The Nation's Triathlon Claws its way Beneath the Memorial Bridge
Yesterday, we lined the rivers and roads joining the Lean, the Toned, and the Chicklet-Toothed whooping it up at the Washington DC Triathlon at 7 AM on Sunday 9/13.
Agog by the horrible purity, health, and beauty of the spectators and wishing I had a) not led a life so utterly rent by profligacy and sun damage, b)thought I would look "rakishly outdoorsy" with my hair this way, and/or c) could climb into my own naso-labial folds and hide.
Weirdly Nice Legs
But,blinded as I may have been by the gloss of hair and eye all around us, B (who is damned glossy himself) and I yelled "Go! Go! Go!" and beamed encouragement to the friends and utter strangers who made up the 7,000 people between the ages of 18 and 67 who swam the Potomac beneath the benevolent bulk of the Lincoln Memorial, leaping out of the river like salmon unzipping their wetsuits to bike 24 miles, slaloming through curves, glittering like herring schools in their alien-headed helmet as they all scythed through the Washington Monument loop. Then leaping off, running in, by the thousands! stashing bikes, changing shoes, and running the last six miles in a big generous loop that thoughfully toured the Smithsonian Castle, the Mall, the Reflecting Pool all under the dying elms and autumn oaks, smashing acorns that smell like earth now that it's September in Washington.
Heading out for the run, the last leg (In many ways. You can imagine.), people were setting off through the gate, chewing open Goo packets, gnawing oranges rind and all, sometimes just jogging along eating bananas bouncing along with the draped peel gently slapping their wrists. Some were trying to make their legs "stop doing 'bike'" and "start doing 'run';" some were really striding out of the gate, strong as big animals striding, upright like hood ornaments, and one guy plugged by taking tiny tiny shuffling steps and called out to the throng lining the road: "This is the only gear I've got. This is it. I'm in High," and away he went.
Every day has its ups and downs. Hearing him, I felt like even I could muscle out a triathlon, even though I have a hard time finishing a 5K right now and swimming in the Potomac only makes me think of words like "decomposition," "typhoid", and "missing teen." Poco a poco and a journey of a thousand miles, but it's hard not to panic. It is a fine thing to know your gear and love it.