We were walking back toward the car, which was parked a significant distance away, through impossibly narrow walk-ways and way, way too many people navigating the tight and overcrowded space with a precious bike, large bags, a blanket and three children. Denten looked at me and wondered if we would make it. I told him, no problem, we had done it three times already today. I think he was wondering if he would make it considering the 70.3 miles he had already covered today through the water, on his bike and in his running shoes.
Later, back at our landing ground for the weekend, I collapsed on the couch and said, “I feel like I ran a triathlon today.” To his credit, he said, “you did.” And it’s kinda true.
Denten is meticulous the night before a race, making sure all appropriate clothing is clean and laid out and ready to go. He double checks for clothing changes and equipment needed so that transitions go smoothly. He spends time scheduling his nutrition and when he’ll need to intake what calories to make sure the day is successful- what he’ll need to carry with him and what he thinks will be available on the course. During the race he has learned to pace himself, when to push it and when to reserve energy for what’s left to come. When it gets hard and the thought comes, “why do I do this, again?” he pushes it away and enjoys the journey, pushing forward and challenging himself.
I am meticulous the night before a race, making sure all appropriate clothing is clean and laid out and ready to go. I double check for necessary clothing changes so that as 5:30 a.m. chilliness moves to 11:30 warmth we are all dressed appropriately. The right shoes for everyone are important as is other equipment. This time around that included beach toys and swimming suits as we were stationed on the beach for much of the race. I spend time laying out our nutrition seeing as there would normally be two meals and several snacks in between 5:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. I determine what I need to carry with me and what might be found on the course. This race provided no access to food, so snack overload was in the bag. I have learned to pace myself and the cheering crew- sometimes we run to see dad pass by and sometimes we relax and cheer for others while we wait for another dad sighting. Sometimes we push through the crowd in maddening fashion but if we’ve timed it right we can take our time and enjoy the journey. If the overwhelming feeling of, “why do I do this, again?” comes, it just takes a step back to take in the electric atmosphere of the race and love the feeling of being there and supporting our dad who worked his tail off in preparation.
We wake up when he does and while we don’t push our bodies quite the same way, we endure all of the hours in whatever elements mother nature happens to provide and frankly it’s exhausting. But I’d do it again tomorrow. The toll on me is actually not near what is on the athletes as I passed by one woman saying, “it’s like childbirth. you say you’ll never do it again then time passes, the bad memories fade and you sign up again.”
This was a good trial run for us as this was just half the distance that is coming at us both in May and November this year. Those days, my friends, will be 14 hour-days minimum from when we wake up to when we’re done and home. He talks about a semi-retirement after this year. Anyone wanna place bets on that happening??