When I first moved to Lancaster I met a guy who invited me over to his house to watch the Tour De France as I didn't yet have cable. When I got there I was appalled that the house was in disarray, his kids were running screaming, and at one point his 18 month old son was sitting on the coach next to me shoving his weiner inside into his body then watching it pop back out and giggling madly. As I ran out of there I swore that when I had kids, it would NEVER be like that. This blog is a testament to how nieve I was.
Similarly, for years I've mocked triathletes for not being particularly good cyclists, or for that matter, runners. Sirs...maddams....I apologize. Now I understand.
My weekend started early as I took Friday off. That night ended at a kids birthday party. Imagine if Chuck E Cheese went on a crystal meth bender and moved into a house made of sugar and fire alarms. That's the place my son had his birthday party. So me and my belly full of sweedish meatballs and birthday cake went home and tried to sleep. That didn't work. Finally I went down and snuck one of my wife's sleeping pills. Ahhh the pleasures of modern medicine.
At 6 am the alarm went off and discovered that nothing comes without a price. Not only was I groggy, but I came to find out that my wife's medicine is engineered to protect people from forgetting if they've already taken their medicine. They do this by filling your mouth with the taste of monkey anus ( or at least what I imagine monkey anus tastes like).
So without coffee or breakfast I grabbed my backpack and headed in to the Turkey Hill Country Classic.
The first event for me was the 5 Km run. For 12 years I have been telling people that it was a reatively flat course. I can't believe in a dozen years nobody crossed the finish line then punched me square in the face. Basically the course goes uphill for 3 miles and then downhill for the last couple of hundred yards.
The plan was to try and break 22:30 by running 7:30 miles as steady as I could.
mile 1 - 6:45. I got caught up in the first mile rush, but didn't get too nutty.
mile 2 - was the hardest mile. I got to the 2 mile mark and someone yelled to me 14:15. Oh ok, 14:15 minus the 6:45 I already ran...and I need to run in 22:30 subtracting the 14:15 and carrying the 2...and sure all I need to do is run the last mile in like 725 minutes. Wait, what ?
mile 3 - I was coming down the only downhill portion of the course and trying to NOT crap in my pants. I looked up with about 200 yards to go and saw 21:xx and got excited...yahoo I'm going to beat my goal. Then I realized that the x x was 5 9 when the number flipped over to 22:00. UH-OH. I looked at the clock...looked at the road....looked at the clock....looked at the road....the math wasn't working out too well. I lowered my head and started sprinting.
The result...22:27...and for anyone with a camera, a neat picture of a man dragging a 15 foot long line of snot across a church parking lot.
Second event of the day was the category 4 bike race.
Now I don't profess to ever being a good cyclist, but at the least I was a capable cyclist. In fact about six years ago I got 4th in the cat 3 race at Turkey Hill. So to have to bypass the 3/4 race and the 40+ race to do the category 4 race is eating a big hunk of humble pie. But I have some set goals for this season and in this case that means doing the races where I think I can cover the distance and be competative. Whatever reservations I had about doing the 4 race, I figured I could make up by just winning the 4 race.
Those ideas when right out the window a half mile in.
I was bad. Real bad. I could cruise in the field without a problem, but I had no acceleration at all. Zero. And the only thing worse than being in the cat 4 race is being in the back of the 4 race. After couple of corners, I though that I could make up for the lack of acceleration by leaving a gap and then not breaking in the corners. Unfortunately every time I left a gap, three guys would zip around me, fill the gap, then realize they were going into a corner and slam on their brakes. ( don't get me wrong I don't blame them. If I want to ride with experienced cyclist, I had my chance). Anyway in about 3 turns I found myself sitting on the back of the field and resigning myself to the fact that I was going to be having a very short day.
On the second lap we turned off the river with me in the very back of the field. I sprinted for what seemed to be a very slow eternity and then started the climb. Up we went with me trailing off the back and trying to make my way past the riders getting dropped. On the descent I caught back on. Up the next climb, the same thing....around dropped riders, then caught back on the descent. Finally, I started to come off on the third little roller and BAM. Someone who got dropped was sprinting with his head down trying to catch up and slammed right into the back of me. The guy yelped, flailed around a bit, then fell on top of me and my back wheel.
Thankfully I didn't go down, but it took whatever life I had left. I mean lets face it, I was getting dropped either way, this guy did me a favor and just got it over with. I looked back and he was rolling across the road. I stopped, did a u-turn and went back to see if he was ok. By the time I got to him he had stood up and had picked up his bike. When I got near him he did a rather magestic piroette and hurled his bike into the farm field. I did another U-turn and left him to battle his own demons.
I rode to the finished to suffer the HORD ( humiliatin of riders dropped). I ate a hot dog and ice cream and tried to be greatful for the fact that my mouth no longer tasted like monkey anus.
So anyway....what I learned today is that despite losing weight and getting "fit", I don't seem to be getting particularly any good at anything. Well at least not running or cycling. I can't run enough or do enough intervals to get under a 7 minute mile. I can't ride enough or do enough racing to even finish a cat 4 race.
And the only thing I can say about the swimming is that I haven't drowned...yet.
So I soaked my sorrows in a few beers and a dozen wings and I'll start all over again tomorrow.