Cold. Wet. Hungry.
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The 5th annual Alpha Delta Pi-athlon was a short but sweet race held on March 24th in the cold rain in Murfreesboro, TN. (300m/16k/5k) On any other day, I would have enjoyed a cold, rainy Sunday morning. Those mornings are perfect for grabbing coffee and catching up with a good book or magazine that I get too busy to read during the week. This particular morning, however, I found myself, standing outside in the drizzle, later full on rain, with blue goose-bumped skin trying to quell the inner monologue that went something like this:
Me: Turn the car around. Go home.
Me: No, I’ve trained and I’m going to do this.
Me: It’s in the 40’s and raining, idiot, turn this train around and go home.
Me: I can do it. They give out medals at the end. I want one!
Me: I’ll buy you one online, now get in the car and go home.
I came close to following up on the advice given me by the negative voice in my head, but decided instead to treat it like an episode of Survivor and muddle through the best I could. People climb mountains and boat solo around the world so I figured I could make this happen.
The swim went by super fast. I came within a millimeter of getting kicked in the face, but managed to avoid that. I know the day will come in which that will probably happen, but I didn’t need to add insult to the list of imaginary injuries I had compiled while inwardly whining about the weather. Running out of the MTSU swim complex in a wet tri suit wasn’t great and I wondered if the spectators were inspired by us or if they were thinking we definitely drank the Kool-Aid somewhere along the way and should maybe take up a different hobby.
T1 took me a bit of time. Having watched the weather forecast closely the previous week, I hit the cold-weather clearance sale at Sun & Ski on Saturday for gloves and a jacket to throw on for the bike ride. I ended up leaving the gloves behind, not because I’m some sort of bad ass who can bike in the cold rain without them, but because I couldn’t get them onto my wet hands and ended up cursing and throwing them after struggling for an entire minute to get one only halfway on. The rain really settled in during the bike portion of my race. Rain came in every direction. It fell from the sky. It spat sideways at us from the cars (the roads were not closed for the race) and it shot up from the tires, which were kicking up water and dirt. My entire body was soaked and my feet went numb at some point during bike, but I actually had fun and went as all out as I could, safely, given the poor road conditions.
About halfway through the course, I saw a woman with a coffee cup in hand watching the racers from her front porch. I could see smoke coming from the chimney of her house and it did cross my mind that having coffee and a chat by her fireplace may be more fun than what I was doing, but my inner monologue had taken on a more positive tone, so I didn’t stop to bum some coffee and warmth. My favorite part of the bike was the chachki cemetery we passed along the course. I’d never seen anything like it and wished that I had a camera to document the two acres (approx.) of strategically placed fake flowers, lawn gnomes, wheelbarrows and farm equipment turned art pieces. Amazing.
T2 took me about a 3rd of the time T1 did. I just wanted to be out of the weather at that point. I can honestly say that I couldn’t feel my feet for the first third of the run. The rain had stopped at this point, but it was hard to avoid the puddles of water on the course. I just wanted to finish. I was cold, wet and pretty hungry so I cruised across the finish line, thankful to have made it through the first race of the year. My time was 1:24. I figure that my time will improve in the future with better conditions. Happy Tri-ing!