Thursday, September 11, 2008

There is no Tri, only do or do not... (September 11)

To mark the passing of a year of recovery, my friend Ken convinced me to do a triathlon. I was hesitant, since the run concerned me. However, I tried out a little "jogging" (if you can call it that) and found that I could manage a couple of miles. So - I signed up for a sprint triathlon: 1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run in Hyannis, MA.

Tropical Storm Hanna approaches...

My friend Steve's parents live down near the Cape, and he has run this particular triathlon for the last 10 years. He invited us down to stay over night for a 7 am race start. Ah, the best laid plans. We didn't get out of Boston until 8:30 pm. Gridlock traffic from construction and an overturned vehicle choked up I93 South, so we detoured on Dorchester Ave for a lovely tour of Boston's innards. We didn't arrive at Steve's parents in Falmouth until 10:30. After socializing with parents, we got to bed close to midnight. We knew that parking was bad for the race, and we had a 25 minute drive. This led to a 5 am wakeup. Even at 5, there was no update on the website.

Approaching the parking lot, we saw the stream of cars leaving. "Race canceled." Whitecaps on the water with waves lapping up on the shore. An overnight shower had soaked the road and left puddles. Makes sense that they canceled. So, we went out to breakfast and talked about how hardcore we were. ("I would swim in that water.") Thus, the first leg of the triathlon (omelets and hash browns) was completed.

Back in Boston, Melissa's parents were visiting. I had never taken the Sam Adams Brewery tour, and we decided to go. It was not all that enlightening (we just wanted to taste the beer). The beer jokes were definitely aimed at the college crowd. We had a small glass of three different brews, and the second leg of the triathlon was over.

We had planned to go out to dinner with Ken to celebrate the triathlon. I didn't feel like going, but Melissa convinced me that it would be fun anyway. I was speechless when I realized the surprise. Friends from out of state, from college and from Outward Bound showed up to celebrate my recovery. I even received a trophy! What a wonderful surprise and support from friends. Ah yes, the third leg of the triathlon, replete with dessert on the house.

All in all a lovely day, but then I had to earn the trophy. The next day, Ken and I did a 50+ mile bike, a mile swim and a 2 mile trail run (dark by this time - we ran with headlamps). Some other friends, Erin and Sarai, having a football party, sent us off and also cheered us at the end with a toilet paper finish line. A little more private, and a fantastic celebration of recovery. The truth is, running probably won't be in the cards in the future. With restricted ankle motion, too much impact is transmitted to my knee. Still, considering what might have been, this was a fine alternative and a fine milestone.

5 comments:

Jason said...

It's simply amazing that after a year you are able to do this all in one day...I mean omelets and hashbrowns, beers and then a party with dessert. Do you think you could share your training schedule with me?! What did you wear? Could you post your heart rate info? How about transitions? You must have finished in the top of your age grade!

Seriously though Mark, what an amazing year. Bummer about the race, but glad to see you made it out there the next day, for a good stout workout. Who could have imagined it would even be possible. I actually find the training is way more enjoyable than the actual race. I look forward to a swim, bike, (you pick)... run ... omelet...beer with you sometime soon.

Bob said...

Awesome work my friend, it is incredible that you are able to walk let alone participate in any of these events. Way to salvage the tri as well!
Bob G.

Nathan said...

I have been waiting all week for this post, and it did not disappoint. Still grinnin' ...

kat said...

That sounds like a sweet triathalon!

I think the most I've done is 35 miles on a bike. Dang. I've been meaning to call you back, bro. but work got in the way. I'll give you a call tonight.

Bones said...

Mark, this post makes me so happy. Congratulations...