Okay, so I wasn’t going to do it. I mean, we didn’t train hard enough, and I’ve been sick with The Suckiest Summer Cold Ever ™, and so forth. I even went so far as to leave the house initially WITHOUT my gear, my bike, etc. But then we had to go back to the house to get the directions to the hotel and I got this wild hair. I mean, what could it hurt to bring the stuff? Still doesn’t mean I’ll do it, right?
Then we hit REI to get another water bottle, and while we were there I tried on a pair of Keen cycling shoes which made my feet — my feet, which are notoriously picky and hard to fit and look like I stole them from a platypus –they made my feet cry out with pleasure. Really, I felt almost dirty, like I was eavesdropping on an intimate moment. THAT kind of crying out with pleasure.
And Rhonda said, I’ll buy them for you as an early birthday present if you promise to do the tri tomorrow. No backsies.
Well obviously I had no choice, and clearly I’m out of my mind with sickness (did I mention that I also picked up some delightful pinkeye?) so I reluctantly agreed. Okay, I leapt at the chance.
Cut to this morning, when I coughed up what had to be at least ONE of my lungs, and Rhonda said, you don’t have to do the tri, really. No no, I said, deal’s a deal, plus I do kind of want to do it. Caught up in the excitement, etc. Off we went.
So the deal is this. Lake Washington is cold. It’s chilly. It’s choppy. It’s nothing like swimming in a warm, sheltered, calm health club pool. I knew this, and I knew that once I got in, and my panicked nerve endings stopped sending me Urgent! Messages! It’s cold! It’s choppy! Alert! Alert!, that I would settle down and swim. Except, I could not catch my breath. I still can’t. And I’m not the strongest swimmer on a good day. So, I had to accept a noodle (foam water noodle, not like food) from a swim angel (white-capped volunteer swimmer who helps sad sacks like me), and I wound up swimming on my back for pretty much all of the swim. Not to mention, it was sunny. Okay, so last time I did this it was raining lightly, and there was no glare to speak of. I found unfortunately that with all the glare, I could not see the buoys that I was supposed to be aiming for. (I’m very nearsighted and my goggles are not prescription.) The fact that they are, like, four feet tall and fluorescent orange means nothing to my sad, elderly, misshapen eyes. So I had swim angels and Rhonda all steering me around until finally I put my hand on Rhonda’s shoulder and she guided me in. Jeesh.
Then off we went to the ride. Usually the ride is the best part, but again, I could not catch my breath. I had very little oomph. I did make it up the hill at the start without walking, which made me feel a slight bit better, but for the rest of the ride I just slogged along. I didn’t even really enjoy the glorious sensation of riding over the water to Mercer Island, seeing all the boats and the other riders and stuff, on this beautiful sunny day.
Once we got the ride behind us, we began the “run” portion. Someday I’ll run it, but again: elderly, traditionally built, platypus feets, bad cold. So not this year. We walked. I’m a slow walker, and even slower runner, so I’m sure Rhonda was hating me for the trudging along that I was doing, but I was just without energy. And coughing. Lordy. We don’t really need BOTH lungs, right?
And then it was over, and we got our medals, and poor Rhonda had to hoof it for the shuttle because they stop running at 12:15 and it was 12:11. I sat in the shade and waited for her. Did I fail to mention that it was also a record 95 degrees in Seattle today? I drank plenty of water but I also poured plenty of it down my back, my front, under my hat, etc. And there was a girl hosing participants down (but only if they wanted her to) at about the halfway point of the run course, and I hit her up coming and going. It felt fantastic.
Then we hit a drive-thru crap-in-a-sack establishment for some hard-earned fast food, and barely made it to the hotel and through the showers before sleep overcame us.
The only part of me that is really sore at all is sort of strange: my heels, like when I walk. Maybe time for new orthotics? It’s a mystery. Oh, and it’s a little tight behind my knees. And I still can’t catch my breath, and it hurts to swallow, and I’ve lost my voice almost entirely. I’ll go to the doctor tomorrow if it’s not getting any better…
So for next year: obviously, not have a cold. Drop some of this natural insulation, and possibly even look into renting a wetsuit. Prescription goggles would be nice. And, ahem, train more.
But you know what they still call the person who finishes last in a triathlon?