I have never been exceedingly athletic. I was a mediocre (at best) football player and don't completely embarrass myself on the golf course, but I have never been good enough to be a star in a team sport or excel in any kind of individual athletic competition.
Until this past Saturday. Kind of.
A few of the graduate students in my department and I kept a short-lived tradition going of having an informal "just for fun" sprint triathlon. The race was opened up to all faculty, staff, and grad students. We swam 1/4 mile in an indoor pool, biked a 13 mile course, and ran a 5k. This was all followed by a bbq. Participants could do the whole thing or just certain legs; whatever they wanted. The goal was just to get people out to enjoy some (hopefully) good weather, good food, and interact a little outside of the work environment.
The weather totally cooperated (80 degrees and sunny in mid October - thank you global warming), but there ended up being only 4 of us who did the full race. One other person did the bike and the run, and a handful of people just did the 5k.
As you may have guessed, I actually won the race. As in I beat everyone (all three of them). Handily, I might add.
Last year we did the same thing, and my time this year was a considerable improvement. Better yet, my fellow competitors were all in their 20s. Regardless of the number of people, it was a lot of fun to actually win a race. It would have been even more fun if there were actual prizes/awards, but it was still a thrill. Best of all, it is good to have some small victories like this to motivate yourself for more training.
While I plan to continue training and do some longer, formal events next year (I am planning to do at least one Olympic tri in June), I have no illusions about ever getting even a podium finish within my age group in a real race. And I'm guessing those students I got lucky and beat this year will come at me with a vengeance for the departmental race next year.
But like I said, this thing was informal and not real competitive. Still, had I finished in last place, I would have told people I finished fourth and simply omitted the total number of participants from my retelling of the tale.