|Hopeful before the race.|
Monday, July 30, 2012
2012 Spudman Triathlon
I made a commitment several months ago to join my old chum, Paulee, on a team for the 2012 Spudman Triathlon in Burley. This was my first team effort. My assignment was simply to run a 10K after she had completed a mile swim in the Snake River and a 25 mile bike ride. I think I had the easy part!
There are a lot of logistics to contend with in a triathlon. Here is how it went down …
I drove to Twin Falls on Friday afternoon where Paulee met me for a little spiritual strengthening before we picked up our race packet in Burley. The packet included the usual t-shirts, race number, complimentary baking potatoes (It’s the Spudman!) and ever important timing chip. After racking her bike, accidentally applying chain grease to my jeans, returning to the parking lot for the plastic bag with our number that would house Paulee’s soggy wetsuit and towel after the swim, and placing her biking gear in strategic order for the transition from swim to ride, we returned to her home to visit and digest our pasta dinner. Carbo loading is one of my favorite parts of racing!
Bright and early Saturday morning Paulee said, “I didn’t sleep very well. I kept worrying about our timing chip.”
“It’s in the bag.” I replied confidently. She was more nervous than I thought!
“Okay, well, I didn’t see it, but it must be there.” What I didn’t know is that she had looked for it the night before and it wasn’t there. We looked again.
“I know it has to be there, because I saw it last night.” Where was it? “I bet it is in the truck. I saw it when I pulled our shirts out of the bag last night. Let’s go look.”
It wasn’t in the truck. Even an under the seat inspection with a flashlight failed to locate our timing chip. The chip was attached to a Velcro strap and stored in a small zipper bag. It should have been easy to locate. We deduced that it must be in the parking lot. I obviously dropped it when I was retrieving the bag for the swim equipment. We had two points of hope. First – someone may have found it and turned it in. Second – we could get another timing chip from the race director. We opted to hurry to the race start (it was 6:15am) and plead for mercy. There was ample time for pleading before the 8:00am start of Paulee’s swim heat. We hurried.
Maybe it has something to do with age. After all, we were in the 138-Over Female Team category. If they had a 150-Over category, we would have qualified for that! I only remembered stashing the timing chip in the door pocket of her truck AFTER I glanced down and spied it! We had a good laugh as we often do and headed to the race. The nervous rush of adrenaline normally reserved for the start of the race had come and gone!
My teammate is a strong swimmer. I followed the racers along the bank, trying to pick her out, but every racer was wearing an orange swim cap. I could identify men because they were large. A few swimmers did not wear wetsuits, so I eliminated them. After that, I had no clue which one she was! She finished in 20 minutes! For those who don’t know, that’s pretty fast.
I was there to cheer her on during the transition. Then I made my way back to the swim start where we would pass off the timing chip and I would begin my run. My nerves began to factor in. So did my dinner. (Runners often have tummy troubles on race day.)
I wore my Running Granny Green outfit so she could find me when she came in at the end of her ride. You can’t miss that shirt! I snatched the chip from her ankle and wrapped it around my own. Then I was off. It wasn’t a stellar run, but it sufficed. I kept thinking, “I have to keep moving. I owe it to Paulee.” I later learned that she had similar thoughts while she was competing, “I want Carol to take a trophy home!”
The trophies … we earned one! Sometimes it pays to be old. We placed first in our category. I am sure our competitors were somewhere in the Over part of the category, as were we, but I didn’t ask how far over. We proudly stayed for the awards ceremony so we could collect our trophies. Paulee mentioned an article in the newspaper that cautioned folks to be careful with their trophies as they were breakable.
We gathered our belongings and dragged our tired bodies to the truck parked across the golf course and down the street, both of us gently holding our trophies in one hand and a bag of gear in the other. We talked about the race and about getting old. We probably talked about the men in our lives. We each have only one – both of us married for years and still in love.
Fifty yards from the truck there was a loud “clunk” and a sudden lightening of the load in our trophy laden hands! That is right. We managed to knock the bases off both trophies in one fell swoop! Who else could do that?
And we laughed.
This is a testament to our friendship. We survived the adrenaline aided panic of the missing timing chip. We hoped for success more for our teammate than for ourselves. We created a disaster together and laughed about it. In the end, we had so much FUN!
And we won!