My best friend is my favorite person on the planet for approximately 764 million reasons. One of those reasons is that she finds the humor in everything, and I mean everything. This morning she woke me up with a text message photo of her and her dog, whom I love as if he were my human nephew. In it he’s giving her a full on bear hug and at 6:00 this morning it set a perfect mood for the day.
I was technically already awake but pushing back the actual rising as much as I could. No no I’ll get up at 6:30. It’s no big deal if I sleep until 7:00. OK 7:30 max – I will leave the house by 8:00. I mean 8:30. And on and on. I wasn’t tired at all, just squeamish about my intentions.
I told her my plan for the day – a solo mini triathlon including a long swim at Ala Moana Beach Park. She could read the reluctance through the lines and as best friends often do, she had the exact response I needed to hear: “Just channel your inner dolphin.”
“Fish are awesome!” she went on. “You’re just not hearing them cheer you on. Think of every fish as a Dory from Finding Nemo.”
Completely absurd. Exactly what I needed. So I threw off the covers, fed the dogs, packed my bag and put my bike in the car. I drove down to Ala Moana and attempted my first mini-tri.
I swam around 1,2000 meters, my longest attempt yet, chatting up my inner dolphin the entire way. I freestyled past the flag and kept going for two more buoys. All was well until I turned around to head back.
Suddenly my dolphin was gone. The sun disappeared behind a cloud making the water darker and it got choppy. I hadn’t realized that I was swimming with the current the entire way out and as I turned I got a huge face and mouthful of salt water. I was in deep water having to swim twice as hard to get half as far and I started really freaking out.
I did the breaststroke for a little while to calm myself down like my friend Mike showed me and it worked. Then I got back to thinking about my dolphin. She’s an odd little fish because she really likes to keep her head above water. I wondered what’s the worst that would happen if just for today I let her.
What I came up with was a sort of froggy paddle – not quite a breast stroke, not quite a dog paddle. It felt like forever had come and gone before I finally got back to the beach, but the reality is I swam 1,200 meters in 45 minutes. Coach J said it should take me about an hour to swim 1,500 so I’m actually right on track. My ridiculous froggy paddle kept my head above water and stopped me from panicking. I think I figured out the key to getting through the race.
I jogged from the beach to my car and transitioned into my bike gear. Riding to Makiki was a mess. I took all the wrong roads, hit potholes, got stuck in downtown traffic, etc. etc. But eventually I made it to the bottom of the hill and climbed Tantalus again.
I rode faster but ultimately had the same time to the top because I jammed my gears and my chain came off (again). It’s a rookie mistake that I keep making. I know exactly what I’m doing wrong I just have to stop doing it. The good news is I got out of my pedals fast enough to avoid a fall, I now know how to quickly fix my chain, and I got back into my pedals going uphill, which, I will tell you, is no easy feat.
Back at Ala Moana I transitioned to my running shoes and did 2 miles before calling it quits. When I finished I texted the BF my results: 3 hrs, 1200 meter swim, 15 mile ride including Tantalus, 2 mile run. Not dead.
And again came a perfect response: Not dead = totes impressive.
I hit hurdles today but I wouldn’t say I struggled. Even the stuff that was hard didn’t feel awful. You know how they say a good breakfast is the key to starting your day off right? Clearly a goofy picture of your best friend’s dog giving her a bear hug makes a fine substitute.
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