The path to COOL–Triathlons

IMG_6667Have you ever done a triathlon?

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.

IMG_6670I 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.

IMG_6677In 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.

IMG_6681I jogged to my bike and threw my shorts and shirt on, and yanked that hideous cap off my head.  I was a mess.  Nasty water had seeped into my swim cap and my hair was disgusting.

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!

31 thoughts on “The path to COOL–Triathlons

  1. I have a new respect for you Char! I don’t think I could handle this! The water part would be the worst for me. Biking, yes, maybe some lighting jogging, but that swim thing — not so much. Congrats!

    • Yeah, the water was awful…I won’t lie. I think that’s the part that keeps most people from trying to do a triathlon. At least my water was warm…although very pond mucky. My husband has done several where he was in about 56 degree water with a partial wet suit and yet he was still frozen. I couldn’t do that.

  2. You have impressed me yet again! I’ve never done a Triathlon and never will (that whole “slimy seaweed” thing you mentioned just doesn’t do it for me 🙂 ), but I have great respect for those who do. Way to go!

    • Yes, the slime in the pond didn’t excite me. When I’d gone a few days before to check it out, I just thought, “Oh, what a beautiful pond to swim in.” When I was actually IN it, I didn’t think it was so beautiful anymore, and hoped that I wouldn’t die of some foul disease I picked up from it. I tried hard not to breathe the whole time (which is very hard to do with aerobic exercises…especially when you keep getting kicked and accidentally breathe in a mouth full of water). But I haven’t died yet. I’m not taking any more chances though. I’m already COOL, and don’t ever have to do another triathlon to prove it. I got my shirt. What else could I possibly need?

  3. Wow, good for you! And sorry, but even after reading about your exciting adventure, I’d never take part in a triathlon! I can’t run and my back won’t let me so that part is out of the question. And did you know you can catch flesh eating disease swimming in a pond? Yuck! 😉

    • Yes, I’ve been afraid of my flesh starting to fall off. If I’d seen how gross the pond was before the race, I probably would have chickened out. But it looked fine until I actually got in it. By then, peer pressure wouldn’t let me back out; I figured if I died, so were hundreds of other people. But no! I don’t want to do that again, and every time I drive by that pond, I shudder.

  4. You lost me at having to swim through pond water—Yuck! It sounds too much like nasty Midwestern lake water—brown with slimy gunk under your feet. Yech. I’ll happily ride a bike and maybe jog a bit, but that swimming part would be my downfall!

    • It’s everyone’s downfall. Even my husband, who is a good swimmer, has trouble in that mass swimming start. I wasn’t kidding about all the beating you take, but I guess it did help take my mind off the pond guck.

  5. Amazing that you completed the triathalon! Wow. Love all the prep work you did for it too! . 🙂

    • Yeah, it’s shocking that I did it, truthfully. I’m not the ‘race’ type of girl, and felt very subpar compared to all the true athletes out there. But I finished, and was pretty proud of that.

  6. You are so cool, Char! I’ve never done a triathalon, and don’t know that I will. I love swimming–but prefer it in a pool, with lane lines, and without people kicking me in the face. And the biking and running, yeah, I’m not so great at those.

    • Stick with the pool. I kind of enjoyed swimming without feet in my mouth…and a myriad of pond germs I’m sure I swallowed. It was a cool feeling finishing…but I’m definitely not addicted. My favorite sport is sitting on my couch with my laptop writing.

  7. You get points just for training yourself to swim properly. I think that in itself takes guts. I would be horrible at a race because I’m not really athletically inclined. I know how to swim, bike, and run, but I don’t enjoy doing any of them competitively. However, I’m sure the spirit of the race would overtake my yen for leisure and I’d be like you–determined to at least finish. Good job!

    • I’m definitely not the crazy athlete type either…but I do get very competitive (which is a pain, truthfully). I wish I was motivated now to still go swim, but I hate being in a swimsuit in public, so don’t (since there is nothing pressing me to do so now).

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  9. Dear Char, I am highly impressed. I would never do a tri. Not because of the swim. Although I despise swimming. And not because of the running. Yes I abhor running. No I won’t do it because of the people. There are way too many of them in those races. I will however be glad to go on a bike ride or two with only you this fall. And you can leave me in your dust. Everyone around here does. Especially on the hills.

    • No fear of me leaving you in my dust. Hills make me nervous and I ride my brakes the whole way down, and suffer lung annihilation on the way up. My favorite rides are nice and easy ones on the greenbelt where it is paved and I’m not scared of falling. Riding up to Lucky Peak dam is a good challenge and workout.Or we can just zip along by BSU; I love the paths there.

  10. Well Done!! That’s just amazing! i could never do that (have heart issue) so i always admire people who can 😉 Good on you for giving your all!

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