The World’s Shortest-Longest Triathlon

That’s what I completed on Sunday. In an attempt to rapidly get into shape for my looming sprint triathlon in Massachusetts on the 20th, I decided to do a brick workout on Sunday. It all started with my first OWS of the season. I was super jazzed to try out my new long-sleeved wetsuit as was my friend Karen. We both bought our suits in anticipation of starting our OWS season in May, but that was before the “The Polar Vortices” hit Cleveland (and seemingly 1/4 of the United States). Did you happen to see any of those pictures of the Great Lakes in the arctic temperatures of January? Let me refresh your memory.

Eerie Lake Erie (see what I did there?

Eerie Lake Erie (See what I did there?)

The Swim

As a result of that wacky weather, the lake is not nearly as warm as it should be this time of year. Still, Karen and I were feeling brave in our neoprene. We decided that as soon as we entered the water, we would immediately take off. We didn’t want to waste precious time and risk getting cold by dilly-dallying in the shallows. I headed in first. At about one foot deep, my feet were quite cold. Two feet, and I felt like I had plunged them into buckets of ice water. “Sixty-four my ass,” I muttered to myself. I turned back to Karen who was in up to about 6 inches. “It’s really cold!” I called out. At that, I turned, sank down, and pushed off. I was terribly afraid to put my face in the water, and I soon found out why my instincts had me hesitating. It. Was. Frigid. The surface temperature of lake may have been about 60 degrees, but I would say it was about 55 degrees 1-2 feet down. I took one last look behind me to see Karen visibly cringing as she speedily made her way towards me. I reluctantly put my face back into the skin-numbing water and swam as if being chased by something huge and scary. I was making a beeline for the 300 yard point, but a few yards short of 200 I stopped. The water was getting even colder as I made my way out of the shallows, and I began to lose control of my breath. As an asthmatic, this is not something I look forward to. I spun around to see Karen – who had naturally already caught up to me – stop short. “I think it’s too cold for me,” she said, and rolled onto her back, sticking her feet and hands straight up into the air, out of the water. “Me too. I’m having trouble with my breathing.”

We floated there for a bit, and it was blissfully peaceful, albeit chilly. I’m sure we were an absurd sight for the SUP guy who was watching us from the shore (noticeably and intelligently not getting into the water). In the sun, limbs held out of the frigid green water, it was actually quite lovely. There was a slight breeze, and the waves gently pushed us back to shore. Once out, we decided to give ourselves a generous 200 yards. We had accomplished getting the new suits on and getting into the water. That was enough for now.


Karen had to head back home, but I decided to warm up with a little bike ride. I dried off, threw my bike together, clipped in, and was off…a mile and a half down the street to one of my favorite local coffee shops.

The Bike

I decided that despite the short distance, I would partake in my now four-year tradition of a chocolate chip cookie and small coffee from Mojo’s post morning OWS. As I warmed up sipping my buttery praline-flavored liquid gold, I decided I would meander over to my friend Laura’s house who lives just another mile away. As luck would have it she was home, and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon chat while sipping ice water on her front porch. It was really turning out to be a gorgeous day. After about an hour, I made my way back to my car for a total of just under 5 miles. Huzzah!


I changed out of my road bike shoes, packed up my bike, and drove home. After I got inside, I freshened up a bit, threw on my running shoes, stretched out for a good 10 minutes, and decided to run up to wherever I would intersect with Mark, who had left for his run 30 minutes prior.

The Run

Not half a mile up the street we ran into each other, and so I turned around, ran back home, and thus completed the shortest triathlon in the longest amount of time possible.

Short, yes, but I had a blast. While I am aware there is no cookie/coffee/friend pit stop in T1 of any triathlon (but maybe there should be), I was still pleased with my truncated tri. Was it a calorie burner? Not really, but I sure did have a lot of fun.

photo 2-30

Not-so-eerie Lake Erie



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