First I have to say I am so proud of my hubby, Jesse. He is one of the most kind, patient and loving people I have ever known. I am so lucky to call him my hubby. Since we have been together, Jesse has wanted to do a triathlon. Every year, for the past um… let’s say decade, I have heard how we would like to participate in one. This past summer he brought it up again, and I responded with, “just go for it” and he did. Jesse actually looked it up and saw Tempe was having a triathlon in the upcoming couple months and started with some self training. I was a little worried, with him doing it just because his knee had once again dislocated, and he really shouldn’t be running on concrete. He signed up for the Super Sprint which is the smallest of the three races, so that lessoned the worry. At least that is what I kept telling myself, and no it did not help me sleep at night.
What is a triathlon
A triathlon is a race consisting of swimming first, then biking and finishing with running. It is a timed event including, which is what I learned, transition time. Transition time is the time it takes you to move from each of the three events, whether that includes, grabbing a drink, toweling off, getting your gear, changing, or just moving between the events. The pros don’t waste any time, and we will come back to that thought. So within this triathlon there were 3 different distances to chose from.
- Super Sprint
Olympic being the obvious largest and most enduring. Sprint is the middle and Super Sprint is the shortest of the three. From there participants are separated and zoned into waves. They do this by age, distance category, and whether you are doing a buddy race, rally or similar situation. A wave is your groups designated time to start the triathlon.
So I don’t want to bore you with all the details, but I did find it interesting that there are rules and regulations that are enforced and penalized with a reduction in time. You would think people, let alone adults would not cheat, but apparently the rules are there for necessity.
The best part of this, other than of course my hubby coming home with his medal and a smile emerging from self accomplishment, was the camaraderie from the crowd of supporters. Strangers telling strangers, not to give up, that it’s okay, urging them to continue, to pick up the pace, ringing their cow bells and hitting their cymbals to encourage one another or a quick passing hand touch. Again I am emphasizing strangers. Of course, I am sure those cow bells rang a little louder when they were cheering their own close family member, friend, or spouse on, but they did it for strangers as well. It still makes me tear up. I wish life could be like this everywhere. Can you picture it? You go to work, and people cheer you on the road, instead of cutting you off, not letting you pass, or honking. Arriving to work, instead of the dreaded monday morning crawl, your peers help one another and cheer everyone on. Family gatherings would be less of “Sally got more attention than I did as a kid,” and Oh poor me syndrome, and what do I get, and all the chaos I have witnessed with families, versus “hey great job buddy, I am proud of you”, “you will get it”, ” keep pushing on”. Oh it is a beautiful dream.
With this observation, I also had an awakening. I hope that I can hold this realization dear to my soul. I became aware of the amount of paraplegics and people with prosthetics who not only participate but do quite well at these competitions. I listened to their concerns at the previous days meetings, and they didn’t do the poor me and what do I get. But we do. Why is that? This is something I want to remind myself when I get the poor me’s or when I get sad about the world. There are children out there without the ability to move or communicate, and their parents run a marathon and push them all the way through on a boat, a bike and a runner. Those people deserve medals, not for what got them there, but for how they carry themselves forward. And we as decent human beings, should be their cheer leaders, not turning away and whispering about how they are different. This is not a new thought, it is an ideal, that I have had as long as I can remember and I just want to share it with you. We should all be each others cheer leaders.
Another revelation, was the wide range of ages, sizes, and athletic skills. Ages ranged from 7 to 77 years old, lots of newbies attended, as well as pros going for the Olympics. There were all shapes from very trim, to bigger built and even a few stout people all gathered for a similar goal. In my heart I wish them all the best of luck, but I tend to lean towards the ones with more of a disadvantage. If someone is twice my size and twice my age, yeah I am just so happy for them and they inspire me. Even the ones that don’t or cannot finish, hey at least they tried.
So here was the Orientation tent from the back.
From the front. Needless to say, it was packed.
There’s my sweetie in his new gear from the Tempe Tri
Tent from the side. See any prosthetics?
Here was a very nice surprise, free So Delicious ice cream! Get my dairy free on ya’ll. Yes, I realize how goofy that sounds now, but I don’t care. At least I didn’t say it to SoD West out loud.
So that was the end of day one, Orientation. The clif bars all had soy and their protein had dairy, so that was a little sad. They also had Jamba juice, with a choice of 2 drinks that were pre made . No dairy in the Strawberry Banana, I picked that up for my sweetie, before I headed back to the tent.
Really freaking early. I didn’t sleep much the whole week prior so getting up early wasn’t that big of a deal. Oh wait, 4 something am, yeah it’s worth it for my hubby. I think I was more nervous than he was.
A great shot before the races began at Tempe Town Lake
The back of the legs mark your age and your division. Olympics -O, Sprint-S , Super Sprint -SS and some other one’s I didn’t know, but I think were marking Relay Races.
Anklet keeps track of your time.
First swim. Here is the beginning of the Olympic level swimmers getting into the water. The event had really good beats blasting from the encompassing speakers, and seemed to put everyone in a pumped up mood. The dj would announce fun facts like the oldest person to compete that day was 77 years old and they were in the Sprint Race. Can you imagine?
From there they swam over to the wading area, get it? Waiting, Wading? Well I think it’s hilarious, but then again I haven’t slept much the last 10 days. Here was the beginning point.
And they are off, like a school of fish. The volunteers on the boards are there to assist either as a stationary floatation device or to administer aid in getting out of the water and thereby disqualification of the race.
There was Jesse’s wave, last minute decision to group the last few waves together. I missed him starting. good thing he is loud, I heard him calling me from the water.
Biking, second part of race. They announced the youngest kid to be in the Olympic race was 7 years old. There were quite a few 12 year olds there too. They were quite the pros with their magic shoes attached to their bikes. Yes I know they weren’t magic, but amazed I was.
Jesse coming in, completion of bike portion and on to the running.
Isn’t this inspirational? I can’t help but to tear up.
There’s my guy!
The finish line. The clock is not your actual time, it is the time since the race began with the first wave. You have to go online and log in to get your results that day or the next day. He came in strong and I am so freaking proud of him!
Upon completion, everyone gets a medal and a cold towel on the neck.
They served food to the participants after the race and had water and gatorade as well. I wish they had food to purchase from somewhere though. There was no place to buy food. Downtown Tempe was not far away for a leisurely walk, but you can’t leave the event and walk all the way to the main street and pick up food without missing a big part of the race. Note to self, bring food. Crud, I just remembered I brought bars and forgot them until this moment. Okay, new note to self, remember what I bring.
This is the sea of bikes remaining.
My hubby wanted another ice cream from So Delicious, he picked up the ice cream sandwich while I took a couple pics. Word on the street is that So Delicious is working on a gluten free ice cream sandwich. Come on gluten free ice cream sandwich. In full disclosure I totally splurge and get their regular ice cream sandwiches and they are so freaking good. I hope they hurry up with the gf version though. Oh and you didn’t hear it from me, about the gf goody. I will update you when I know something.
Super cute booth and very friendly people, representing.
All in all it was truly an incredible day. I would definitely go again. I enjoyed watching my husband complete a goal he has had since we got together, I learned about myself through watching the strength and determination of others, and I felt the joined conviviality of strangers! What a great weekend!