My first grader’s eyes bugged out of her red, wet-curl-framed face and she gave up a cry that was more of a scream, as the wind squeaked loose her grip on the plastic handle of her inside out umbrella.
My 20-month-old son snotted green slugs and pulled at my non-umbrella-retrieving arm, arching with his entire being for those bright orange cones all lined up in a row.
For a moment I loosened my jaw from the streaky Go, Dad! poster, considering whether I knew any words that would calm and gather the cheerleaders under my raincoat.
Luckily that’s about when Daddy rounded the bend, finishing his first triathlon.
Back when he was in eleventh grade Ivan and his brother and sister were all on swim team. I went to one of the meets and stood next to Rev. Herman for the 100 yd backstroke event. He clapped and smiled, even as the distance in body lengths between Ivan and the next slowest swimmer opened up to 3, 4…5. “Good exercise, Ivan! Good exercise.” Inside he was thinking, Bless his heart.
And now I’m embarking on my own Good Exercise–I mean, my first triathlon! Tomorrow. Yikes. Every time I mention it or even type it on the computer my hands and feet get sweaty. Old school sweaty, like I’m 8 and I’m clonking up to the piano in church shoes to play my recital piece.
I tried out a few sports as a kid: soccer, tennis, volleyball, but never stuck with anything for more than one season. Freshman year in college I joined club lacrosse just to see what badass felt like. I’m sure I looked like an idiot but I felt pretty good, hanging with the girlz at practice, faking the “I’m gonna break your teeth” attitude until it felt, well, almost real.
Anyway last year I got jealous of all the me-time Ivan had created for himself to train for his event.
Also I needed birth control. A friend of mine got surprise preggers with her third kid and I went a little weird for a while, thinking I Want Another Baby Too (but of course I really don’t). Hence, an activity that would remind me how great it is to have an in-shape body and not one that’s all stretched out and sore from babymaking.
Also…I wanted a way to connect with where I live now. It’s been three years since we moved to Sacramento. Before this, Ivan had a job at a church in Memphis that couldn’t afford an associate pastor anymore and had to let him go after just two years. I felt yanked out of that community before I really had a chance to put down roots. For one thing, we were just getting to know some of the hipster parents.
Bike riding and outdoor sports are, like, a thing here in California. Just like:
- Smoking a pork butt with an awesome dry rub in Memphis (did it)
- Attending a Senate committee hearing in Washington on North Korea’s nuclear reprocessing (check)
- Yelling “Show your shoes!” to the Duchess of Divine Rainbows in San Antonio’s Battle of Flowers parade (who could miss that?)
When I live in a place, I mean to be part of that place.
So, triathlon it is. I’ve trained, sort of. It’s been a lot of good me-time.
If you’re so inclined, please pray with me that I don’t get lost in the pond, crash my bike, or bonk–this is a technical term used in racing–during the run. I’ll post pictures and results after.