The Ordinary Mortals Triathlon

by | May 20, 2006 | News Articles

Gary’s Diary #4 of 2006
The Ordinary Mortals Triathlon
and belated related musings
Event Date: Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sometimes I need to really digest and stew about a racing performance for a good while before reaching the proper mental state that lets me rationalize its inadequacies. I mean, you can only use statements like “lack of talent” and “didn’t feel good that day” for so long before the listeners tune you (well, me) out.

So, despite feeling pretty decent about my overall effort in the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon back on May 20, the self-analysis has been pretty thorough ever since. I could live with the swim and bike times, especially since they matched training levels and expectations. The swim was right on, while the bike training and OMT race time efforts were valiant in bids to overcome physical realities and below-Mendoza Line cycling genetics. The transitions sucked as usual, but this was partly due to the fact that I spent a good amount of time during the first transition chatting with a former neighbor lady who I hadn’t seen in about 28 years. It was worth it to lose all those seconds, although a 1:10+ finishing time would have been a lot nicer than 1:11:01. Yeah, I know, the talented folks are rolling their eyes right now at just the thought of this. But at least I didn’t sit in there eating a Power Bar, Woody. See, I’ve come a long way.

However, my run was abysmal, partly because I didn’t get out on the course until close to 10 bells when the temperature was starting to become unforgiving. It’s more attributable to the fact that this has been a very difficult year for me running-wise. It’s like stress, past injuries, lack of training time and many recent health problems have taken a collective toll on ol’ Gar’s body. Oh, and don’t forget age. I like to think that I might be tougher (read: faster) if I felt better. Maybe not, though.

Whatever, the fact that there are such contrasting athletic talent levels in triathlons continues to perplex me. I’m forever astounded at what the elite athletes can do, whether it’s on a small scale like the OMT or on a higher level in state, national or even international competitions such as the Hawaii Ironman. Do the talented folks realize what it’s like for the masses who continually step to the starting line when nothing but slight personal progress is at stake, when no recognition is imminent? If the talented folks had their talent taken away tomorrow, would they continue to compete? And how the heck can they be so good?

I had been thinking such thoughts recently when I read a newspaper report on statistics compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Among its stats was one that said cycling had the highest percentage of positive drug tests with 3.78 percent out of 12,751 samples. Man, that’s a lot of druggies using enhancers! But, to me, this was the kicker – the organization said 3.41 percent of 2,170 triathletes tested positive for drug use.

Aha, so now the truth is out of the hat! This is why the elite athletes are better than me. Finally, a reason. It’s not because they’re more talented or train harder; they just use performance-enhancing drugs. Unless they are tested, how do we know that the OMT studs and studettes aren’t using enhancers? Who is to say that the top finishers in the inaugural Prospect Lake Triathlon on June 25 weren’t on steroids? How do we know that half the qualifiers for the USAT nationals didn’t get there by using drugs? Without them, maybe they’d be below-Mendoza Line performers, too.

There, I feel better about myself already.

Talk to ya again soon!