Passing the sixth or seventh fist-sized snail, the only contenders I would indeed overtake all afternoon, I started to assume the entire race was probably the set for a German impressionist film. Just long shots of the rain, cut with ominous close-ups of the giant snails as a metaphor for my various try-hard faces.
The slow started here. The hand says, “COUNT THIS LAP I’M NOT DOING EXTRA.”
Everyone took great pains not to get wet before the start of… an event that requires getting wet and staying that way for the duration. (Rain is clearly a different wet than swimming pool. It’s all about intentionality.) We hunkered in the various tents at the finish line to listen to the safety briefing, which to me sounds like,”Well, I hope you can pay attention to the yellow arrow signs, because that’s the only help you’re going to get out there.”
A combination of setting up in the rain and some very sage sock shaming contributed to a very pared down transition area. Shoes, bib, gel in my helmet for just-in-case, cover it all with Ryan’s slicker, the end.
The rain had let up by the time the swim waves started, though the sun didn’t follow, and it didn’t make the slightest difference in the temperature. I didn’t dare check then, but it looks like it was about 65 degrees, and if the pool water wasn’t about the same…
In the wave before mine, a giant, muscle dude got in his lane and hollered like it was Sparta.
It was cold enough that it took a while to swim without your shivering body trying to gasp while your face was in the water. The other time I gasped during the swim was when I was touching the wall at the end of my 8th (of 15) laps, and people were GETTING OUT. DONE.
Okay, I didn’t gasp. I said, “Jesus.” And started asking the lane monitors how many laps they had me at. At the end of what I thought was my 11th, one guy said I had “600” left — which had me at nine? OH NO. It might have been a translation thing, because when I came back the other monitor said “150m left.” So maybe not 600, but six lengths?
Who cares when you’re the last one in the pool.
Good. Get out, you’re all making waves and splashes.
My transitions were definitely faster. Minus what felt like a really diva move of wiping the rain off my “sun” glasses, I shook out my helmet, put on my no-sock shoes, and tried to run out. That’s one bit you never practice, but should — running with your bike.
The ride was pretty pleasant, it didn’t feel as cold, even wet, after the half-mile hill straight out of the gate. The course arrows were just far enough apart to make me panic about six times on the first lap, but I was busier being careful on the wet road to be too particular.
Probably anyone that starts as a runner feels like it’s over by the time you get to the last leg. That leg has the smallest margin for humiliation at least. Minus another really dismaying hill right out of transition, it was a straight-forward, two-lap 5k. Even though at this point I KNEW I was nearly last, I FELT good. It wasn’t hard. I didn’t hurt. Laying down would have been easier, but running was fine — even when it started raining again.
I do offer to go alone to these things, standing around for a three-second go at “spectating” while most of it is just waiting, isn’t a fair request. Though, at least at Frankie’s age now, there’s lots of people to look at, a lot of chances to practice clapping, and usually new playgrounds next to the start. She was a champion all day (as was Ryan, of course.)
But I went as fast as my legs would move, hustling to get my spectating crew out of the wet.
And then, it was done. My second triathlon! This time, I was listed as part of the Tri Club I’ve been training with, and they were really kind to include my slow time and general ineptitude — AND cheer when I eventually crossed the finish line. It was fun, this being part of a team.
The After. We hurried to clear out the staging area so the kids’ race after us could set up. Awesome. Maybe Frankie will think that sounds like fun someday.
In the meantime — yay, team!
(Results: delayed on account of the giant German World Cup win, I’m sure. I FORGOT my fancy new Garmin, FORGOT to put my computer back on my bike, and I only have the vague notion that it took me 2:00:00 based on Ryan’s photos. 750m/25k/5k.)