A Guy, His Dog, and Chocolate

OK, so this weekend I hit the shore with my bike and one of my dogs. There was a family bridal shower this weekend which kept the rest of the clan home. Just like the New Jersey Marathon a couple of weeks ago, I raced again in driving wind and rain. It was the Ocean City Triathlon & Duathlon in OCNJ. It’s a small race that I have done many times and know like the back of my hand. It is held on the streets and the boardwalk that I train on all the time. I love the event, but this was a wet one. The wind on the bike was so bad that we were being blown sideways and had to negotiate threading a tight needle between a traffic lane, and parked cars. At times it felt like we were biking into an oncoming wave. I opted to do the duathlon which started with a run up and onto the boardwalk and back. Then a 16 mile bike along West Ave. Followed by a second run through the Bay Ave neighborhoods.

The first run went really well. I think people just wanted to get this thing done and get home as quickly as possible. I felt surprising strong coming off of that run and fully anticipated a good bike leg (my strength). WHICH, for all intents and purposes, I suppose I did have. I mean, it was ugly for everyone so the playing field was level. The rain shorted out my bike computer so I had no idea how fast I was going. Fortunately I knew the course well so I just deployed the “catch anyone in front of you, and don’t get caught” race strategy. And I tend to thrive a little in the elements and finished with a solid bike split. As we were heading out for the second run, we all realized a few things …. The rain was coming down even harder …. We were cold ….. and had very little feeling in our hands and feet. A few people had much difficulty switching from cycling shoes to running shoes. I felt so stupid about it, I was laughing at myself in transition. Did you ever try running with your feet being water logged and “asleep” ? They came back to life about a mile and a half into the second run and I was able to finish surprising strong, all things considered.

Weather is just one of those things that although you can plan for, you can never control so you need to make sure you have it properly compartmentalized in your head and psyche as you mentally prepare for an event. Understand that stuff can happen, but remember that it’s how we respond to that stuff that measures our character.

I grabbed a hot cup of Wawa Kona blend java (I only drink Kona blend because that’s where the Ironman world championship is held each year) on my way back to the house and enjoyed the best hot shower of my life. Then I assumed a good position on the couch with my java, my dog, and my iPod and reflected on a great, fun day. This stuff is just fun no matter what the conditions. The harsher the conditions, the greater the challenge. The greater the challenge, the greater the sense of accomplishment. The greater the sense of accomplishment, the better and more long lasting the memory.

I also want to give public kudos and thanks to race director Lisa Rumer, her staff at the Ocean City Aquatic & Fitness Center, and all of the volunteers. Volunteering at events in these conditions can be just as hard as racing them !!

Their support was appreciated.


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