It is no secret, that May 15, 2011 – the date of the Iron Girl sprint triathlon event in Atlanta Georgia – came earlier than expected. For many of the sprint TRI sista veterans, we weren’t “ready”. Our training season had only just begun, we could count the # of training bricks on one hand (um…maybe 1 finger?) and we were hopeful just to finish the event the same day it started. Of course this does not apply to the 2 “ringers” (you know who you are)…who became part of our TRI sista family of 8.
For some reason (global warming? global confusion?), Atlanta Georgia
is no longer located in “the south”. Apparently there is an arctic depression spanning from Canada to Georgia. Two weeks prior to the “event”, we learned that water temperatures would be a nippy 60 something degrees. The race organizers suggested wetsuits for the swim portion of the event. For those of us who are “thin skinned”, the news of cold water temperatures gave us an opportunity to prepare for the worst. We started looking for survival suits — those worn by the arctic fishermen on The Deadliest Catch
…and we envisioned floating in red 15 mil neoprene suits, on our backs…waiting for a Coast Guard rescue.
For the past few months, we shared dozens of emails with our new extended family of 8 TRI-sistas. During this period, we learned a few things:
1) If you are not planning to wear wet suits in 60 degree water (Maria-Kim-Julie-Deb) – just go straight to the finish line – you are already an IronGirl
2) Tami does not like to be cold. Period.
3) Jane is attached to her rubber-duckies
4) Deb was not distracted for a moment from cooking while a tree fell on her house
5) Jill took steroids for 1 week while she battled walking pneumonia…and briefly became a man.
6) Holly by Golly ran a 10K in 33 minutes….and suddenly we all re-focused on training
8 Tri-sisters, traveling in 3 cars, representing Maryland, DC and North Cackalacky….converged on Friday the 13th for our first face-to-face meet, and subsequent slumber party and girl-time. Oh yeah…and there is that triathlon. Let’s meet the TRI-sistas….
Julie: Designated TRI sista team shrink. Julie will treat any issue or manifestation for the discount rate of $99.95. Needless to say, Julie made a fortune during TRI IG Atlanta weekend. Now, Julie is not a psychologist by trade – but that is just a minor detail. Some of Julie’s notable TRI sista shrink successes include:
— helped Maria accept that driving slower than 90mph on I-85 was “ok”
— guided Kim into seeking future December 1/2 marathons in climates that are warmer than Pittsburgh
— worked with Chef Deb to overcome guilt on recommending gas station pizza to her “friends”
— coached Holly on how to pack everything a girl could need into 2 bags….bless her heart
— worked with Jane to stay “in” the car when Jill drove up and down the rental home driveway cliff
— gently listened to Jill’s heartbreaking French birther story– “Effin Wieder Hole….Fase”
— and will need more sessions working with Tamar – the exhibitionist
It is interesting that we nominated Julie as our team shrink – when her role model for IG weekend was an old man, who smoked, never exercised and clocked a TRI course at 2:08….a time that Julie was determined to beat. No issues there….Jus sayn.
Maria: If there is anything to be known about pop-culture, professional football, and trivia…just ask Maria. I’m pretty sure that I remember watching Maria win many rounds of Jeopardy a few years back. She stumbled only once on Jeopardy…and that was during the question of “who won the first Dancing with the Stars” contest….a show that she was not familiar (back then).
But don’t let that one lapse in trivia years gone by, fool you, because during TRI-Sista weekend…Maria was introduced to the TV program that had previously eluded her – thanks to By Golly Ms Holly. Bless her heart..
And Marie found herself glued to the TV. Perhaps it had something to do with the Pittsburg Steeler pro football man (Hines Ward
) with the nice smile and lovely 2-step. By the end of the night, Maria could name every dance move, celebrity and professional dancer. Don’t be surprised to find Maria back onto Jeopardy with her newfound knowledge of Dancing with the Stars.
