Some dude almost puked on my shoes at 8:15 a.m. last Sunday morning. How does something like that happen?
My wife has the summer off, but for some reason does not possess the gene that makes her worship Oprah. So instead of watching daytime television and eating bon-bons and running to Border’s Books to pick up the latest Oprah book club recommendation and a gigante triple soy steamed low-fat, extra sugar frappalatte, she decided she needed something productive to do. I suggested converting my 80’s porn collection from VHS to DVD, but she balked at that idea. Probably not bad since hairstyles have changed a bit since then, if you know what I mean. Speaking of hair, I next suggested she could convert all my glam metal vinyl to mp3, but again she balked. I would have jumped at the opportunity to rock out to Poison, Faster Pussycat and LA Guns all summer, but apparently I’m the freak that was excited to see Sebastian Bach on my last visit to the Sunset Strip. But I digress.
After a couple days of fasting, isolation and meditation on a straw mat in the forest preserve, she decided her summer calling would be to complete a sprint triathlon. At first this invoked visions of the Iron Man Triathlons with dehydrated, broken athletes crawling across the finish line under moonlight after a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. However, event organizers realize that most people don’t have time for that shit, leading to the rise of the ever-popular sprint distance triathlon. This is typically a ½ mile swim, 15 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run, and can usually be completed within a couple hours if you lay off the donuts for a few weeks beforehand and don’t mind missing a few episodes of America’s Got Talent while training. I briefly considered playing along and signing up for one as well, but who doesn’t love a good jelly-filled donut and The Hoff? Actually, I decided to opt out because I haven’t been swimming in years and didn’t want to train at the local pool because I know the incontinent senior citizens are peeing in there during water aerobics and I don’t want to spend my spare time wading through Grandma Moses’ urine. But I digress.
Before I knew it, the house was filled with triathlon books, training logs, food diaries and various consultants for each stage of the race, but I didn’t complain because it kept her from cleaning out our closet and throwing out my assless chaps and Skid Row concert tee.
She finally picked a couple events to target and completed her first one last month. [If you want to read the details of her experience, you can do so here.] Even placed 4th out of 11 in her age group. But more importantly, she said it was more fun than spending a Sunday morning making me French toast and sausage. So much more fun that she signed up and just completed another one. Since I have nothing better to do and there’s nobody else around to make me French toast and sausage, I usually tag along as her support team. Here is a typical rundown of my activities before and during such an event:
Day Prior to Race
10 a.m. Print maps to race start, noting location of any Dairy Queens on route in case I get dehydrated watching.
Noon Drive out to location for packet pick-up and scout out the course, pointing out any opportunities to take shortcuts and places to hide performance enhancing drugs.
6 p.m. Assist in carbo loading process by reluctantly agreeing to eat pizza and drink milkshakes.
11 p.m. Force myself to go to bed so that I can get more than 4 hours sleep.
3:45 a.m. Shut off alarm, wonder why it’s going off while it’s still dark out. Way dark.
3:50 a.m. Wake up nudge from the Mrs. reminding me I agreed to be out the door by 4 a.m.
3:55 a.m. More assertive nudge from the Mrs. Stumble out of bed, find random clothes to wear, brush teeth, find keys to truck.
4:00 a.m. Walk out door, say hello to gin-soaked neighbors just getting home.
4:05 a.m. Hit the road, noting lack of any traffic whatsoever and set truck on auto-pilot while I “rest my eyes.”
4:08 a.m. Get yelled at for “resting my eyes” and agree to postpone my nap until my driving duties are complete.
5:00 a.m. Arrive at event site, directed to parking by volunteers wondering why people pay to do this.
5:15 a.m. Help unload bike and carry gear bag to transition area. Make note of location in transition area in case she is unable to finish and I need to recover bike.
5:30 a.m. Make use of Port-o-Potty before it gets warm and they start to stink.
5:45 a.m. Take pledge promising not to run beside her during transitions while dressed as Baby New Year and yelling motivational slogans.
5:50 a.m. Walk her to the bus that is apparently bound for Atlantis, filled with people wearing only swimsuits, swim caps, and goggles. Later informed that bus is merely transporting them to opposite side of the lake for beach swim.
6:00 a.m. Now alone, go back to the truck and mix myself a nice breakfast shake while listening to Sunday morning programming such as Follicle Talk on the radio.
6:25 a.m. Walk to the lake for the 6:30 start and share donuts with the other athletic supporters (I crack myself up) while we wait for our more physically fit friends or family members to crawl ashore.
6:30 a.m. Observe splashes from other side of lake indicating the presence of unruly sea monkeys or the start of the race.
6:52 a.m. Watch Mrs. F’er emerge from the murky waters of Bangs Lake and hastily wipe powdered sugar from my mouth while shouting encouragement such as, “Yay! You didn’t drown!” and “You go, girl!”
6:53 a.m. Watch exciting triathlon action as she jogs up the pier, puts on her helmet and bike shoes and rides off into the sunrise.
6:54 a.m. Walk back to the truck to recover from all the excitement and listen to Bait Beat on radio.
7:20 a.m. Observe overly skinny people beginning to arrive back on bicycle. Politely suggest that a cheeseburger wouldn’t kill them.
7:30 a.m. Take my place back at the transition area to prepare for the arrival of Mrs. F’er. Realize that I really don’t have anything to prepare for as an observer.
7:40 a.m. Watch Mrs. F’er roll over defenseless babies on her assault to the transition area, dump her helmet, change her shoes and take off again while I shout encouragement such as, “Run, Forrest, run!” and “You go, girl!”
7:45 a.m. Entertain fellow spectators with my one-man improvisation show using orange safety cones from the course as my only props.
8:00 a.m. Meet and Greet with my new fans.
8:10 a.m. Wander to the finish line to pick up scantily clad triathlete chicks that can run faster than my wife.
8:12 a.m. Knock that shit off after suddenly realizing that I can’t run faster than my wife.
8:15 a.m. Watch Mrs. F’er sprint for the finish line while I shout encouragement such as, “Baby needs a new pair of shoes!” and “You go, girl!”
8:16 a.m. Take obligatory photo at the finish line. Try to avoid capturing the fat dude in the white speedo in the shot.
8:17 a.m. Hand her a bottle containing her secret “recovery” drink. I suspect it’s just a watermelon daiquiri, but I suppose she deserves it.
8:20 a.m. She asks why people are asking for my autograph, why it looks like I’ve been slapped, and “Is that jelly on your chin?”
8:21 a.m. I try to distract her by pointing out the fat guy in the white speedo.
8:22 a.m. I get the race recap of the 1 hour and 40 minutes that I didn’t get to see.
8:30 a.m. I stand around the finish line tent while racers eat bananas, drink Gatorade and compare heart rate monitors. I feel like Hermey the Misfit Elf and search the skies for King Moonracer.
8:45 a.m. Mosey back to the transition area and help load gear back in truck.
9:05 a.m. Hit the road and dodge churchgoers who are late for service.
10:00 a.m. Arrive home and wonder why I’m already hungry for lunch.
2:00 p.m. Take nap. Watching triathlons are exhausting.
9:00 p.m. Wake up from nap. Get ready for bed.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I was standing at the finish line when a dude crosses and stops. He has that unmistakable look like he’s going to hurl. But surprisingly he doesn’t and begins walking again. Two steps later he stops and the look returns. Amazingly, he doesn’t and begins walking again. Two steps later he’s almost right in front of me and I’m suddenly dodging his street pizza at eight in the morning. Good times. Feel free to join me in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin where I’ll be debuting my new one-man show Put Your Clothes On, I’ll Buy You An Ice Cream.