Race Coverage

"Tasting My Breakfast Again"...

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By Jeff Gilmer

Lake Murray (SC) Triathlon Race Report - One year ago it was my return to Triathlon following Achilles surgery. It was not the traditional race, as it was only two months since I had been given permission from my surgeon to start a run/walk strategy. It was great to be back participating again, but strict parameters from my coach "On the Run, You will NOT go after anyone who passes you". It was a reality check, but also puts into perspective all the other great things about Triathlon than just competition.

Today was the first 2022 Triathlon, same race, same venue, same weather, but with a new approach. This was the first race I was given the OK to run with no walking for the entire run segment. I really didn't know what to expect and saw the competition was much stronger than last year, and of course the two top athletes in my division were strong runners.

As I was treading water waiting for the starting gun to go off, it gave me time to reflect on how much has changed in a year. I almost missed the start as I saw the athlete next to me... 

take off. Here we go. The swim was solid and my plan was to go hard on the bike and see what I could do with a healed Achilles. As I returned from the bike I was feeling pretty good, in 6th place overall to start the run. However, I knew the strong runners in my division would not be far behind. Still being cautious I started the run very conservative, and after the turn around as I passed the others with a mile and half to go I had a lead.

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Little did I know these 60+ guys were running a 6:40 pace, and I was not even close to running that fast. What happened next people either take it as a disaster or a dream. For me it was a dream I have envisioned many times. With a half mile to go, they caught me, here they were. I started to increase my pace. For the next half mile I looked at my watch once and just decided to give it all. In the end it was one of those classic finishes separated by seconds. As we crossed the finish line, one of us fell to the ground, the other bent over with hands on their knees and unfortunately I got to taste my breakfast again. What went through my head was my coach's normal pre-race statement for many years, "If someone goes past you, you go after them with everything you got", a complete contrast from last year.

The best thing about your dream coming true, is the after. After we recovered the three of us are shaking hands, congratulating each other, exchanging contact information and planning our first training ride together. Triathlon, Yes it is competitive, but so much more are the incredible people and friends you meet. That is stronger than the finish line dream coming true.

Congratulations to my wonderful wife Mary Deeg on an incredible race to start the 2022 season. She has a big triathlon year planned and started it off with a bang. As she climbed up on the podium, even the race director was stunned when he announced her final time. Why was he surprised, not that she finished in first place again for the second year in a row, but because she was SEVEN MINUTES FASTER THAN LAST YEAR, and from a review of the available results appears she set a new Division Course Record. For all of us that know her, she is always smiling, but today was that special smile we all only see after an EPIC event... It was definitely one for the history books.

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