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Triathlon Chronicles: Splash n’ Dash

Partner in Crime's philosphy is that one should never race in events that do not provide t-shirts. I think she is right.

The squealing sound you may have heard at 1:52 pm on Sunday was me as I walked my sore ass and noodle-like legs downstairs to find a post-triathlon celebratory beverage (Arcadia Hopmouth Double IPA has never tasted so good).

The Howell Rec Splash n’ Dash was today! And it was really fun and totally not scary. This is definitely an all-ages and all-stages-of-fitness event. My Partner in Crime and I were relieved to hear comments like “Well, I biked from Howell to Lansing once, 20 years ago” and “Chasing children counts as running, right?”  Yes, yes it SO does.

I am happy to say that my most embarrassing moment was not during any event, but occurred when a volunteer was marking me up before the start, and need to write my age on my calf. “Age?” he asked, Sharpie at the ready. And I had to think about it, because my birthday is next week and I’m already mentally prepared to be 52…but would that get me into a less-competitive bracket? No. “Uh. 51,” I finally responded. Duh. And yes, everyone was walking around looking at everyone else’s calves. If you are wondering, calves are one body part that ages well. ‘Cuz, I know you’re thinking about it.

This indoor triathlon involves 20-minute segments in each discipline: swimming, biking, running. The usual order of events is changed to accommodate the restrictions of pool lanes and number of bikes, so our order was run-swim-bike, with about 10 minutes in between to change. The running took place in the gym and I quickly discovered that doing laps in a gymnasium is even more boring than treadmill running. I didn’t think it was possible! Someone keeps time, and volunteers record your name and number, and count your laps for you, and they become your own personal cheerleader, which is nice if your music isn’t too loud to hear them. Like mine. I did 18 laps in 20 minutes, almost 1.5 miles. It’s pathetic I know, but it’s not bad for me, so I was happy.

Next up: swimming. I like to swim and have been shocked at the number of people who don’t like it and find it difficult. Partner in Crime and Darth (Trainer from the Dark Side) both consider it an Activity of Doom. In our wave, we had someone in a life-vest, and another person who walked some laps holding on to the lane divider – further proof that this is truly an event that anyone can try. Again, you picked a lane, and a volunteer counted your laps while another person timed. Twenty-nine laps later (about 3/8 mile – 7 laps short of a half-mile), and I am done.  Not bad, I’m thinking, especially since I breast-stroked the entire thing because I’m crappy at free-style.

I also love biking. Howell set up about 14 spinners in a room for this segment, all set at a “5” resistance, which is pretty moderate. I found it fast, and maintained a speed of 18-20 mph pretty consistently, which I suspect is not at all my “real biking world” cadence. I tried to get to 6.5 miles when they called out the last minute, but really, I had no legs by then and had to settle for 6.45. Argh.

I came in 5th in my age group, out of 9. By segment, I was 8th swimming (which surprised me a bit, thought I was doing better than that at the time), 3rd biking, and tied for 8th running. I SO suck at the running bit! Definitely some room for improvement, but I can’t say I am unhappy with the results. As Rick Beaudin, “The Pinckney Pirate” said after he finished last in the 2011 Zukey Tri  – “I was a lot faster than everyone who didn’t do it!”


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Rebecca Foster writes about food, politics, books and whatever has irritated her on any particular day, on her website Usual and Ordinary ( She is an occasional contributor to The Livingston Post and has remained active in local politics and the community after serving as Pinckney Village President from 2004-2012, and as a trustee currently. She is enjoying empty-nesting in Pinckney with her husband, three cats and a few chickens.