Fighting interior battles during a race is nothing new, but on Sunday at Tri the Creek it wasn’t my Inner Whiner who was making trouble – it was my Inner Miser.
Potato Creek State Park is my favorite venue for a triathlon, with a nice clear lake, a cycling course that never leaves the park and a hilly trail run that I absolutely love. But nobody in our family could go this year except Colleen and I. Was it worth it to make the drive and spend the money just to do the beginner’s course with a 12-year-old?
Another blogger I follow had recently skipped a triathlon and channeled her energy into a satisfying staycation challenge. As we paced the beach Sunday morning, watching the fog slowly lift to the point where we could actually see the pylons, I couldn’t help wondering if I should’ve orchestrated some special do-it-yourself biking challenge instead.
But Colleen really wanted to experience the triathlon she’d heard my sister and I rave about in the past. And I don’t spoil my kids in all the usual ways, with trendy clothes and electronics and so forth. Spending a few hours and draining my race budget to help a kid put herself through her toughest physical challenge yet didn’t seem like the worst way to spend a Sunday.
I’ll let Colleen describe her version of this experience in her usual Friday post. For me, the highlights were:
- The weird beauty of the lake completely covered in fog when we arrived, to the point that you couldn’t even see the pylons. (It cleared up before the start of the race.)
- Relief that I no longer get all anxious before an open-water swim (tempered with the realization that I’m still an awful swimmer).
- An appreciation for the organization of this event, which staggers start times for Olympic, sprint, super sprint and kay-tri (they kayak instead of swim) such that you can be at the rear of your race but not be all alone out on the course. At the finish line, the announcer would call out the name of each runner and his/her event, so that you had a sense of how the competition was going but also an awareness of each competitor’s personal challenge.
- A reminder that I can’t really afford to do triathlons on a regular basis. Still, I love the fact that these competitions exist. I love the fact that you see people of all sizes and shapes challenging themselves, and that this particular venue gives people a chance to do that in a way that makes them feel like a hero no matter what their skill level.
So ultimately I told my Inner Miser that I’m glad my youngest kid talked me into squeezing in a triathlon this year, just to support the sport if nothing else. But there’s always more to it than that, and I drove home feeling richer in ways that had nothing to do with money.