I’m out running along on my usual sidewalk, minding my own business, when I see them.
I had no idea, but today is the Republic of Texas Triathlon, and my usual course is now their course. I am destined to get Triathlon Cooties.
It’s actually fun. The guys I’m running with are in mile 8-11 of a half-ironman distance tri. They’re mid- to back-of-packers, so my turtle pace is suddenly competitive. Take, that Triathletes!
I pick up the pace too much going through the first mile, determined to reel people in on my imaginary race. I blast through the aid station without accepting water. I am on a mission.
It’s definitely weird to find yourself as a bandit in a race accidentally, but here I am. I offer about 30 “good job”s to people heading out the other direction into the 80 degree, 80 percent humidity swamp that is our city in mid-April. Long day. It’s a fun race to accidentally spectate. They’re OK by me, except for the funny uniforms.
I veer off the race course for my daily detour through the Holiday Inn. The tattoo guys are in day 2 of the convention. The world’s coolest pickup is still there.
The tattoo guys hang out in the area I run past, I guess because it must be the designated smoke area. We wave and say hey, in that low-key Texas way. They seem like good peeps. Kinda like the Mason Lions Club without the burgers. I like them a lot.
Uneventful coming back. My hr is way too high today and my splits are too fast, but I figure that’s OK because I’m racing. I’m running along the little stretch of rocky dirt next to the beach when I look down at my watch to check my 4 mile split. I look up to read a tri guy shirt (man, they have a lot of stuff on their shirts). I don’t look down to see the rock.
And then, there I am, with my nose in the dirt.
It was a bad crash. The totally unprepared, going too fast, no brace kind of crash. I just lie there face down in the dirt for a minute, trying to remember why I consider this fun. It must have been a pretty good one, because people come running over. A guy wants to know if he can help me up. No, I assure him, I’m just going to live here.
I roll over. It’s funny. I’m lying on the beach, looking out at the water. Very scenic. Very relaxing. And feeling like a truck just hit me.
I do the quick assessment. Hand scraped but not bad. Both knees a little bloody but no harm down. And then I breathe. Rats. I think I cracked another rib. At least it’s on the other side, and it only seems to hurt when I inhale. An easy workaround.
As I lie there, a little old lady comes up with a Band-Aid. Would you like a Band-Aid? she asks. Nah, I’m OK, I tell her. You should put a Band-Aid on, she says. Oh, I’ll just rinse it and it’ll be OK, I assure her. She walks off forlornly. I should’ve taken the Band-Aid. I’m a bad person. Sometimes moms just need to be moms, I guess.
I get up and start to gingerly trot again. Can’t let the triathletes see my spirit crushed. I’m about 25 yards down the trail when I pass a couple with two dogs. One of them, a frisky little guy, comes past me on my left, then circles back around to Mom. He’s on a leash, so he has just effectively lassoed me. With my feet tied together, I almost go down again. God hates me.
Luckily I was just barely going, so there was no harm done. I get a photo of the little troublemaker. He’s the one hiding behind Dad, trying to look innocent.
The last mile is slow and hurts a lot. Rib thing feels like it’s going to be a problem. Would’ve been fastest run of the week otherwise. Oh, well. Sucess is survival.
Damn triathlete cooties …