So, did I tell you that Accenture was this weekend? Yeah, big race, the golden one for many a triathlete. For me this was supposed to be the year for the Olympic distance, or the “Oly” as some would call it. I, on the other hand, just couldn’t muster the strength, dedication, interest or stamina to really drive it all home. So, I decided to go ahead and do the sprint instead. I can’t tell you how liberating this was. Perhaps a little too liberating, because my fitness level the day of the event left a tad to be desired. However, I was determined to have a great time.
Woke up at the same before the crack of the crack of the butt of dawn and loaded up the ford blue van with 3 of my closest friends. We convoyed downtown to meet the packs and droves of insane people on bikes carrying large backpacks and wearing alien helmets. Transition was fun. I was next to this lady named Sandy who I swear, had more makeup on than I have seen on most models. I even mentioned I trained in less time than it took her to apply her mascara. Regardless, friends were made, laughs had. I had dilemma though. My start time was about 7:15 a.m. and I had to put on the wetsuit. See my previous explanations and adventures of trying on the wetsuit to understand why I may not want to do this in public let alone in a port-o-potty. At around 6:30 though, I had no choice. I put it on and immediately began to dehydrate because of the vast pools of sweat dripping from my face.
Swim start….I am chatting away to anyone who will listen so that I am taken aback when the actual horn goes off. I had no idea it would be that fast. I begin to try to develop some sort of rhythm to no avail because I am being kicked, pulled, yanked and otherwise beaten in the water. I also believe I ran over someone doing backstroke (sorry). Finally though, I am out of the water which is great for me. I search for my shoes which are under the crunch sign and see my girlfriend Kitty who I begin to have a conversation with…right there. We chat for a couple of minutes before I remember that this is a RACE. I proceed to hobble to the bike transition.
No amount of strength or flexibility will get me out of the wetsuit. I am like a turtle on my back, feet raised trying to get the sucker off of my ankles. Finally people stop to ask if I need help. I must have looked like I needed some medical attention. But, I prevail and walk (can I say that again WALK to the bike exit) I take my time getting on the bike and take off. The bike itself was uneventful. I couldn’t really get any speed worth mentioning, but there were some nice looking bikes along the way. Once off the bike I walk….yes, walk to the rack and change shoes, take off helmet, put on hat, do my hair (wait, I have none) Finally, I am off again. I get out on the run course and realize I still have my bike gloves on. Silly me, so I have to carry them with me.
I hated the run, every bit of it. I walked a lot of it and just smiled when I remembered I wasn’t doing the “Oly”!! Toward the end of the race I see a woman in front of me, she is struggling to get through this, but is giving it her all. I follow her for quite some time until we are within a 1/4 mile of the finish line. At that point I see her start to walk. I shout “Don’t you dare start walking now woman…I have followed you this far, you had better pick it up!!” So she starts running again. We sort of laugh together, the crowd starts to cheer us on because I am cheering her on Man oh Man what a RUSH!! We cross the finish line arm in arm in the actual victory pose. Hip Hip Hooray!!!!! All of the sudden a voice comes over the loudspeaker “Ladies, you have not crossed the finish line yet!!!!” We burst out laughing finish the race with a hop and smile.
She told me I made her race, that she wouldn’t have been able to do it without me. Now, I know that isn’t true, but it really was a nice thing to hear.
I had my slowest times ever in this race. I am not going to deny that in the negative area of my brain, that horrible place, I can feel bad about it. But mostly, I had a great time. I laughed and cried when two of my closest friends crossed the “Oly” finish line. I am so proud of them.
And you know what, even if I was the slowest of the slow….I am proud of me too!!
Great Job Terry from Naperville….whoever you are.
p.s. If you’d like to see a 30 second video of this finish….let me know….it is priceless.
UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST
En route to the lake for a morning swim today, my girls commented about how they couldn’t believe I put on my wetsuit in the port-o- potty. I apologize for not being clearer. In no way did I change in the poop chamber. I stood on a grassy knoll in front of thousands of people and wiggled and stretched my way into the wetsuit I lovingly call Michelin.
p.s. we found no parking at the lake so in dedicated athlete fashion, we went to breakfast instead.