Thursday, June 09, 2005

My first triathlon . . . Tri-it-on

Man what a welcome Posted by Hello

Have you ever been in a state of mind where you were able to live an event before it actually happened?

Some people call it ESP, some call it deja-voo, espN even, and a few of you, you know who you are, think you've actually lived this life before. OK.

I had that experience, not living this life before I don't think, but the whole deja-voo thing just before my first triathlon. Let me tell you, what an experience.

It is 3:30 AM the morning of my race. WAIT!!! STOP RIGHT THERE!!! I need to clarify, HA! Race!! Oh man, I'm killing myself here! OK, done.

It is 3:30 AM the morning of my . . . a lot of other people's race, and my attempt at not losing control of one of 2 or 5 bodily functions, which I came to find was quite difficult. I woke in a startled, wide-eyed, looking around the room kinda way. You know, as if I really had to go to the bathroom, or someone was knocking on my front door.

I didn't have to go to the bathroom. I was at my Dad's house in Birmingham and the place was as quiet as could be. So what in the heck woke me so abruptly? I laid there. There were no sounds at all, we were in the guest room in the basement. Let me again clarify. My Stepmother would be horrified if anyone thought she had a guest room in the basement. Their basement is the equivalent of the nicest part of my house and that ain't shabby, but it is quiet.

For me, there is nothing worse that total silence. I enjoy peace and quiet, but not dead silence, this was that. As I drifted back into my sleep, my subconscious or whatever, began to reveal a dream I must have been having and that I was slowly drifting back into. It was a weird experience. I seemed to be half awake and half asleep, but I was able to recount this dream much better in this state of mind.

Then suddenly I began to, in my sub-conscious, remember this dream. And I continued to move forward in the dream as I was remembering the beginning of it. Go with me here.

The sun had been up for a couple hours. I had a difficult time sleeping so I went ahead and awoke and began prepping for the day that laid ahead. I went through my beginner triathlete check list. Filled my water bottles. Bodygluide, helmet, swim cap. check, check, check.

Amanda was still sound asleep, she would hate for me to say it, but this is my blog not hers. She was doing that cute little Amanda snore that doesn't really know if it is a snore or just heavy breathing so it comes out as both.

I pace around the down stairs, eat a power bar and begin to psych myself out . . . I mean up! "OK, who cares if you're 250 pounds heavier than the next person." I thought gingerly. "So what if you are going to wear your neon blue Bermuda swimsuit and you know all the other people are gonna be wearing slim tight fitting spando thingys." I was more trying to support myself than psych myself up.

Thank goodness Dad came down the stairs because another 15 minutes of that and I would have talked myself right out of it. "Well, you ready?" Dad asked with a big ole grin. Ok, maybe he didn't have to come down if he was just gonna ask that. "Yea, I think so, we'll see." I couldn't have been more confident!

We're in the car, Amanda is giving me sweet inspiration, I'm pissed because we're running a little behind. I snapped at her at least 3 times, she just continued to smile.

What happens next, you may have a difficult time with, but the story has to be told to show my emotional shape as I began my FIRST triathlon.

As we drove up to the event site in Birmingham at First Sports. I began to see hordes of people. I began to feel sick at my stomach questioning everything about myself and then I caught a shot of one of the posters this small child was carrying while walking with his Mom.

It was a large white poster board with the words "Fat Guys" and it had the universal "NO" sign through it, you know the RED circle with the RED line through it.

What the . . . ! I don't think Amanda saw it.

We found a parking spot. I sat for a second wondering what in the world I could be thinking and then headed to the transition area. I unloaded the bike threw my bag over my shoulder and began the trek up to the area for marking and as I was not 5 feet from my vehicle I heard a voice say, "That's him, that's the guy." it came from around the corner of this big RV, so I made sure I turned to corner to see who they were talking about. I didn't know if there was a celebrity guest participant or what.


They were talking about me. The giggles gave it away as I looked in their direction.

What the . . . !

Amanda was beginning to catch on to the surroundings and pointed out a poster sign that said "No Fat Guys in our TRI!" Her eyes were as big around as I have ever seen them as she turned slowly and made me aware of it. "Is that a joke?" she asked.

Remember, I play Rugby too, that would be a typical thing at a rugby match, but there are several, SEVERAL, fatties on a rugby team. Again, not as fat as me, but a few are close. You need the extra push'n in the scrum.

I told her I wasn't sure what was going on and assured her that EVERY ONE I had spoken to that participates in triathlons has been very supportive and we pressed on.

As if a bullet had been shot from a rifle and hit me square between the eyes, it hit me. As I entered the actual transition area the entire group became dead silent. Remember what I said about peace and quite VS dead silence? This was dead silence.

I looked around at them. I know I had the look of a sullen child lost in a Macy's Department store looking for my Mom.

They just stared. I could feel the eyes on me. It felt like weights on my body. I was becoming weak by their stares.


I heard a voice from the other side of the guest area.


I looked around for my wife! She was as dazed and confused as I was. We gave each other that look of bewilderment and our eyebrows both curved up in astonishment at the same time.

"GET OUT OF HERE!" The voices began to multiply and the stares turned into glares.

Amanda was being engulfed by the swarm of people beginning to chat in unison.

"NO FAT GUYS!" Again "NO FAT GUYS!" Over and over and over.

Amanda was screaming my name but, all I could see of her were her tiny hands sticking through the mass of screeching faces!

I had no where to go. I fought them off. I punched, I kicked, I even jumped on top of a van and ran to Amanda as she pushed her way into the clear.

But they were fast. Come on, they are triathletes for goodness sakes, I didn't stand a chance.

I gave in. I threw down my bag. I threw up my hands. I gave them the look of death and . . .

I spat in their general direction!

AND I SAID . . .


You may think that this was one of the worst things that could happen to a guy? I don't know? I don't. I think it was the BEST thing that could have happened to me.

Because it was the only thing that woke me up in time to get my wife out of bed in her clothes and get us rushing out of the door because the race was starting in 20 minutes!!!!!!

If it weren't for that horrible dream, I may have slept through the race! That will teach me not to bring my own alarm clock!

The good news is that the event could not have been more supportive. The participants were motivating and supportive. The race was very tough, but I managed to hold my cookies (sort of) and I finished to a wealth of applause and cheers!

It is a great sport with great people and I am so glad I woke up.

Fat Man Tri-ing


Mark Smith said...

Roadtrip, Great story. I need to get back in shape too, so if you need a training partner or just some support, let me know.

Cheers, Mark Smith

tarheeltri said...

Great post and awesome pic... Can't stop laughingat it!