What Was I Thinking (Part 4, The Y-Tri Begins and Ends)
Act One: The Pool
There were only 10 lanes so we were grouped to start at different times. I was in the 4th group so I watched 30 swimmers dive in and do that really fast stroke where they put their heads in the water and still manage to breathe. Why that move is called “the crawl” I’ll never know. Those swimmers blasted through the water, sprung out of the pool and ran outside, completely disregarding the very obvious “Do NOT Run” signs all around the pool area.
Since I don’t know how to dive and I have a rule against getting my face wet, I asked Spotter Guy if I could just jump in when it was my turn. He was busy making sure the swimmers touched the wall (so they wouldn’t get disqualified), so he didn’t waste his time giving me the incredulous judgmental look you know he wanted to give me. He just nodded. I was relieved.
My group was up. Someone yelled or a gun went off. I don’t know. I got scared and jumped into the pool. Everyone around me dove in and was ahead of me. I started side-stroking like a champ. The water was all riled up with 9 other rudely fast swimmers kicking and twirling their arms all over the place, so I had to constantly wipe the chlorinated water out of my eyes. I didn’t have goggles because goggles just make you look dorky.
How many laps = a quarter of a mile? Trick question. It didn’t matter. Spotter Guy told me to get out of the pool before I completed the quarter-mile because they needed to start the next group. “Does this disqualify me?” I was breathing pretty heavy, even though my last lap was a fairly relaxed back float.
“No,” he said as he hoisted me out of the pool, “we just assign you the maximum amount minutes for the swim.”
“Cool.” If I’d have known that, I wouldn’t have pushed so hard in the pool.
With wobbly legs, I walked while I toweled off enough to shimmy into my black stretchy shorts. Then I threw on my big red T-shirt, socks and running shoes. My sister was holding my bike.
Two: The Bike
There’s really not much to say about the bike ride. My big red T-Shirt acted like a sail, which would’ve been great had I been sailing. But I was biking. On a mountain bike. On a windy, hilly course. Against all these fast swimmers who now morphed into professional cyclists with matching racing bikes, shoes, outfits, and helmets. They were flying by me as I was pumping with my whole body while singing Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. It was a breathy rendition, but I thought it might help me keep my rhythm and head-trip some of these over-achievers.
I coasted when I could and cursed more than I should. My arms and legs were exhausted by the end of the 10 miles. So was my voice.
Act Three: The Run
My cheering squad had nothing but bad news for me. “You’re almost there, Lorn! Only a 3-mile run and you’re done!” Were they trying to make me cry? I got off my bike and thought I was standing in a puddle of wet cement. “You can do this! The hard part is over. You can run 3 miles in your sleep!” They were relentless in their jeering. I wanted to hear them say, “Good Girl, Lorna! Now let’s go get you some ice cream and a nice massage.”
Never one to disappoint, I started to run. At that point, I wasn’t thinking clearly and just followed instructions.
At the half-way mark in the run, I saw a water station. Even better, I knew the person handing out the water. “Sweet Angels of Mercy, thank you!” Not only did I stop for water, I took that opportunity to chat with New Best Friend. Everyone else was just grabbing water and barely even acknowledging her. Racers can be so self-absorbed. I wanted her to know how much I appreciated what she was doing.
“It’s been great talking with you, Lorna, but aren’t you concerned about your time?” New Best Friend really cared about me.
“Time? Oh you mean in the race? No. I just want complete it, which looks promising now that I’ve rested a bit.”
She gave me a look like Pool Spotter Guy. “Oh.”
“Well, thanks for the water and give my best to your family!” With that, I headed for the finish line.
I kind of jog-walked until the last hundred yards of the race. I figured, for appearances, that I would “finish strong.” I increased my speed to a real jog and managed a little jump over the finish line to punctuate the end of my “Y-Tri” ordeal.
Over 100 people entered the race. Only 4 people didn’t complete it. I came in 3rd to last. I beat a man in his 80s and a first grader. The operative words in that last sentence, People, were “I beat.” I finished the race and lived to tell about it. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?
~ by Lorna's Voice on October 2, 2012.