Kim: Ex Navy SEAL. SEAL stands for She who Eats A meal Long b4 anyone is awake. Like clockwork, every morning at 0400 you could find Kim rummaging around the kitchen, working up a brew of tea, followed by a bowl of cereal, banana, leftover raspberry scones and trail mix. The rest of us were walking around like zombies, colliding into walls and each other and wondering why we had to be up at this awful hour…but not Kim. She was focused, bio-rhythms perfectly timed, and eating on schedule.
Kim also has a very knowledgeable Cosmopolitan
side – that she skillfully “hides” by wearing her pink I LUV NY jammies. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but apparently Kim told the owners of a world class girlie salon…that “everyone knows” the 75 secrets on how to fiddle with your man. Do not mess with a military girl.
Deb: That would be Deb “Julia Child” Rossi. It was obvious when Deb unpacked, that not only was FOOD a primary focus for the weekend, but only the BEST food will suffice. Deb is a self proclaimed “food snob”, and we saw no reason to argue with this highly desirable quality. Deb had Tri-Sista nutrition bars (chocolate) specially made for our healthy eating needs and a supply of M&M’s. It was only appropriate that we all changed into spandex.
As Deb brought in her Kitchen Aid with pasta making attachments, homemade lasagna, scone mixes from Harry and David, and contraptions too numerous to name (mainly because I can’t – I don’t even know what they are!) so that she can make delicacies from scratch….I quickly pulled Jill aside. “Jill – do you think we should hide all that prepared food we just bought at the Publix?”…and we nonchalantly pushed the Publix food to the far back corners of the fridge. We could always say that the food was left by the prior renters…
Holly: Ms. By Golly, a native from North Carolina, shared the secrets of southern communication with her Yankee TRI-sista counterparts. Southerners speak in forked tongues…which is another way of saying two meanings for the price of one. You figure out which best applies. “Bless her heart” is southern speak for “that bitch” or “sweet thang”….a “hot mess” translates to someone who is having a bad hair day…or “gee…I sure wish I looked like her”, and “cluster” is an abbreviation for “cluster F%*#” or… a gathering of goats.
Anyway, I got to know these expressions first hand from Ms Holly. Can you guess which meaning applies?
Me: OMG Holly – didn’t you get the memo on a 2 bag quota? (as we loaded her 15 bags of beauty products into the car)
Holly: oh Janie…bless your heart
Me: OMG Holly – are you still putting on makeup?
Holly: oh Janie…you’re a hot mess
Me: (after we have parked and planning to take off bikes to put in transition area) OMG – I forgot the bike lock key…and left it at the house…we have to go back
Holly: Now Janie that’s a real cluster…
If there was ever a contest for multi-tasking, Jill would win hands down. Or, hands “occupied”. Driving at top speeds in congested traffic, Jill can not only skillfully navigate the roadways, but can also participate in a conference call, send text messages to her hubby, eat a sandwich, rummage thru her purse, check the weather, make eye contact with passengers, respond to questions such as “is there a rest area soon”?, executes sales contracts, and finds the disco music on the radio. It is truly impressive…and scary.
But alas, just when you think you know someone…you find out that their birth certificate reads Effin Wieder Hole Fase. And, to make it worse, the father she thought was French and designed the Eiffel Tower….was Effin Dutch. Now, there is nothing wrong with being “Effin Dutch”, but in Michigan (Jill’s hometown) the Dutch immigrants are obsessed with tulips….and this is not as cool as being Effin French. Apparently, this is still an issue for her.
(or Tami) Tami is the second of 10 siblings. She grew up in a household where beds had to be shared…bathrooms worked on a schedule…and a household that was the “hub” of the neighborhood. Privacy was
not an option…or seemingly necessary. Some things never change…more on this…
Now, Tami has well known disdain for cold weather, or just being “cold”. Cold, doesn’t bring out her “best”. I assumed that she would dread getting into the frigid waters (now up to 72 degrees) of Lake Lanier. But no. Dressed in a full 7mil wet suit plus neoprene head gear, that left only hands and feet exposed….Tami made a pivotal discovery. “I can float….I’ve never floated before!” Immediately, Tami no longer cared about any chill to the water…she was busy floating on the surface and considering ONLY doing future TRI’s that require wet suits.
