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  Monday, October 23, 2017  
 
19 August 2001
Tri Again

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Let me start by saying that I'm so proud of Libby. She completed her first triathlon ever, and smoked it. She runs more than me and has for a while, but she hadn't swam in years or ridden her bike in a year. Our friends, Curt and Sheila Iiams--in the picture, watched Luke AND competed as a team so that Libby and I could participate. Very kind. Here's how it went.

The distances were to be 1/2-mile swim, 8.6-mile bike and 6.2-mile run. The setting was scenic Hull, MA. It's a cool little peninsula on the south shore looking right out into the Atlantic Ocean.

They loaded us all onto a ferry to take us the 1/2-mile out into the ocean where they would drop us and EVERYONE would swim to a common start line anchored by buoys. This drop off was not exactly as advertised. They had everyone jump ten feet from the boat into the 62-degree FREEZING water (later recognized as terribly unsafe by the race officials). Libby had no wetsuit and I had a short surfer's suit. I was immediately in shock wanting out. My goggles fogged over, and I swam for the starting line.

After ten minutes of swimming, I was no closer to the starting line than when I entered the water, and some strong swimmers were saying the same thing. The current was carrying us away. Not being a strong swimmer, I was scared. The masses were all flailing about going nowhere. Out of nowhere they sounded the starting horn, and everyone bolted for shore.

That was great for those who could swim. I blindly turned towards what I thought was the end goal and sidestroked, backstroked, breaststroked, and occassionally did the front crawl. I couldn't see anything through my goggles. I swallowed a gallon of saltwater and got kicked in the head. I was pretty sure I was going to die without much notice.

I made progress, but I was not encouraged when my arms were so cold then so tired that I couldn't even get them out of the water to backstroke. Surprisingly, I was not the last one out of the water. Poor souls.

This time, the bike was rather uneventful. I learned shortly into the ride that part of the tune-up procedure is to grease the seat pole. They reset mine 1/2 inch too high. I've got some things to learn.

I caught up with Libby around mile six...to give you some idea how far ahead of me she came out of the swim. I never could really shake her, though.

We came out of the bike transition together and kissed Luke on the way by. We ran together briefly, but we run differently so I went ahead. I said, "I gotta go on, but you'll catch me later." I was right. She stayed close the whole way and came up at about mile five. I was dying, and she was obviously having a lot of fun.

I barely squeezed out, "I don't know if I can just LET you beat me." She responded with, "You don't know about the lightning round?" I was way too tired to argue with her. She was going so smoothly, but I just had to push it out. I finished slightly ahead of her, but she won.

She enjoyed the event greatly. I was too tired to pack the car so I soaked my head in the frigid ocean. A reporter for the Boston Globe interviewed her and another mother with the babies. Got pictures taken. Made friends.

Libby finished 8th in the women's group and 85th overall--teams included. I finished. I realized shortly after the run that I haven't run that far in over five years. I've got some things to learn.

All in all, it was a frightening and enjoyable event spent with family and friends.

 

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