Want to lose those pesky pounds and inches without breaking a sweat. I know how NOT to do it. It’s called a triathlon.
It all started when Son One called and asked if I was interested in doing an Iron Man Triathlon. Because I’m not entirely certifiable, I immediately said, “No.”
“Okay,” quoth he. “How about a HALF Iron Man.
I deliberated for 1.39 seconds and said, “Nope.”
“All right then, what say you to an Olympic length tri?”
And here’s where I began to weaken. See…I’ve always liked titles. New York Times best seller, for instance, has a nice ring to it. Valedictorian slides nicely off the tongue. But…and follow my logic here…I’ve achieved neither of those lofty challenges. So TRIATHALETE seemed like a nice little notch in my belt. I mean, come on, you have to admit, it has a sweet ring to it. Right?
So, as you’ve already probably guessed, I acquiesced to the idea of an Olympic length tri. How bad could it be? I believe I actually said those words at one point. It was probably one evening in the dead of winter while I was sitting on the couch watching Castle and sipping hot chocolate. But now, after completing my first, and let’s be honest here, very probably my LAST, triathlon, I can tell you, it was bad.
Let me just run through the schedule with you.
Numero Uno: Swimming! I like to swim. Hell, I can float forever and I’m not too bad at dog paddling, not as good as a labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Dog or anything. But I’m all right. But…a mile you say? I have to swim a mile? Well, okay. All right. I mean, I can probably do that if the conditions are decent i.e. it’s not too windy or deep or cold or… What say? Lake Rebecca is at 61 degrees?? Ummm….that’s a full 30 degrees nippier than I like my water to be. But ahh, all right.
Numero Dos? Biking! Biking’s fun right? I mean…tooling along through the countryside, not a care in the world. And 24 miles isn’t that far…in a car. And, oh my lucky stars…I HAVE a bike. True, I bought it 29 years ago, shortly after I got married. But I still HAVE it and fortunately, I’ve hardly ever used it. So… that’s got to be a good sign.
Numero—oh who am I kidding? I don’t speak Spanish…I barely speak the king’s English. Number 3: Running! Seriously, I can run. Just the other day I ran to the mailbox and back. Well…I mean…not ALL the way back. But part of the way back.
So…yes indeedy friends, I signed up for the Olympic length Liberty Triathlon. That was back in…I don’t know…one of those months when I spent too much time on the couch watching my waist measurements slip into the triple digits. Why not, thought I…I have months and months to condition. And I did. I even got a gym membership…for 60 days. After that, of course, the weather would be conducive to exercising outside. Or so I told myself. But as spring rolled around, so did more snow…tons of snow, yards of snow. True, the nasty temperatures and snotty percipitation probably had next to nothing to do with my training, or the lack thereof, but it didn’t help any either. Ergo, when race day arrived I may have been a little less than totally ready.
Still, I am nothing if not determined and CHEAP! See, I paid for the tri back in December while sitting on the aforementioned couch. So heaven help us, I was going to do it. And I did.
True, the save-me boats were circling like vultures while I swam; I was pretty sure I would die of affixation long before I got a chance to drown. (Which didn’t seem like such a bad fate while I was dog-paddling my way to anonymity.)
When I finally schlepped out of the water and toddled up the roped off corridor to the bike corral, I was so disoriented I was literally bouncing off one rope onto the other. And you know what’s really great? Biking when you’re wet and cold and so dizzy you can’t quite see straight. That was the worst part. My jaw seized up because of…well, because of something. Shock or cold or my body’s desperate plea for me to stop being a dumb ass. But did I stop? No, I did not. Because after the first fifteen minutes or so of biking I could swallow again. And then all I had to do was peddle 19 more miles and run 6. And by that time I had invested so much into it that stupid competition that stopping would have been tantamount to high treason.
There was a lot of self talk during those last few miles. A lot of “I’m not a quitter. I do what I say I’ll do.” Etc. And the people along the way were great. Both the athletes and the volunteers. There were dozens of people yelling, “You’re doing great!!” when clearly, I was NOT doing great. Unless ‘great’ involves stumbling along like a drunken sailor mumbling, “I finish what I start. I finish what I start.”
So…I did finish the race and I got the t-shirt to show for it. Also, okay, I DID lose those pesky pounds and inches. But there WAS sweat. Lots and lots of sweat, plus a fair amount of humiliation and enough aching muscles to convince me that honestly, lying on the couch hour after hour isn’t such a terrible idea.
So…what about you? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done this summer?
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