Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My First Triathlon: The Night before the Race

Of course it rained the night before the triathlon. It hasn't rained in a while; I lost count of the days since the last real rainstorm. But you know, I was willing to suffer through a very humid day just to have a little rain.

Honestly I couldn't believe I was waking up at 5:45 am just for a race. I had to wake up that early because of the rivers in Tennessee, and because of the lake. Old Hickory Lake is right around the corner, really, but because of the rivers and the hills and all these things, it took me about 45 minutes to drive there. If you live in Salt Lake City, it would be the equivalent of driving to Provo. Right? And then I'd be complaining about the mountains.

I guess it's too much to ask that they build a bridge that spans the lake. Then I could have driven right across the lake and made it to Hendersonville in fifteen or twenty minutes. I'm just lazy really. If that extra sleep had been very important to me, I could have gotten a room at the Holiday Inn Express.

The night before the race, I drove, really quick (or so I thought. It wasn't really quick. The entire trip took about an hour and a half), up to the race start to get my packet. Plus I was nervous and had some questions. And I thought I'd see the course. But it took longer than I thought it would take to get there, so it was already dark. I got my packet and for some reason, was embarrassed to be number 440 in a race with only 450 people.

I had told them my swim time would be 30 minutes. How was I to know? I left room for error. In reality, the swim ended up taking me 14 minutes, if you can believe it. It's rough I know, but just be glad I actually finished the swim. It's one thing to swim all relaxed in a pool, or leisurely in a lake, and quite another to be in a race. I couldn't breathe. So that was why I was 440 and also why it took me 14 minutes to finish the swim.

One of the race organizers was standing near the shirt table and I had some questions for her. But I couldn't remember them. So she stood there, awkwardly, and I muttered about the bike area, something about water bottles. Really self-explanatory questions, but I'd forgotten my real questions.

All I really wanted was reassurance that everything would be ok. The race organizer just stared at me like I was insane, and she was there to talk me off a ledge. Wondering, probably, why the hell she was standing there. It was one of those moments where you realize, later, that the person was clearly mentally working out how to get out of this one. Like, "Ok, casually take a step backward. Find the doorknob behind your back. Turn the knob. Carefully pull the door towards you. Take another step backward. Smile, duck out of the room. Close the door. (sigh) We're safe."

She was nice and tried to answer my questions, even though they weren't phrased as questions. I couldn't be any clearer, however, because I didn't know what I was asking. On the entire drive home I regretted having been so lame. If only I had been calm. A picture of coolness. I hoped I'd never see her again, and if I did that it be upon accepting my first place award (one hopes, doesn't one? Against all odds).

I went home and Stoker made me dinner. He wasn't going to be able to go with me, and in some ways, I was glad. I didn't want him to see me looking like a moron, you know, should I wipe out horribly or drown. But, I also wished he was going to be there with me.

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