Right after Jeff and I started dating, he and his roommate Peter had signed up to do a triathlon. Jeff asked me to come and watch him in the race, which was in Columbia, MO, about 2 hours from St. Louis. My very nice friend Kristin, being very nice, said that she would come with me, since we were going to have to spend the night near Columbia as the race started early in the morning. And since we were all poor graduate students, we figured we would camp. Kristin and I didn't get to leave St. Louis until 8 or 8:30, which meant we didn't get to Columbia until quite late. Thankfully, the boys had already set up the tents. Kristin and I got to sleep in the large spacious 4-person tent, while Jeff and Pete snuggled in the little 2-man one. That night was probably the loudest thunder storm I have ever camped in. It rained, the wind blew, and thunder was crashing all around us. No one got very much sleep, and then we got up and Pete made a fire before we went off to the starting line around 6. We got there and then bought some breakfast at the grocery store and tried to stay dry. It was still pouring rain, but neither Kristin nor I had brought a jacket. On our way to the race, we stopped at a Walmart and bought the ugliest windbreaker/jackets I have ever seen. They had only big sizes, so the jackets were huge on us, reflective silver on the top and black on the bottom. And they weren't actually water proof, more like slighty water resistant. When we got to where the race started, they had decided to postpone the start hoping for the weather to clear. It didn't, and so then ended up doing only the swim and running portions. Kristin and I spent most of the morning cold and wet.
What amazed me most was that I had been expecting the people at this race to all be incredibly fit, elite-looking athletes. They weren't. Well, some were, but there were young people, old people, fat people, and normal looking people who probably don't go out and run 20 miles just for fun. In other words, people more or less like me. Ever since then, I have wanted to do a triathlon, mostly just to prove to myself that I could, and have been telling people of this desire. Which of course means that now I definitely have to, or I'll just seem like a wuss. I could be one of the those average looking people doing my best to finish. I finally have my chance. Several of my med school classmates (mostly who are exceedingly fit and probably do run 20 miles just for fun before playing a good game of basketball) decided they wanted to do a triathlon down at Parris Island, and then a bunch more people all got excited about it. Without much contemplation, I just went ahead and signed up. Now, however, many of those who originally got excited about it didn't sign up, so racing will be me and all my super fit classmates. Oh well. Today I did my first trial practice triathlon. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but my legs are seriously tired. I really wonder how it's going to go in 2 weeks when I do the real thing. It will probably be fun no matter what happens, but I don't want to finish dead last. Of course I couldn't wait and make sure some slower people signed up before I paid. But I am finally following through on my desire to do a triathlon. And what does this pride cost me? $57 dollars, to be exact.