At first, I thought, “big trouble.”
I went to Lake Nockamixon State Park in Pennsylvania on Saturday to check out the course for this season’s first triathlon. (I survived Season One and have signed on for three triathlons between June and October this year.) Note to self: When the bicycle leg is only 10 miles long, it’s most likely because there are hills. Do not believe the course description of “mostly flat with some rolling.” Read that as, “You’ll have to downshift in a Jeep, let alone pedal really fast on a bike, to get up these bad boys.”
I’ll admit, I stopped at the top of the penultimate monster to decide whether I even wanted to attempt the final climb. It was that daunting. I took a picture of it with my Blackberry, just in case my husband needed evidence for the life insurance company.
But I went for it, and I’m sure I looked to passing drivers like a drunken moron just trying to stay upright and steer straight as my bike slowed to somewhere in the vicinity of 4 mph. I thought I might pass out trying to catch my breath at the summit. Then came the downhill, at nearly 25 mph. All I could think was, “Don’t hit a bump. You’ll fly into traffic and die.”
Back at the parking lot, as I switched from biking shoes to running shoes, I thought, “Not big trouble. Big new challenge.” I made it on the first try, after all, and I still have two months to train.
Then I set off to jog the two-mile run course. I was a half-mile in, purple in the face and panting, when I came upon a couple of little old ladies walking the path ahead. I thought I was really sucking wind and once again near death because I didn’t seem able to pass them.
It took me a good 30 seconds to realize they’d been trying to pace me. They were planning a sneak attack. One of them turned to me, tried to hand me a pamphlet, and asked me if she could talk to me for a moment about going to heaven.
A “Big Kahuna” moment. I guess it’s better than biting the big one!