2013 Mtn. Lakes Triathlon review
Dear Izzy, Max,and Kate
Ten years passes quickly. So much in my life is different in 2013 than it was in 2002 when I made my first trip to Guntersville, AL for Team Magic’s Mtn. Lakes Triathlon.
Mommy and I had only been married for 3 years on that first trip. Looking back, we were still newlyweds.
Izzy, it would still be 2 years before you were born. I hadn’t learned yet the real meaning of my life.
We had no idea that the future held our journey with you two, Max and Kate.
I didn’t know what a test of endurance was at that point.
I was 27 years old 11 years ago.
Now, I’m older. I feel more than my age some days and I have the grey hair to show for it.
But other days, I can push myself until my lungs burn and my muscles scream and 2002 and 27 years old feels like yesterday. I’m grateful to triathlon and Team Magic for that.
We left for Guntersville on Friday afternoon. We arrived at my best friend since 5th grade, Michael Moebes’, parents house on Lake Guntersville around 7pm. Michael and his family had just arrived as well. You kids love playing with the Moebes kids.
After getting all 6 of you kids to bed we stayed up until past 11pm talking and reminiscing about the old days. I appreciate and know how rare it is to have friends you’ve maintained relationships with for so long.
I woke up at 5am to get ready for the race. Michael’s dad, Richard Moebes, was up as well. We chatted a little over coffee while I went through my morning routine of fixing water bottles, etc. Around 6 we all loaded into the van and headed for the Guntersville recreation center.
When we arrived I had that strange sensation of going back in time again. The race site, the sounds, many of the people were the same as they had been over a decade ago. Then that familiar voice of Therese Bynum came over the loudspeaker making prerace announcements. I’m not certain, but I could have sworn she said “Welcome to the 28th annual Mtn. Lakes Triathlon.”
I got my stuff in order in transition and then sat with you kids for awhile. At the last minute I walked down to the water, jumped in, swam about 200 yards to warm up, and then took my place in line. I was to be among the first in the water again for the time trial start.
As always, I shed a few tears during the national anthem.
Mtn. Lakes is a 600 yard triangular swim. That’s the one thing that has changed since 2002. In the old days it was a 600 point to point swim. I liked the new course. We swam out about 200 yards keeping the bouys on our left, made a left turn, swam 200 yards, made another left, and swam back to shore. It was an uneventful swim for me. I found open water pretty quickly and settled into a somewhat labored pace. You kids and Mommy were waiting for me in the crowd when I returned. I haven’t been swimming much lately, so I was happy with my time. I was 4th out of 32 in my age group on the swim.
Mtn. Lakes offers a scenic and mostly rural 16 mile bike course. The real beauty of the course is it’s topography which belies the races name. When you hear “Mtn. Lakes” it natural to assume a hilly, even mountainous ride. But Team Magic created a course many years ago that is as flat as any race you’ll find in the Southeast. The mountains on all sides frame the course, but there are only a few rollers on the course to slow you. Again, feeling like I wasn’t quite as fit as I’ve been in the past, I held back on the bike. I was alone for much of the ride despite the hundreds of other racers. I decided to relax a bit and settle into a comfortably hard pace. I ended up averaging 22.2 mph on the bike. Good for 12th of 32 in my age group.
I could hear you kids yelling “go Daddy!” as I pulled on my running shoes for the 3 mile run. Mtn. Lakes offers an out and back course on a flat paved running path alongside the lake. I love this course, because you’re in the midst of your fellow racers going out and returning. I was glad I had held back on the bike, because I didn’t feel great on the run and might have felt really bad if I had ridden too hard. I decided to push the pace the best I could without overdoing it and blowing up. I ran 22:10 for 3 miles. Good for 7th of 32 in my age group.
Overall I finished 5th out of 32 in the 35-39 year old age group in a time of 1 hour 19 minutes 4 seconds.
WHAT I LEARNED:
When I saw my time I realized that I had gone the exact same time I had gone in 2003. Faster than 2002, but the same time as 2003 – when I was 28 years old: before kids, before job changes, before most of the real challenges of my life.
Although I hadn’t won my age group, I walked away as empowered as ever after a race.
10 years later, through it all, I’m still standing, moving forward, getting stronger with age. Maybe not “better”, but “stronger”.
I think we all are, though its hard to see it sometimes.
After the race we returned to the Moebes house (after I bought jumper cables and asked someone to jump start our dead van.) You kids played ball in the yard, we ate lunch together, and then spent the rest of the day on lake Guntersville, cruising the lake, stopping to swim, and enjoying the beauty of the good things from our past in our present.
Great friends and great races seldom change. Our capacity to get stronger never changes.
That’s what I learned by going back, all these years later.
I love you,
thank you, Richard and Janice Moebes for allowing us to stay at your beautiful home again! And thank you to Therese, Faye, and the rest of Team Magic for being great and for your support of TriFatherhood and my family! Y’all rock.