It’s been a few years since I’ve participated in a triathlon, and last weekend it felt really great to get back on the starting line again. The race was the General Smallwood triathlon and it’s in Southern Maryland, only about 15 minutes from where I grew up. This is a race that has been taking place for a number of years and I’ve always wanted to participate.
The race takes place in General Smallwood State Park in Charles County, and this is a beautiful place to fish in the Mattawoman Creek, have a picnic, or go hiking on the many trails that are within the park.
On race morning, there was a light rain and the weather was quite cool. When arriving on site, you could instantly feel the energy from the crowd as everyone was picking up their race packets or getting their bikes set up at the transition area.
I was participating in the Olympic distance, and the swim involved two loops in the creek to complete the 1.5K distance. The weather started to slowly improve before the start of the race, and then we were brought out in a line along the wooden dock to prepare for the time trial start. It felt good to jump in the chilly water and start swimming, quickly reflecting back on the many triathlon swim starts I’ve had in the past. My last triathlon was in 2018, so it was nice to feel that surge of adrenaline again and feel the heart rate quicken.
After the first two hundred yards or so, we started to settle into our target swim pace. The water wasn’t too choppy, and it was easy to sight from one buoy to the next, and then to follow up with the second loop. The time trial start helped keep everyone from bunching up at times, especially around the buoys.
Once finishing the swim, it was a brief jog to get up to the transition area, and I found this short distance very helpful in getting the land legs back. Most of my bike training has been indoors on a trainer, so it was refreshing to get the bike out on the road, tucking into the aero position on the straightaways and charging some of the descents. The course was rolling throughout, so there was a combination of uphills and downhills, and then some time to regroup, hydrate and get quick nutrition on the flat sections.
This race was also quite meaningful for me because the near fatal car accident that I was in back in the summer of 2004 was not far from this area, and I had to pass the intersection where the accident occurred on the way to the race venue. Several of my rescue squads were also present at the race to help with EMS services and provide water safety to the athletes during the swim, etc. To see my lifesaving crews from Ironsides Volunteer Rescue Squad, Tenth District VFD, and Bryans Road VFD at the transition area and throughout the course was truly special to me.
Next up was the 10K run, and the weather was slightly warming up at this time. The rolling hills that we had on the bike also continued on the two-loop run course, which involved paved roads and even some off-road trail sections that I enjoyed. It was great to see so many energetic volunteers and spectators throughout the run, and it was fun to chat with the other triathletes during this part of the race, especially going up some of the hillier areas where motivation was appreciated.
This race was coordinated by Kinetic Multisports, and this was my second event with them, and both times I have been thoroughly impressed from start to finish, with not just their course layout, but also their volunteers, staff members, and the atmosphere they create at their races. I look forward to racing in another event of theirs in the future. A big shout out to Don White, Greg Hawkins and their amazing team for all they did to put on such a great race.
Another highlight of the day for me was seeing the motivational signs that my daughter, Clara (5), and son, Liam (3), made for me that I saw after crossing the finish line, which put a big smile on my face.
Overall, it was a great day. It was so nice to be back out there in a sport that I love participating in, and in my hometown.
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