"like a chiwawa in a pit-bull fight"
4:00 AM came early! But, was welcomed.
After a brief “warm-up” shower, I gave Amanda a little whisper to wake up and get the others up for me.
Terry, my father in law is still repairing and fixing our house and Thad, my little brother and his fiancée, Camille are here to see me in my third, yes I said it, my 3rd triathlon!!
As I was loading my bike onto the rack I became worried. You see, last night I had to switch the wheels from my Trek to this one. Why? Since you asked, I did this because after attempting to change the tubes on my Special ed (specialized) bike and I pinched both tubes and then found out there was a pin hole in the rear tire. Woo Hoo!
After consultation form a fellow tri-friend and club member of BRtri, I switched the tires out and said a short prayer.
Well, this morning I couldn’t help but think of all the things that could go wrong with this switch a roo.
We met up at GW and Doggie’s house at 4:45 AM and off we go! Gw, Doggie, Bashfull (one of the cutest children I have met) and Pat’o in one vehicle, Neal, Will (Jocko the Rocko we will address that later), and Reagan in one vehicle, a sleeping Amanda, Terry, Thad, and Camille in my vehicle. AND WE’RE OFF!
The reason I’m sharing detailed information about the individuals traveling with and participating in this event as members of the BRtri Club is essential for my story.
You see this is my first tri in Louisiana and amongst my new friends. As cool as I try and play it, I am nervous as a chiwawa in a pit-bull fight!!!
But I don’t think I ever let on to the fact that I was so nervous.
Once we arrived in Opelousas I became a bit more jittery. I hope this feeling one day goes away, however before each race (this being my third) I have become nauseous. This morning I had a snickers because I didn’t want to feel as I did in my two previous races, but heck, next time I’m going to stop off and have a waffle with Nipps since it doesn’t seem to matter, I feel sick no matter what is in my stomach.
I unload my bike and the first person I see is JLO!!! My nemesis of the Yam City Triathlon!!!! JLO challenged me on our BRtri forum. She said she was going to kick my butt, even though I’m a fatty she is still older. (Those are more my words than hers, she didn’t use “fatty” for her descriptive wording) When I saw her I wanted to belt out an “I’m gone kick your butt” kind of statement, but a simple, “Hey” is all I could muster up. She smiled and said hi to me.
Then I saw Michael Pate. I was really excited to see him.
I was told about Mike (as I call him) by an http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/default.asp
member and went to his website, which I posted above.
I was so inspired by Mike. You see, before I saw his site, I thought it would be months and many many pounds lost before I should even think about attempting a triathlon. After emailing Mike and reading about him, that is when I decided to do my first tri.
Thanks Mike. You are a big part of my life change.
Mike and I chatted a bit and I became completely endeared to him. I made a friend for life. The funny thing was when he relayed to me that he had been called Chris on several occasions that morning!!!
He is a good-looking guy.
As the race start came closer I began to shrug off some of my jitters and even mustered up a shot at JLO. It went something like, “HEY! JLO” and when she looked up, “YOU’RE MINE!” she laughed, which was appropriate since she cleaned the track with my face! But, I didn’t feel so bad; she whipped a lot of other people too.
Congrats JLO. One day . . . One day.
As I slipped on my, once again “signature” bright blue Bermuda swim trunks and put in my earplugs, I realized I wasn’t nervous anymore????? I think it is the power of the shorts. It must be. Amanda and I decide that even when I have lost the 201 lbs. I am shooting for, I will still wear these swim trunks.
My friend Will (Jocko) was 4th in the swim start. This means he is SUPER FAST!!! Or, as he relayed to us standing in line, he just wrote down a number someone from the LSU swim team gave him. I wonder if he regrets that today?
I was 47 and Neal was 48 just behind me. I was sort of nervous again, since I had a feeling I was ahead of my skill level too (NOT SAYING WILL WAS!!!) and I didn’t want to embarrass myself.
About mid way through the swim I was feeling pretty good. I felt Neal on my butt and felt bad, but then I noticed we were both right on top of the person in front of me. This is no disrespect to that individual because we all have our good and bad days, but . . .
