So I Tried The Tri

While I was really tempted to put up a totally wackjob endorphin stoned post on Sunday, I'm glad I took a little time to rest and come down off the high prior to telling you the tale.

First of all, I finished the triathlon. Probably came in around two hours and 40 minutes or some such, which for a beginner isn't a bad thing. I did not drown, fall, or crash. I did not quit when I wanted to quit. It was an exercise in self domination and submission, sadism and masochism. I'm still unsure why I did it. Except I'm not unsure at all. So that's the long story short.

Here's the long version.

I woke up at 4 am, ate and packed up and went to V's. We transferred material (first Naive Mistake), had a bit more food and were driven by her friend to the Aquarena Springs Center in San Marcos. We were there early to set up our "transition" materials. That's the place where your bike and gear are stored so that after the swim, you can change and get on the bike.

The place was swarming with people. Little tailgate parties were set up. Kids in strollers with parents of racers there for support. Music, tents the whole nine yards. Lots of tall strong dudes in racing gear. I felt both scared and ok until I realized that in the transfer of gear from my car to V's car, I'd somehow (stupidly) left my fucking bike helmet in MY CAR. So, that was inspirational. But she had other friends there who'd been in a training class and there were extras.

We got our gear set up, and got ready for the swim. I put on my wetsuit (Naive Mistake number two), and in my nervous inexperiencedness, I put it on backwards. Which was pointed out to me by a tall handsome man with a bit of a sad smile on his face. I was like, I LIKE IT LIKE THAT IT'S FINE!!! and then ran to change.

And that was also inspirational.

So, there we are waiting to swim and one lesson I learned is to register damn early as we were numbers 314 and 317. Cause when you start last and are slow to begin with you are gonna be that person coming into the finish line with no sausage wraps left and the crew closing up shop. Just saying give yourself a bit of bounce by being number 10.

So it's beautiful cool weather, and the springs are so lovely. And we all dive in, ever three seconds and damn. The adrenaline hits like a brick wall and I think I'm going to hyperventilate. The wetsuit feels constricting as hell, the plants are all up in my grill, and the path ahead looks long asssssssss. But I just go. Find my breath eventually and look at the trees. Thank the water. Thank the trees.

Feel like a seal in the suit. Feel moderately dorky and stupid.

Eventually, I do get to the end, and stumble up barefoot back to transition. Which is, hilariously devoid of bikes, cause EVERYONE GOT THERE BEFORE US. And V is changing and I'm changing and stuffing powerbars in my mouth and freaking out and the dude on the loudspeaker is like "Alright number 317!!!" And the cameraderie at this point is NOT helping me.

Onto the bike, out the chute. This part is hell. Undertrained Hell. Gear Hell. Car Hell.

I do not like biking near cars. I never did. In fact, since early childhood, this is the most I have EVER been on a bike for fear of cars and crashing. (side note, I am not a "gear" person. I don't master implements well. I'd prefer dance to playing an instrument, my bare hands for combat more than swords, running more than biking). So I'm on the bike, dealing with gears, feeling fearful, it's misting and the road is slick and there are fucking cars speeding by. And I'm just trying to to die or bail from fear).

Slowly, I'm going. I'm doing it wrong. I suck. I hate myself. I am an idiot. This is where the bizarre endorphin produced inner monologue of doom begins (which according to Chris nearly always happens during endurance events...like everytime, and mine was a doozy).

Meanwhile, people from the swim are nearly done with their bike ride and passing me on the way back and yelling, "YOU CAN DO IT!" to which I"m muttering "OH, FUCK OFF!" As I'm tightly gripping my handlebars and grunting up slow inclines.

At somepoint I lost all my powerbars, and a water bottle because I figured it was better to drop them then fall and crash because a FUCKING CAR was speeding by me.

Eventually, I get close to half of the trip which is a honking hard big ass hill. And I'm going up it. And I don't quit, but the inner monologue is like this. "I'm going to be last, I suck, I just didn't want to be last. Why shouldn't you be last? You deserve to be last. You've got some serious issues, sister. Hey, look at the bluebells. Yeah, lots of wildflowers this year. What gear am I in? I don't have issues. Yes I do. I'm really competitive and mean spirited. Quit being a bitch to yourself. Why are you being so mean to the nice people giving you praise, what's your fucking problem. Wow, was that a buzzard? Maybe that buzzard is my spirit animal. Buzzards and bluebonnets. Death eaters and rebirth, quit BEING SO WEIRD AND PEDAL. Ok. Just pretend the hill is a contraction. I DID IT WHEEEEEEEEE"

And the hill was over. And then I said, I don't ever have to do that hill again (which is something they tell you to say during labor. "that one is done and you are closer to the baby).

