*Props to anyone who gets the reference in that post title.
Like a triathlon, this post requires endurance. I promise it's worth it to get to the end.
Having successfully swum, biked and run as much as I could in the past two weeks, I woke up this morning pumped to complete the triathlon I'd registered for two weeks ago. I knew it wasn't the best idea I'd ever had -- doing a triathlon on only two weeks of training -- but my primary goal was to finish. Sure, I would have loved to have beat my time from last year, but finishing seemed like the smarter priority.
Well, the first thing that went wrong was my contacts. I had gone to see my optometrist on Monday because I needed new contacts, and he talked me into trying disposable (as in wear once and then dispose) contacts because I wear them so infrequently. He gave me 10 pairs to try out, and I tried them out twice this week. Of course today was the day one decided to malfunction by rolling all the way to the top of my eye rather than staying put. As my friend Currer Bell said, I was a tricyclops.
Then, when we got to the aquatics center where the swim portion was being held, we discovered that the swim would be held in the outdoor pool, despite the fact that the informational e-mail said the indoor pool and despite the fact that the National Weather Service said it was between 44 and 49 degrees. We stood out on the outdoor pool deck in our bathing suits -- in 44- to 49-degree weather -- for 30 minutes before jumping into a pool that was probably not much warmer than the air.
I survived the swim (mainly because motion = warmer body) and got on the bike. Lovely, I love being on my bike and was very familiar with most of the course as it's one of the places I do my long training rides. Except that I hadn't really scoped out the end of the circuit (on which we did two laps). Yeah, HILL OF DEATH. DEATH!! Don't take my word for it, though. Take the gmap pedometer elevation map of the hill's word for it:
HILL OF DEATH, it ain't messin' around.
So, I did make it up the HILL OF DEATH twice thanks to help from my bike's lowest gear, which meant it was time for the run. I actually ended up running more of this bit than I expected, which is to say I was able to run down the hills and in the flat areas. But the first chunk of the course was super-hill, so I ended up walking everything that was uphill. The nice thing was the last mile or so was fairly flat, so I was able to run that. Until I was about a third of a mile away and running on a sidewalk where I caught my toe in a groove on the sidewalk (I'm nothing if not ungraceful). And I fell hard. Fortunately I fell into grass, so I didn't hurt anything but my pride, which after 400 meters of swimming, 6 miles of biking and about 2.7 miles of running was enough to have me in tears. Which is not good when you need more oxygen than you usually require to function.
I got back up and started running again, gasping for every breath and tears fogging my sunglasses. I stumbled up the last hill and across the finish line, into the arms of the Modern Love Machine, who took photographic evidence of myself in this state (I'll delete those the first chance I get.)
So yeah, I survived, despite the universe's best efforts. I haven't seen my official chip time, but the MLM has estimated it at somewhere around an hour 20 minutes, which isn't fast by any means, but it's good enough for this race.
Oh, and then a few hours later the Modern Love Machine asked me to marry him. And I said yes. (duh)**
And the contact stuck at the top of my eye popped back out after I took a shower. So yay for that too.
**Another story for another post.