There was a lot of excited talk on The Patrick Lalley Show the last couple weeks about the potential -- and then stark reality -- of me entering the DakotaMan Triathlon at Wall Lake on Saturday.

It's been three years since I've done a triathlon of any type. DakotaMan is a sprint distance -- 500 yard swim, 15 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run -- so it's a natural reentry into the sport.

Plus, it's local and accessible and I've done it before so I knew what I was getting into.

This is where the excited talk comes in. I had been considering the race for a couple months.

But then Mayor Paul TenHaken said on my show that he was going to do it. And he sort of challenged me to do it. And given that we'd both been thrown off our training a bit -- he by the campaign for mayor and me by, well, let's not go into that -- it seemed like a good idea.

Then he signed up. So I had to sign up.

Race co-director Kathy Grady of Sanford Wellness Center was also on the show, and assured me it would all be fine. But you could see in her eyes, she was being nice.

So that's how I ended up pulling on my wetsuit in the transition area with fellow competitors -- a few friends of mine from cycling and triathlon -- and Mayor Paul TenHaken.

On the upside, it was a beautiful day for a race.

I had no grand illusion of a great performance. I'm a full 30 pounds over what I weighed during the height of Ironman and cyclocross training a few years ago. So that's not going to help right there.

And also, no real training.

Which is to say -- NO SWIMMING.

This proved my undoing.

I hit the water just hoping to finish in about 10 minutes. Oh, how I wish that were true.

The details are better kept to the secret corners of my memory. But when I finally made it back to the beach, about 15 minutes had passed. Let's just say, that's not good.

But at least I made it.

The rest of the race when about as I had envisioned. The bike was decent. The run was actually better than I'd expected.

There's an old adage in Tri: You can't win the race on the swim, but you can lose it.

I'm not going to lie to you. I really wanted to beat the mayor in the spirit of friendly competition. I thought I was possible.

But you don't make up five minutes in a sprint triathlon.

Paul came in more than two minutes ahead of me. 

Well done Mr. Mayor. Well done.

Submitted Photo

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