IT SURE FELT GOOD!!!!
I went to pass him on the left and all of the sudden Neal passes him on the right! WOOSH!!! We both fly by him. Then Neal goes on to fly through the remainder of the swim, leaving me in his wake, literally.
I semi jogged to the transition. I got through the transition fairly well and off I went.
It was nice to see Doggie and Vanilla with his children there at the bike start. But, that soon turned to embarrassment when I couldn’t get my darn shoes to clip in!!! I almost ran a poor woman off the road and while I was trying to apologize I almost ran into the curb and off into the grass and who knows where I would have ended up.
I got my wits about me and finally clipped in.
Now. I have an idea for the name of next years Yam City Triathlon.
YAM CITY-ROAD KILL TRIATHLON!!!!
I am sure I was the only one that had this problem since I was the only one on the flattest course in triathlon history to have my head buried in my chest trying to make my pedals move! I couldn’t believe I was struggling on the course. When I say flat, I mean play hockey on it, flat or glass flat. But, here I was head down chugging away!
Road kill on a highway is expected, obviously. When I tell you that I hit every one of them, I am not lying. I needed to lift my head so I could see 10 feet in front of me, but I was beat and then BUMP BUMP~! BUMP BUMP!
Crap, I hit another one!
I may take it upon myself next year to go out the day before the race with a shovel. I think that I could save a minute or maybe to in the race if I wouldn’t have missed one or two of the thirty road kill speed bumps out there!!!!
But, I was still having fun!!!
The roads were awesome. Smooth, not hot from the sun yet, almost perfect. Then we hit the frontage road for about 2 miles. My wrist hurt as I am writing this because of that stretch of the course. The only good news about that portion of the course was that I was only passed by about 3 or 4 people as opposed to the rest of the course where I was passed about every minute and a half.
I SEE IT!!! THE FINISH OF THE BIKE!!!!
After a few brief photo opportunities, which I am known for, it was down to business.
I waddled to my spot, hung my bike on the rack, which later I think pissed GW off. I think I let it fall in her way?
Then I went to the task of getting ready for the run. Oh boy. Now, let me explain. As I am changing shoes, taking off my helmet, all that jive, in my mind, I am moving at the speed of light!!!
When we watched it on the handy cam last night . . . HA!!!!! You would have thought the race was over and I was winding down getting ready to eat the Jambalaya they had prepared for us!!! I was moving like pond water!!
GW, came in about a minute after me and was gone about 3 minutes before me!
THEN IT HAPPENED! My one “dumb-dumb” act of the race. I jump up glasses going on and . . .
“Oh Crap” you hear through the TV as we watched the recording. Then you hear a small giggle from the individual recording the episode, my wife Amanda.
I put on my running shorts . . . Forgot to take off my cycling shorts!
After a quick re-change I was off to the run.
I decided before the race I was going to do my spurt running. This is where I pick out a telephone pole and then another down 50 yards or so. I start running as hard as I can at the first one and stop and walk after the second. Then I do it again after 100 yards or so.
At about the 1 mile mark I noticed I was in a familiar neighborhood. Then I recognized a home that I have been in a few times as one of my clients home, Harold!
I have never seen this look on a volunteer’s face before. She couldn’t believe what was transpiring before her very eyes.
I ran into his yard, rang his doorbell and said hello!
He was happy to see me, and then off I went.
Harold and his wife are absolutely wonderful people and I was glad to share that moment with him.
I caught up to Mike Pate about 200 yards later and he was having a problem with his left calf. It was cramping pretty bad on him.
DO NO GET ME WRONG, I was in no way slacking up or kicking his butt or anything like that, but I made a decision to stick with him and finish together. He adopted my spurt running and before you know it, we were coming to the last turn before the finish.
I have been telling everyone how motivating this sport is. I have been telling everyone how awesome the people in this sport have been, I have been telling everyone the friendships I have made since adventuring into the world of triathlons.
This is where my explanations are put into examples.
