Not so for an olympic. It's twice as long. Only serious trained triathletes do these. It's what they do at the Olympics, for pete's sake!
(Or so I kept telling myself the times I honestly thought I was going to finish dead last.)
My plan was to tool along at a pace that wouldn't hurt myself and finish the race eventually. My lobster and the girls' grandma were on hand, swingset in sight, to entertain themselves--I could take as long as I needed. And I did.
The two-loop swim was the largest question mark. Though I'm a solid swimmer, I'd been in a pool only once since High Cliff, and this swim was nearly a mile. By the end of Loop One, I was by myself. No one in sight. Did everyone leave this solid swimmer in the dust? I know I've lost fitness but really? What the?
The two-loop bike had much-appreciated rolling hills and I kept a moderate pace. When I turned right to start the second loop....crickets. Alone. No one in sight. This was the first time I really wondered. "Am I last?!" I shouted to the volunteer at the corner. He assured me I was not but what did he know? Halfway through that second loop I glanced back to see another cyclist about 100 yards back. No consolation--she was probably a faster runner.
Remember, you're just doing this to finish. It's okay if you're slow.
The (again with the loops) two-loop run afforded an interesting opportunity to view exactly how many (if any) people were behind me as I closed in on halfway through the second loop. There was a handful--spread out, lumbering along like me, may or may not be in my age group. As I approached the finish I could hear the race director on the mike, no longer announcing the names of finishers but announcing the names of the winners for the awards ceremony. The transition area was being torn down, most of the bikes had already been removed. I finished with little fanfare, grabbed a water, and went to find my four biggest fans.
They had to wait a long long time, but they stuck with me.