Sunday, August 30, 2009

Art Did a Tri! Well, Not Really ...

I got a comment the other day that I should write some humorous things about training. And today on my hike in the mountains, I said to myself “Self, what could be more humorous than the idea of me doing a triathlon?” Well, of course, other than me wearing a pink tutu and ballet slippers, and dancing “Swan Lake” with the New York Ballet. Now maybe next year, the idea of me doing a tri won’t be so funny, but right now it is. So that is today’s blog topic – my triathlon earlier today!

I don’t own a bike. I am not a strong swimmer. So I needed a different type of triathlon than, say, triathletes. So here is what I came up with part way through my hike: The Riprap Hollow Tri. First leg: 6.6 miles hiking on the Appalachian Trail and the Riprap Hollow Trail in Shenandoah National Park. Elevation loss: about 2,200 feet. Elevation gain: about 1000 feet.

Second leg: 20 feet of swimming in an ice cold mountain pool. Not impressed? That is 20 feet each way for a total of 40 feet of swimming in water that is about 64 degrees. No wet suit either! Still not impressed? Well don’t think of it as 40 feet. Think of it as 1,220 centimeters! Now that is an impressive number. Still not impressed? Don’t blame you.

Third leg: three miles hiking on the Riprap Hollow and Wildcat Ridge trails. Elevation gain: 1,200 feet, most of it in the last two miles. Great cardio workout after that cold swim.

So let’s see – my first leg took about 3.25 hours. It was a lot of fun – here is a photo that I took with the camera's timer at Chimney Rocks on the Riprap Hollow trail:

T1 (that’s transition to you non-triathletes) was about 30 minutes, but that included finding a discrete place to strip and change into a swimsuit, eating lunch, and trying to set up the camera to take a picture of myself in the water. The swim didn’t take long. I put my feet, sore from hiking, in the water and it felt pretty good. I waded in up to my knees, and it felt a little cold. I submerged part of my swimsuit area – holy crap! I jumped in – double holy crap! I swam across and back in a few seconds.

Here I am, swimming the difficult second leg of the triathlon, 20 entire feet each way!

T2 took about 30 minutes. I was used to the water by then, and swam a little, explored up stream, dove to the bottom of the pool (only about 7 feet deep) a few times looking for trout, sat in the sun to dry off to the extent possible, and finally dried off the rest of myself off and got dressed and put my boots on. Then I packed everything up and started hiking out.

The third leg, a steady uphill for the last two miles, took about 1.66 hours. And I was declared the winner of the event – not just my for age group! Why? Because no other person had the cajones (or was it the stupidity) to jump in the water. Well, a dog did, but he didn’t count.

All kidding aside, it was a lot of fun, and I was pleased because hiking out (I do this hike every year) didn’t seem as tough as usual. So I guess I am in better shape than I thought. In a day or two I will post a full account and lots of photos on my hiking blog, if you want to check that out.

Here is the link to the trip details and photos.


Katie said...

Just the laugh I needed :). And 64 degrees?? Are you crazy?? :)

P.S. A much better tri than I could have done!

Cheryl said...

Hi Art....well I am definately get my vote...

Very entertaining it.

Racn4acure said...

Hi Katie - glad you got a laugh. It was a fun day in the mountains. Maybe a little crazy. :)

Hi Cheryl - Glad you were entertained.

Elayne said...

Art~ this was just too funny. I had to show this one to my husband :) Looks like a fun day!

Racn4acure said...

Glad you two enjoyed it, Elayne.