I did once…just to get it off my ‘stupid things to do’ list. If you’ve never done one, and you’re not crippled or impaired, then you should. Even though it’s stupid, it makes you feel COOL.
The first event you do in a triathlon is SWIM! I had trained for months in my local YMCA pool to get comfortable with swimming with my face in water.
I never had lessons as a child, and only knew one stroke–the Spaz Stroke. This entails keeping your face above water as you mimic the crawl (to keep water from going up your nose). I was fast at the Spaz Stroke. I beat everyone with that tricky technique (except Michael Phelps).
But my husband insisted I learn the correct way to swim. Falling prey to peer pressure, I trained and finally mastered the crawl. I was a lot slower than if I’d been left to my own spastic devices, but I felt COOL.
The day of the race, I got into the pond with hundreds of other participants. At first, to get out of the slimy seaweed that was growing near the edge, I scooted up toward the front of the crowd. Then my competitive spirit ignited, and I inched even further up so I could get a leap on the others.
The gun went off, and everyone took off. It was a little like watching sharks with chum! The water was frothing with flailing arms and legs, and the occasional choking soul (ME). All my training at the YMCA was in vain. I never got the chance to show off how well I could swim, because every time I tried, some stranger’s arm or leg beat me upside my head and made me suck in gross pond water. My life flashed before my eyes. I thought I’d drown out there in a pack of attacking arms and legs.
In desperation, I reverted to my good old Spaz Stroke. Eventually I made it to the end. I was battered and bruised, but very proud of myself for finishing the stupid swim. I’d hated every second of it, and already had determined that I would never do it again. But I was 1/3 COOL.
I dragged my tired, beat body out of the pond, then pretended I still had energy and jogged through hundreds of cheering spectators. It was nice, but all I could think was, “Please don’t look at me in this retarded swim cap.”
Later a friend told me she had seen me and snapped a picture. I didn’t know if she threatening me with blackmail or what…but I’ve avoided her since.
But I was prepared. I pulled out a brush and began working my magic. This horrified my husband. I was in a RACE. Time was ticking, and yet there I was brushing my hair and unwrapping a stick of gum. He gave me a good talking to afterward for being vain.
Girls! If you do a triathlon, don’t stop to comb your hair and apply makeup during transitions. It’s just not COOL…so I’ve been told.
I did amazing on the BIKE though. I passed dozens of people, and felt like Hercules on wheels! Each time you pass someone, your head gets bigger. I finished the bike portion with a head the size of Texas. Now I was 2/3 COOL.
I dropped my bike and started to RUN! I jogged about 100 yards and realized that I hate running. But I had made a pact with myself that I would run the whole way and not stop even if I was dying (which I was). My pace decreased. Everyone I’d passed on the bike began to pass me. Talk about demoralizing! My Texas-sized head began to deflate, but the worse was when I saw a desert tortoise pass me. I almost started bawling.
When I reached the halfway mark of the RUN, I was in a serious mind battle to keep my legs moving. This was the stupidest thing I’d ever done. But I kept plodding along, and miracle of miracles, I eventually started passing people that had passed me on the first half of the run. I slowly passed them and felt my head again pulse with Texas fire. Yeah! Take that you fast runners!
I never caught up to the tortoise! But my family was there to cheer for me at the finish line. I was officially TOTALLY COOL!
Am I glad I did my stupid triathlon? You bet. Will you ever see me in another one? No way (unless it’s doing it while juggling, like the man in the article below)! I don’t like being beat up in water, nor humiliated by tortoises! But I am glad that I have a race number and a T-shirt that proves I’m COOL! That’s what triathlons are good for! Ego.
PS–I just checked Amazon, and they have my print version of Eyes of Light discounted to $10.07 today. That’s almost the price of printing, so grab it if you’ve been wanting it!