Hello confessional fans! Here’s my very first guest post by my little sister, Mary Jo. She told me the story of her first “tri” in a while, and I made her share it with you all. While her experience was funny, I just want to say that I am VERY PROUD of her for “tri-ing” her best and doing a great job!
After the first of the year I decided to set some goals for myself throughout the year, including 3 triathlons this season and running the Sawtooth Relay. That being said, I have developed a steady, but not rigorous weekly fitness regimen. I run 2 days a week, spin 2 days a week and go to boot camp 2 days a week; however I have not trained swimming-wise for these events.
This first sprint tri of the season is not exactly a “real” triathlon, since the swim is the night before in the pool at the YMCA. Nonetheless, I wanted to jump in and see what I could do. I have not swam laps since last June, but I managed to do pretty well based on years of excessive swimming as child.
I felt good about the swim and went home to get ready for the next morning. I thought that I had it all down–shoes, bikes shoes, bike tuned, water bottle, wicking layer., etc. The next morning it was raining/snowing, so I left at the latest I possibly could so as not to stand outside for a long time before the race. As I walked to the registration table and start line, I realize the “etc.” I spoke of earlier was my helmet. I didn’t have it. There was no one that could bring me one in time before the race started since I had waited so long. I approached the YMCA head lady at the registration table, who seemed pretty stressed out. (Sidenote: same head lady from a St Patty’s 10K Race 2 weeks prior, still stressed- thinking it may not be the right profession for her…)
I walked up and said, “I sure you get this all the time, but I forgot my helmet.” She looked up at me, and responded in deadpan, “No, we don’t actually.” Me: “Well I forgot my helmet, so you can help me find one or I am going to ride without a helmet?”
Out of nowhere this extremely energetic man jumped over to the registration table and yells, “YOU HAVE TO WEAR A HELMET, YOU CAN’T NOT WEAR A HELMET, WAIT HERE! I WILL GET YOU A HELMET!”
He hopped like a monkey onto, yes I am not kidding, a short yellow school bus…he hopped off the bus, put a kayaking helmet on the table and yelled, “JUST WEAR THIS!” and bounded away.
It was not lost on me that I was about to wear a kayaking helmet that came from a short bus. For a triathlon. But then I went to put it on, and it was too small. And it had a canvas bill. Awesome.
Trying to rise above the situation, I tried to focus on the race but it was cold. The only other warm layer I had is a puffy vest. I didn’t care, so I put on and walked up to the start line.
As I mentioned, we were all pretty great swimmers growing up so I had a good time for my swim split and had to move myself toward the front of the start line. I found myself among all these “real” athletes, because obviously having the best gear and looking good constitutes being a “real athlete”. I started to trot up to the front line with my small kayaking helmet and puffy vest, finding it hard to get through the crowd to where I needed to be. I kept trying to get through, saying “excuse me, excuse me” and being met with friction. It dawned on me that I might be being stereotyped for my outfit?? All these people with their matching triathlon unisuits and $5000 aerodynamic helmets could not imagine that this short bus helmet-wearing, bike cop-looking Oompa Loompa was going to start before them.
I finally forged my way to the front, ignoring the “What is she doing?” snickers from the crowd. My name was called and I began my race ahead of the “real” athletes. They can all suck it as far as I am concerned. Although they pretty much all smoked me within in the first mile of the bike, I will always be faster than them in the swim.
It is the little victories that count sometimes. Being able to embrace who you are with laughter and adapt to the challenges that come your way is the best strategy.
I do have photographic evidence of this event; however, I do love my sister and would like to continue having a relationship with her, so I will leave it out. All I have to say is: Bib 281. Check it out. 😉