Wouldn’t you know it: the year I FINALLY make it into the DANSKIN Triathlon it ends up being one of the wettest on record.
Yeah, yeah, yeah; I know what you’re all thinking: “It’s SEATTLE, Betsy; it ALWAYS rains in Seattle.” Well, you’re wrong. Sure, we get our fair share of rain, but August typically is hot and dry. While one can expect to be greeted with foil blankets at the end of the Seattle Marathon (held the weekend after Thanksgiving), you’d NEVER expect to need one after a race held the third week of August (and unfortunately they weren’t handing them out; you had to be in pretty bad shape to get one).
I have longed to do the Danskin since the early 90s. A bunch of us had traveled over to Spokane to watch one of our friends compete in the Troika half Ironman; while that distance (1 1/4 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 1/2 marathon) seemed unattainable at the time, the Danskin was within reach (1/2 mile swim, 12-mile bike, 5K). The fact it’s a women’s only triathlon increased its appeal (sometimes you just don’t want to deal with all the testosterone). But although I was in shape at the time, I never bothered to enter. Then I got out of shape, and even just a 5K seemed daunting, let alone the swim and bike legs.
Fast forward to last year. By March I was down 30 pounds, I was running consistently and had signed up for a half marathon in July. I knew with just a bit more training I could do my first triathlon. However, when I went to sign up for Danskin I saw it had sold out the day before; RASSENFRASSEN! But I then heard about the Subaru Tri, another all-women’s race, held the second weekend in September. I signed up, trained hard (especially in the swim) and had a respectable finish. (I loved it so much I signed up for another tri the following weekend). The Subaru was probably an even better tri to start with, as it’s about a quarter the size of Danskin. But I knew I wouldn’t be happy until I could participate in that race.
Knowing it sells out quickly I started monitoring the web site in November (yes, I’m a freak). I also asked my sister Robin if she’d like to do it with me. To entice her I told her I’d pay for it; the only way she’d have to pay me back was if she ended up not participating. In early February the Danskin site stated registration was slated to open February 26, but I continued to monitor it just in case. On Friday morning, February 23, I received an email from the LUNAChix (a local tri team) that registration had opened. Within minutes I had signed us up (good thing too; it sold out by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26). In order to race together we entered in the mixed age group (Robin’s 11 years older).
Whereas for the Subaru Tri I swam more than a dozen times — both in the pool and open water — ran several “bricks” (bike to run drills) and even did a couple of practice mini triathlons, I did none of that for Danskin. My goal would just be to finish, and I felt confident I could easily swim a half mile (besides, I wanted to concentrate my training on Medoc). But by early July I was concerned I was being cocky, so I worked in a couple of half-mile swims in Greenlake. And with the three brewery/winery bike rides under my belt, I figured I was good to go.
Robin, meanwhile, truly got into the spirit. I had hoped to train with her, but my schedule became too booked. So she signed up with a tri coach on Vashon Island (which I think benefitted her much more than training with me). Because she had given her bike to her daughter, she’d be using my old mountain bike. My darling tuned it up as best he could, then Robin and I took it out for a 6-mile practice run the day of the expo. Since she had been training on the hills of Vashon, the flat Burke-Gilman was no match; she couldn’t believe how easy it felt.