Monday, August 18, 2008

Tri, Tri, Again

Here it is blogger friends, family, and stalker-non-commenter-readers. Here is my take on the Georgia Veterans Park Triathlon experience. As the athletes (I like including myself in that title) gathered at the water's edge in the minutes before the start time, the race director gave instructions on how the swim would begin in waves. There would be a start at two minutes until eight for the one physically challenged athlete (he biked on a recumbant trike that was pedaled by hand and used a wheelchair in the run--I can't imagine how much courage it took for him to attempt the swim), then the first wave consisting of the youngest men. My friend, Josh, was in the first wave (age 27). My brother, Keith, and I were in the 3rd wave. Then there were two waves of women. Two funny things happened during this time. The second was that when the horn blew for the handicapped athlete to begin, two others took off with him. They did not seem to notice that nobody else was swimming. They were very, very fast. One of them completed the swim in 4:56. I was just reaching the first bouy in 4:56! I am not saying this guy could beat Michael Phelps but he might beat some of the olympic swimmers. Of course, he was already disqualified. I know it is backwards to give you the first funny thing second, but it leads into the rest of the story. The first funny thing was that after the race director gave instructions to all but two of the competitors (maybe the yellow rubber caps were too tight on their ears), he was filling time by being charming. "How many first-timers?" he asked. Lots of hands. "How many have been competing in triathlons more than 25 years?" Only a couple of hands--mostly, I think because the question caught them off guard and some were doing the math. I joked to my brother that we could raise our hands because we did a triathlon together at Oak Mountain in....well, I don't remember what year that was--but probably more than 25 years ago. So, we have not been continuously doing them 25 years, but more like once every 25 years. I decided that was how I would present a few pictures. The first hilarious picture is of me emerging from the water after a half-mile-swim-near-death experience at Oak Mountain state park enough years ago that I still had dark hair and beard. Same belly, shorter swimsuit. Back then, everybody went into a makeshift changing area made by putting up two-by-fours and nailing tarp to it to change clothes between race segments. Now folks come out of the water and jump into shoes already clipped to bike pedals and take off.

I have no idea who the old lady is that thinks it is sooo funny that I can not swim and the "rescue canoes" followed me to shore. Question; How WOULD they have pulled me into that canoe?
That picture is not funny enough for you? Well, the second one is as funny as it gets. Warning to my kids and brother--steal this photo and have fun with it at your own peril!

I would like to point out that I was being a good samaritan and picking up equipment left by others. That is what I would like, but the truth is I thought I was going to drown last year--really. So I called for a life preserver. This is the picture of a sad, defeated man.
But there was redemption (of sorts) this year.

The second old guy in this picture is me. I like this picture for several reasons. 1) I am not carrying a life preserver. 2) There are still people in the water (although they started much later than I did). 3) There is a man that started with me just right THERE--I could almost touch him.

After putting on a show for my many fans (hi, mom--hi, LaWanna--hi, Samantha and Josh's parents) it ocurred to me that the sensors that registered the signal from our anklet was just up the shore and if I ran through this shallow water ahead of that old guy, I would beat at least one person from my wave. See ya grandpa!

The triathlon was lots of fun. After finishing, I had the feelings I always have--elation from finishing, satisfaction of doing the best I could at the time, and frustration with not training more, harder, sooner. And so it goes. For one hour and 46 minutes I feel that I am doing all I can do and almost as soon as it is over, I am sure I could have done better. That is part of why I do these things. Also, the opportunity to be amazed at what young strong athletes can do and the thrill of seeing older--much older--athletes finish strong reaffirms that we were created to test our bodies and our bodies reward us for the effort.

I wonder if Michael Phelps will be available for swim lessons?


kwishum said...

Good post. And great job in the triathlon! Cutting 16 minutes off your time from last year is quite an accomplishment - especially with everything else you have going on.

I'm glad that "quit" isn't in your vocabulary.

Kathryn said...

That is awesome!
It almost makes me want to try it. Almost. ;)

BabyJ20 said...

I love my Daddy!! And I'm proud of all three of you!! Nice job guys!!

Anonymous said...

I am soooo incredibly PROUD!!!!

Lerra said...

That first picture looks so much like Mark!

Congratulations - a triathlon is a HUGE accomplishment!

Jamey said...

You go!

Love the pictures that accompany the story! I think you look more exhausted in the younger one...

Hilary said...

Congratulations on successfully finishing the triathlon!!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

I just laughed out loud. thats awesome.

JSM said...

Hooray Roxy.. you GO!!