As Mike and I cam around that corner, I saw a bunch of skinny, muscular, men and women in orange and blue tri uniforms standing there. I don’t have prescription sunglasses so at first I wasn’t sure what was going on, but it came to me quickly as a I heard my name.
“Come on Chris! Yea, Chris!”
It was the BRtri club members who had participated in the Yam City Tri and also those who came to see the race. They were all about 150 yards from the finish and they were waiting to cheer me on.
If I weren’t such a macho-man . . .
I felt such a strong feeling of acceptance and caring. It didn’t matter how fat I was at that moment. It didn’t matter that I worry so much about how people perceive me and my obesity. I don’t think anything mattered at that moment. I had two thoughts:
I want to run in with Mike.
I want to run in hard.
The two didn’t coincide with one another.
Mike told me to go ahead.
What transpired next is so funny!
As I was gasping for air, running as hard as I could at the moment and JLO was screaming at me to suck it up! I was trying to motivate Mike. HA!!!!!
It was this feeble attempt at a bad sports movie like Rocky XII or something where his corner is yelling at him to keep fighting!!!! YOU CAN DO IT ROCKY!!!!
I am yelling back at Mike, “Come on man, don’t stop running on me!” I sound like a bad sports script! All the while I am close to passing out.
And need I mention that during this, JLO is basically running backwards yelling at me to kick it up a notch!!
Oh, what a moment!!! Oh how I laughed when watching the recording, oh how I laughed.
I will work on my inspirational, motivational, and empowering finishing quotes for the future. But, you have to remember one thing here. This was a first for me.
My goal coming into the race was one thing.
NOT TO FINISH LAST.
Thank you all.
Thank you Doggie, I heard you in the swim. I like the road-dog name, can I keep it?
Thank you Vanilla for reminding me not to stop too frequently for photo those opportunities.
Thank you JLO, for making my race slightly competitive, even though I knew I had no chance, even if you are old enough to be my Mom.
Thank you, to all of the people passing me on the bike like I was standing still. Your words of encouragement were awesome and needed, sadly.
Thank you family for waking so early for something that gave you no benefit.
Thanks to the entire BRtri club. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!! I am so proud to be associated with such a cool group of people.
As I sat there on the cooler holding my purple socks that I had won as a door prize, I thought about the day.
I am a lucky person. But, I think so many of you can be as lucky as me.
It may not me triathlons. It may be just a walk around the block or not eating fast food for a month. What ever it is, you can be as lucky as I feel today. It only takes one thing.
Reach out to those around you. Tell them your goals. Make yourself accountable to them. Start a Blog. Write down you goals. Then . . .
You will be amazed. I want you to succeed. I know how miserable you are. I know how you feel when your pants wont button with out the jaws of life assisting you. I know how you feel in public. I know how intimidated you are by healthy looking people. I know how you cry at times in despair. I know what you are thinking when you’re hungry right after you have just eaten Chinese Buffet!!! I KNOW!!! I KNOW!!!!
I also know how I feel today. You can do it! I will do what ever I can to help you, but try out your own family. Your own friends. Make new friends if yours won’t help you.
I am still one big fat, sloppy dude. I see it in the mirror everyday. I see it in the video from the race just yesterday. I am only about 25 pounds lighter than I was 6 weeks ago. I don’t look any different in my own eyes, even though Amanda tells me she sees weight loss. It doesn’t matter, because I still see a big fat, sloppy guy.
But, one thing has changed. One thing that makes me smile.
I am doing something about it and people know that and they are taking time to invest in my success. I am asking for help on occasion, but for the most part they are volunteering their help and motivation.
It will take a long time for me to lose 210 lbs (185 now) and I screw up daily. Just now I had an iced Mocha and ham and cheese croissant. I am pissed at myself, but I will make it up on the run tomorrow. I will run an extra mile.
6 weeks ago, I couldn’t run 25 feet. I am not exaggerating. 25 feet!
YOU CAN DO IT!
Finally, to address my goal . . .
My goal for the Yam City Tri was . . . Not to finish last.
Doggie went to the times and found my time.
He came to me and told me there were only 124 times posted so far.
I was 120. I WAS 120!!!
I was . . . 120.