[Please read Part One to find out why Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, calls 2018 a “lost season.” It started with a couple misses due to weather, continued with misses due to illness, and culminated with a missed trip to Australia for the Sprint Triathlon Grand Final due to family illness. Here, he’s optimistic about his next race—a sprint duathlon. He talks about that race and what it took to reboot—mentally and physically—below. Enjoy! — DuItForYou]
Feeling pretty down, I was indeed looking at a totally lost season. BUT, I was scheduled for one more race, the Special Olympics of New Jersey’s One More Tri—racing the sprint duathlon—in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on Sept. 16.
As August turned to September, I was thinking: if I don’t get injured between now and race day; if it doesn’t rain and if my family illness situation doesn’t deteriorate further, I will be there.And if so, that would mean that my season would have been very brief, but not completely lost.
The race was a short (1.5-mile run – 12-mile bike – 3-mile run) duathlon on a virtually flat course. The weather was gorgeous: bright sunshine, temps in the 70s, light northeast wind. This meant that on the north-south out-and-back bike course one had a headwind going out, but tailwind coming back, on each of the two laps. The runs were flat too: the first was an out-and-back on the classic Asbury Park boardwalk, the second a loop was around one of the town’s downtown lakes and then another out-and-back on the boardwalk.
And I made it! Yes, I was very slow, about 3:20 for the course, but I finished. Given that I had no races under my belt for the season and that my training had not gone that well because of that, I had to push myself all the way. And for the second run, being last (way back) I had a “sweeper” with me. Dave absolutely made sure I was going to make it. And I did!
The icing on the cake was that when I was coming in for my finish at the OMT Du, way behind everyone else, the DJ was still there. She played the “Chariots of Fire” theme for me as I came into the chute. That was the same theme that greeted me when I finished my first Ironman, on Cape Cod, in 1985—I was last then too, but ahead of the 17-hour time cutoff. Oh, what a feeling! It was like closing a loop.
But most important for me was that the One More Tri Sprint Duathlon was a total renewal experience. I felt that I had recaptured that past season. It was race #256 overall, in 36 seasons. “How can that be, in such a short race?” you might ask. Well, I dunno. But it did it for me, just to finish a multisport race once again.
Of course, I have been hooked on our sport ever since I finished that first triathlon in 1983. Although I have had several “few-races” seasons over the years, I’ve never had a “no-races” season. What I found that day at Asbury Park was that all that I needed to maintain my racing career for sure for next year, was one “fix” of a race. And I got it—a fix that one can be very thankful for—from my wonderful friends at New Jersey Special Olympics. For me, it rescued my season. Thanks, Jeanene of NJ Special Olympics and everyone!
This column is based on an article that originally appeared on the USA Triathlon blog. It is used with permission.
2018 marks Dr. Steve Jonas’ 36thseason of multisport racing. He began the season with a total of 255 dus and tris. He is a member of USA Triathlon’s Triathlon Century Club and is in the 90’s for duathlon. He has raced up to the Ironman distance, but now at 81, he is sticking to the sprints in both duathlon and triathlon.
Steve is a prolific author of books on multi-sport racing. His first (originally published in 1986) was The 2nd Ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006) is still in print. In 2012, he published a book exclusively devoted to duathlon: Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012). All of his books on multi-sport are available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. He is also long-time writer for various multisport periodicals, including the USA Triathlon Blog. He very happily joined Du It For You in 2016.