I’m pretty sure most of you who have read this far…are thinking what I’m thinking. Hmmm… Jane. Does she
actually have any “issues” that can be roasted on this blog site? Yes, we are all thinking hard…tapping our fingers…with the collective “hmmmm”….I wonder what we can say about that Jane…hmmmmm
Alright alright…maybe one itsy bitsy issue. I suppose “one” could say I get a tad “worked up” about swimming in dark water. OK…perhaps there is some “manifesting” going on….yes, I guess you could go so far to call it a complete meltdown. And that’s before I even get into the water. OK OK…so I am the only person on pre-race day practice swim who dragged along her rubber duckie. Is that bad? Enuf on “that Jane”… I’m sure there is more we could reveal here….but let’s move this blog along.
Sunday, May 15 – Iron Girl TRI Atlanta Race Day
Up at 4AM (because Jill said we had to) – we gathered in the kitchen and watched Kim consume a hearty breakfast. Julie was nervous, talking fast and carried a picture of smoker Sam — her personal inspiration. Jane had popped out of bed fully clothed in a TRI suit, Holly was busy putting on her makeup and Tami had slept with her neoprene hat. Deb was thinking about where the bread should rise, and Jill was doing a house inspection to ensure everyone had brushed their teeth. I think she sent Maria back to her room.
It was a good thing we arrived at the transition site early. This gave us a full 2 hours to gradually freeze in the 52 degree temperatures in 20 knots of wind. It also gave us plenty of time to repeatedly use the porta-potties, relocate our bicycles so we could be closer together, and huddle to share body heat. This is fun….not.
By 7AM, the first swim wave was in the water. And within seconds…people were swimming on top of each other, kayaks raced to rescue swimmers screaming for help…and I was not having one of my finer moments. While we won’t dwell on my sad swim….I would like to highlight that my swim angel (Jill) stayed back with me and if it wasn’t for her I would not have made it. You are the best. But it won’t happen again. Jus Sayn.
Now, moving along….we know that Tami does not like to be cold. As she exited her swim….fully clothed in neoprene….she realized that her TRI shorts would be wet from the water. Who wants to ride a bike in 52 degree weather wearing wet clothes? Without skipping a beat, Tami completely changed her outfit from the waist down in the wide-open transition area. Wet shorts off….dry leggings on. Privacy smivacy.
In general, Georgia suffers from “measurement” issues. One day, the swim course is 300 meters…then 1/3 mile…then 800 meters and so on. Signs along the bicycle route are meant to inspire you. For example – “You are at Mile 5 You Go Girl”….but you look at your bicycle odometer which shows you have completed 10 miles. This causes your mind to go “south”…and you say things like ‘#$&* this is a cluster…” Does anyone really know the length of the bike route? 18? 19? 20? Jus sayn.
In addition to the measurement issue, the bike route also tested our slalom skills. It’s a new “game” called “dodge the roadkill”….where you make quick turns left or right, avoiding DNA of dead animals. These sudden crazed moves, has the added benefit of losing any potential drafters….as it appears you cannot ride your bike in a straight line.
The running course is a lovely tour though Lake Lanier Island Resort….la la la la la….until you reach the turn-around point at the local landfill. One thing for certain, you know exactly where to turn around and head back to the finish. No extra steps spent getting any closer to this pile of garbage, and some of the fastest run times were recorded running on the second half of the course….AWAY from the “dumpsite”.
Julie and Kim (the ringers) made fast work of the swim-bike-and run in a blistering 2:06 time, easily beating the world record held by untrained-smoker-man-Sam. Julie was very proud of this, and Kim was busy eating again. The rest of the Tri-sistas finished one by one
, demonstrating true individual grit, relieved the event was finally over, and singing in the victory huddle “All the Lovely Ladies, All the Lovely Ladies”
We could now get back to what is important…eating, and bonding with our new wonderful friends – the TRI sista hood. Well done ladies!