Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My First Triathlon: Pre-Race

I had a lot of questions. Questions like, "So, I guess people don't change their clothes for a sprint triathlon?" And the answer to that is, no, they don't. The next question is about what to wear for someone who doesn't own a two piece tri suit, because I didn't want to wear one of my regular practice swim suits, full body, like what they wore in the 50s at the all girls school.

So I wore a pair of my Nike dri-fit running shorts. And then I wondered if I should wear underwear with them. And then I wished I had a pair of Under Armour underwear, or even Patagonia wicking underwear. It really makes a difference what you wear.

I arrived at the main staging area for the race and there was mass confusion. I had to pick up a timing chip and I had to get my body written on by someone using a magic marker. They call that body marking and it's probably the best part. It makes you feel official, and you secretly wish you could walk around all day after the race, wearing clothes that reveal your new temporary tattoos. Even though you hope it'd be apparent that you'd just done a triathlon, you realize, "No wait, I might look like a prisoner or an internment camp escapee."

The triathlon is made up of two groups of people. People like me who are uncool and unworthy, and people like the pro-wannabes, who make people like me feel really uncool. I suppose this is how all races are. There's the determined-to-rule group, and the group that's determined to finish. The determined-to-rule group is really difficult to stomach because they run around looking all fit and muscular, wearing all the right attire, and their bikes take up the entire bike transition area. They spread their gear out on a towel and have it placed just so. And everyone else is supposed to work around them, and should one of these young gods walk by or anything, onlookers are expected to genuflect or prostrate themselves on the ground and perhaps offer them a fig or something. Incense. Myrrh. That kind of thing.

As confused as I was, those of the determined-to-rule group should just be glad I didn’t put my bike shoes and helmet on their huge clean white towel. That would have gone over well. Don't you just want to say to the pro-wannabes something like, "Hey! You guys are built on us! We're the middle class! Without us the races wouldn't make enough money to support people like you!" Something like that. I don't know if it's true, really. But it seems like it is.

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