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In September of 2008 (maybe 09), we made a trip to the Bloomsburg Fair with the kids. We went down the midway, and I wanted to win prizes for my family. I put down $1 on a chance game and won Meg a lucky bamboo plant in a nice bowl. (Well, appropriate for lucky bamboo bowl, “nice” is a relative term.) Then I played the squirt gun game to win Jack a Curious George. Then I won Whac-a-Mole to get something for Olivia.

On one hand, I was loving it. Not the typical hunter or macho man, the dumbest things can still boost my ego. But I also didn’t want to give young minds the impression that Daddy can always win a prize for $1. A streak is awesome, but luck is random. Don’t think this is just how it always turns out. (It only works if your name is Nick Papagiorgio.)

So with this story in mind, I have to remind myself that I won’t keep earning AG (age group) awards just for showing up and being the 3rd of 3. Oh I’ll certainly take them, but I know it’s fluke. It’s still great incentive as a newbie.

So here’s chapter 2 in the “hey I showed up!” saga. I was last to finish the DACC tri, and by the time I was walking into the building, most people had left or were on their way out, I didn’t get to see people get awards, but did get to see the younger guy I talked to in the pool lineup who has done a HIM (half ironman), and ended up 2nd overall at our little sprint. He was stoked.

So when I left, I had a rough sense of my time, but it wasn’t printed out yet. I knew it was better than expected, and I finished.

Well, I finally emailed the DACC today and got the full results. They are found right here.

Scroll way down to see Mr 51st of 51. That’s me, right there, on the internet, so it MUST BE TRUE. And, my swim time was 7:08, placing me 38th out of 51. So that was cool.

But scroll down further to age group results. Well will you look at that. I was 2nd out of 2 in my age group! And the other guy was 3rd overall, so I can handle second to him.

So today, I collected this:


And then I had it engraved:

It is probably the only sprint triathlon medal ever engraved with a 2nd place time of 2:27:15, and really it is representative of a finisher’s medal, but it’s my first, and I will take it.

At the Robbins Run, it was hysterical that I got 3rd, since there were a number of other men in my age group, but they ran 10K, so I felt slightly ridiculous picking up a trophy. But this time, only 2 of us in the AG showed up at all. The man right ahead of me in the standings was 1st in his AG. 1st of 1. He’s 66.

The DACC triathlon is only in its second year, so with 51 individual competitors, by my count, only 13 men and one woman left WITHOUT an Age Group award. Still, DFL>DNF. (Did Finish Last is greater than Did Not Finish.)

Next weekend in Annapolis, there will be over 1000 competitors, so there are pretty good odds I won’t be the 3rd out of 3. As it is, I am entered as a Clydesdale competitor, which is like age-group, but a weight designation for men over 200 pounds. (Women over 150 can compete as an “Athena.”) Do not assume however, that this class is all big chubby slow guys doing their first season like I am. There are some fierce 6’5″ 202 pound dudes out there in tri-world. The class is not there for the obese finishers so much as the truly large athletes who can’t get the speed of a 5’6″ 130 pound guy. If competing within one’s age group makes a more fair contest for amateurs, the Clydesdale/Athena division broadens that spirit.

Anyway, I’m shadow-boxing my first triathlon medal. Even if it is just essentially a finisher’s medal, that is still awesome.

You know what they call the guy who finishes last in a triathlon?

A Triathlete.

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4 thoughts on “Whac-A-Medal

  1. I just looked up the overall winner from the Tri. He was last year’s Riverstock winner. Clearly a force to be reckoned with. Well, on the USA Triathlon website, he was ranked 149th in age group in 2010. The listing goes through over 4600 ranked athletes in that category, so, yeah – that’s pretty impressive. Pretty cool to have someone with that profile racing in the same race that small.

  2. You are doing great! Now get out and do some more stuff to blog about!! I am bored out of my mind and reading this is getting me through this snooze fest of a class.
    Just remember when you start to think you are last, you are out there, thats all that matters!

    • I signed up for Annapolis sprint tri this weekend, so I’m definitely getting material. And, I’m developing a 2011 schedule that’s pretty ambitious.

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