Yesterday was the Mightymight Triathalon in Forrest City, AK. The race consisted of a 1/3-mile swim, 13-mile bike ride, and 3 mile run. Having never participated in a race like this, I had no idea of what to expect. Fortunately, people who have vast amounts of knowledge about these kinds of things, and are freely willing to share their knowledge, in exchange for my knowledge of binge eating and nap taking, surround me. Had I had thought about it ahead of time, I probably could have guessed that there is a learning curve to participating in triathlons, but I didn’t . So like everything else, I had to learn the hard way.
My first awakening came when Coach Von and I cruised to the Tunica Aquatic Center to work on our swimming. Being that I can still remember walking my fat*ss from our house to the East Memphis Catholic Club, wearing nothing but a Speedo and holding a towel, when I was probably 8 years old, for swim practice, I was confident that my swim team skills had remained in tact for the past 25-30 years. I decided that I was going to silently impress Von with my maritime like qualities. During our inaugural warm up lap, I took off like a shot from a gun. I was amazing. I could sense the envy leaking out of Von’s goggles as he flailed behind me. I continued to flex my aquatic muscle halfway across the pool until I realized that …I WAS F*CKING DYING. 25meters into my display of amphibious superiority, I realized that every muscle in my body was screaming in pain, and my organs felt like they were in a sandwich steamer. At the end of the 50meters, Von and I shared a look as if exiting a nuclear fallout shelter, as if to say “what in f*ck have we gotten ourselves in to”, and we also had a good laugh. We graciously accepted our aquatic inadequacies and decided to start trying to get a little better, one lap at a time.
The second sign of being in uncharted territory came when I opened my tri-suit and decided to slap that baby around my beautifully constructed body of cake. As I stepped into the first leg, it seemed a little snug, but I still had a long way to go. When sliding my big meaty arm through the arm hole, it began to feel like a bit of a liability. I decided to complete the tri-suit fitting by dipping, twisting, and grunting my opposite arm into the other hole. The only thing lacking was the zipper. A couple of jumps, curse words, a wiggling imitation of a dog peeing on an electric fence, a small seizure, and I was in my tri-suit. I looked in the mirror and WHOAHHHH! I saw nothing but man tits and a moose knuckle. My love handles looked like a high price accessory, where I could store my running shoes and a sack lunch. It was so tight that my boobs made conical shapes, like I was a back up dancer for Madonna’s 1990s Blond Ambition Tour. Getting the thing off was an entirely different animal. On top of being dangerously close to having an anxiety attack, I could not help but visualize having to call the fire department to cut me out of this godd*amn suit. Beefcake has had finer moments. Quite a few members of my CrossFit family are either firefighters or nurses. While these people have accepted me, and are sensitive of my insecurities, this would have removed ALL bets from the table. I would have never lived it down. I immediately googled, ”how tight is a tri-suit supposed to be”. The first response that I came across read, “my wife said that you should not be able to tell what religion you are”….A larger suit was purchased.
Race day got here and all was well. The swim was a stagger start, so each person started individually with about 10 seconds before the next in line. It was grueling, but my only concern was finishing, as I had left my ego back in Byhalia. Upon making it out of the water and onto the concrete boat ramp, I literally staggered 2 steps to the left and 1 to the right, as disoriented and unbalanced as a Tyson victim. I casually made it to my bike, and decided it would be acceptable to take a piss in my tri-suit (had I been born with foresight, it would have been a better idea to piss in the water, as opposed to 2 minutes after exiting). Urinating in my tri-suit was not the best decision in the world, but certainly not the worst. At the moment, signing up for a f*cking triathlon was seeming to top my lifelong list of dumb*ss decisions.
The bike ride went really well. It was interesting to see how my mind operates as it pertains to competition. For the 4 individuals that I passed (two of which had flat tires) , I would think to myself, “I trained harder and was more prepared”. However when someone else passed me, I ALWAYS had an excuse. When it was a 20 year old man passing me, I would think, “he is young, that’s why”, when it was a 30 year old man, I thought “he has a better bike”, when a 40 year old woman, I said “she does this for a living and has plenty of time”, a 50year old, “he has been doing this for years” 60 year old, “he is retired and has nothing else to do”, the 70 year old, I simply mumbled, “old muther f*cker”, and when the 13 year old kid in a black speedo whizzed past me, and encouraged me to keep it up, I simply thought, “little bastard”.
By the time I got to the running portion of the race, my energy level was pretty good, but my feet and calves hurt like hell. It took me a mile and half before I could comfortably run. I REALLY enjoyed the jog, although it was slow. I was, of course, crying a little and getting emotional. My primary observation throughout, not only the run, but also the bike, is that PEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY GOOD AND SUPPORTIVE. There were so many people sitting on tailgates, in lawn chairs, and on front porches cheering us through. I could not help but think about my grandpa when I passed a gentleman sitting on his porch, and he had set up a hose that was spraying a misting curtain onto the street for us to run through. It was refreshing, but not as refreshing as his smile and the wave of encouragement. I believe that people naturally want to see others do well and triumph. I made it a point to give a nod, a smile, a fist pump, or a thank you to every person who was on the side of the road. I think it is easy to put on the tough guy face, and pretend that you do not notice the onlookers, but I think that they deserve to know that they are helping others as well. Everyone likes to feel important, and everyone is. The people of Forrest City are special, and they made me feel equally as special. I think that is one of the few things I need to be happy, is just to be supported, and made to feel special.
The end of the race was a wonderful feeling. My finish time was 1hour 47 minutes. I choose to be nothing short of elated about my time. I do not really know what is “good” or “bad”, but I am working on focusing on the positive. As my friend Katie Brown says, I am #betterthanyesterday, and that ain’t no sh*t. I look forward to continuing to train and get better. I want to get better at swimming, biking, running, friending, loving, listening, and parenting and the Mightymite was a small step in the right direction. #Betterthanyesterday.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related.