September 13, 2004 - 12:54 pmTHE SPOILS OF FOOLISH PRIDE
Well, we survived the triathlon. And we werenít even last.
The swim was, not surprisingly, the most difficult part. As Art Vandalay so aptly put it: The sea was angry that day, my friends Ė angry like an old man sending back soup in a deli. And truly it was. I swear to god I thought it was going to swallow me whole.
There were three buoys set up 50 yards from shore, each 200 yards apart. I was maybe halfway out to the first buoy when my little doubting voice said gently, ďWhat the HELL do you think you are doing? You CANíT SWIM! Go back NOW before you DIE!Ē But my little voices of pride and vanity and I decided that it would be preferable to die at sea than face the shame of turning back, so we all pressed on. Sometimes I question the judgment of my advisors. At the second buoy, I swallowed some of that pride, along with a good bit of sea water, and asked one of the lifeguard volunteers in a sea kayak if heíd give me a lift to the next buoy, but he just laughed and said something I couldnít hear above my coughing. I think he felt bad, though, because he paddled along beside me the rest of the way. Or maybe that was because I was last? Iím sure I looked funny, so maybe he was just getting a kick out of watching me. When the guy in the life jacket passed me, I knew it was time to put it in high gear. So I thrashed around a lot, but didnít really move much. My neck is sore today from straining it above the waves in a desperate attempt at survival.
I made up some time while biking, though. My mountain bike with street tires was just fine, thank you very much. Iím not really a coordinated rider, however, and cracked myself up for a good half mile after running off the road and nearly crashing into some volunteers while trying to grab a cup of water like you see the coolest bikers do. It was even funnier the second time.
The running was by far my strongest area, and I really picked up the pace toward the end of the race. I even passed an old guy with rickets. I canít be sure, but I think he was the same guy in the life jacket who paddled by me so smugly before. Bastard. I showed his rickets ass who was boss.
There was one girl I noticed who finished around the same time I did. She ended up getting really sick and hallucinating. If she werenít so ill it would have been kind of funny because she was screaming about god using her body as a vessel and something about her daddy and asking if we believe in god. The EMT guys had to wrestle with her to get her in the ambulance and then they had to strap her down. You know sheís going to be really embarrassed when she wakes up and finds out what she did. I know I always am.
Since neither of us qualified for a medal with our time, Julie and I decided there should be more categories, sort of like Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant, so more people would get medals. Here are a few ideas we came up with based on some people we saw:
1. Reddest Face
I was aiming for a time of 2 hours and finished in 1 hour and 57 minutes, so overall I was proud of myself, despite my pitiful failure as a swimmer. Iím planning another one in May in Tybee Island, and my new goal is 1 hour and 30 minutes. Iíll be the one with the overdeveloped neck and shoulders from swimming so much.
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