(Which is also kind of CRAZY, because labor? Is way easier than a triathlon. Because 1) you can get an epidural, 2) you don't have CARS FLYING AT YOU AND FRATBOYS CHEERING AT YOU and 3) you CAN'T QUIT labor. You just have to finish, one way or the other. With the Tri....you fucking CHOOSE to keep going. Crazy. And ultimately good for me actually, but that is another story.)

"It's about the baby. Thank the road. Be nice to the nice people. Quit being a bitch to yourself." Became a mantra.

Finally, I get really close to the halfway mark turnaround and as I'm heading towards that point of heaven, the aforementioned fratboy volunteers at the last little hill are all like, "You go girl!!!" to which my mumbled response was less than kind and involved some version of threats of Vagina Dentata and Giant Middleaged Woman stomping on their fratboy heads, but they were gone in a breeze and I was finally turning around.

V held up a bit for me and we made it back, better than we started (mostly because I have issues with doing things on my own, I am finding out, but alone is kind of the way it is, really).

We did get the obligatory "you got back" applause at transition, and quickly drank, ate and starting running through the lovely suburban neighborhood of San Marcos. I will not tell you about how peeing went, save to say that for being a vain actress sort? I have little pride about my hair, makeup and emptying my bladder when I have to. Don't fuck with me.

(So if you were keeping track, there was a Bike Fuck Up, a Swim Fuck Up and of course we had a Run Fuck Up. Mistake, ala Naive number three was we tried to run the way we came only to have the entire race staff yell "NO! The other way!!!" and so we obeyed. Full circle, mistake wise. Just the way I like it. INSPIRATIONAL!!!!)

So we run and walk and run and walk and talk and man this part is better for me by far. 1) there is no fucking monologue going on in my head because I AM TALKING and 2) I could run/walk for fucking hours and 3) V and I are finally together and loving each other and being awesome and laughing and really? That's the crack of the event for me. Her. Us. Friends.

We speed through this part and as we are running in the entrance area back to the transition area, everyone (who is already done which is, indeed pretty much everyone) is walking out with their gear and they are all, all, ALL, offering kind supportive, Go Girl comments. Which is making me crazy cause all I'm trying to do is not fall down and because I am nothing if not a pathologically social creature, I am having to resist the urge to say, "Hey, thanks!" to everyone who is Go Girling me.

We reach the final push, see the finish line and there are our friends and loves, and Chris is there with Owen and Evan and both of them are charging at me, like kids do and I realize that they are gonna jump on me and I"m like NONONONONONONONO NOT YET!

And we pass a row of port-a-potties, and the funniest shit happens. As I'm yelling at the boys to just wait, a man's voice emanates from the big plastic john, "YOU GO GIRL! KEEP GOING!!!" Like from INSIDE the portopotty. Which cracks my shit up more than anything, and I sail through the finish line and start crying and glowing.

And then Evan faceplants. Hard. Blood on both knees. And starts wailing. And thus, my moment of last place glory was brought back to reality in the way that it always happens with kids.

And rightly so.

The ride home was pretty...vague. I remember trying to answer an email and thinking...what the fuck are you doing, that's not important. I got home, had an epsom salt bath, courtesy Chris and slept for two hours.

And then went about my day.

My shins were really fucking sore, but they aren's so bad today. I was expecting my quads to be angry, but they are good. I've (re)discovered a few key inner workings of myself that are in need of therapy or something akin to it, and I know what I need to do to train better and more effectively for the Danskin.

Tomorrow or so? I'll write up some notes about the culture of triathoning....who I saw, how they acted, why there were so many women over 40 there....

But that, in a blog post, was it.....

Comments

  1. you were amazing. you are amazing. and I can't wait for the next one. when we get to be almost pros and get to beat all the old ladies!

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  2. Great job - and only three inspirational mistakes in your first triathlon sounds pretty good to me...
    Chris

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  3. I'm tempted to say you go girl but don't want to risk being savaged, but I will say, you are quite awesome, and well done. :)

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  4. Holy shit, girl! What is wrong with me? After reading that I want to try a tri myself!

    And the inner monologue sounds kinda familiar too.

    But by far my favorite line "because I have issues with doing things on my own, I am finding out, but alone is kind of the way it is, really."

    What I'm finding, so far behind you in my little race, is that for me it is and it isn't. I'm good with alone, but never been to great with the together moments -- connecting with the random inspirers or even the few friends that hold up for me.

    Congrats to you! What a cool way to spend a day!

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  5. You are such an unbelievable badass. I'm proud to know you, lady.

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