick back, relax, and enjoy the moment ...