On Being a non-Jock in Jockland

First of all, I am no couch potato. I work out regularly and am in excellent condition for a man of almost seventy. That said, I hang out with triathletes, who are in my opinion the most superbly conditioned humans on the planet. They train at distances in a day that I, in my youth would consider a week's work. Whenever they collect in a group, the conversation revolves around running, biking, or swimming; comparing times or sharing training strategies. These are, for the most part, people who have regular day jobs, some at very high professional levels, yet their day almost always includes a level of athletic activity that would incapacitate the average person for a week.

I am privileged to be a member of the race committee of one of the more intriguing and challenging events in the realm of triathlon, the Survival of the Shawangunks, more lovingly known as the SOS. This is a race unique among triathlons in that it involves eight stages, including three lake swims and four individual runs. there's no need to describe here, look in the SOS Triathlon website. The reason I'm chatting about it is we ran it this Sunday, September 11th. It was probably the most exciting iteration of this event since I've been part of it, mainly because we had to reconstruct an acceptable course with less than two weeks notice. Here's why.

Hurricane Irene devastated Minnewaska State Park, the source of two swims with intervening runs, and the park is closed until further notice. We adjusted the run and swim course, shortening it considerably, and then had another couple of days of heavy rain, which flooded and closed our road course. It wasn't until Saturday morning September 10th that we settled on a road course.
All that said, the race went off with a hundred-thirty plus racers supported by over two hundred volunteers. It was by all empirical measures, a rousing success.

I think what keeps me involved in an event I couldn't hope to enter is the dedication, intelligence and wonderful sense of humor of the people who arrange it, and the people who participate. I'm happy to be part of it.