Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bad Karma

It started on Friday. The day Leanna, Alexandra and I were scheduled to travel to NH for my race, Alexandra got sick. So we stayed in town Friday night and I planned to depart solo Saturday morning. Saturday morning I went to load my bike and found my front tire, on my race wheel, flat. So I changed it and came to find my spare tube also had a puncture in it. The next tube held, but now I had been delayed. So by the time I got on the road, there was traffic...and more traffic...and more traffic. I think people must go on vacation in NH.

The next few hours were uneventful. I made it to the race, registered, went for a warm-up bike ride to scout portions of the course, especially the run course. Then I changed and checked in my bike. It seemed things were starting to go okay, and then it hit...literally. A maroon Subaru from NJ rearended my new-to-me station wagon...twice. Apparently she was so stunned when her car hit my car she pushed wildly for the brake and hit the gas again. F--K!!!!!! So can you blame me for having no motivation left for racing?!

After wasting an hour on the phone getting the insurance claim worked out, I headed off to my motel. It was a dump. You know, that part didn't surprise me one bit. Nonetheless I checked in, paid the outrageous price for the room which smelled like an old ash tray, and the went and found the local pizza joint where young Heather (that's what her necklace said anyway), served me my large mushroom pizza. The rest of the night was uneventful, except for the arrival of the rain...

It poured overnight. It poured this morning. I had no rain clothes. I was freezing. Thank god for the wetsuit. By now I had taken the hint. Somewhere I had earned myself a dose of bad Karma. So, accepting my fate I took the race wheels off my bike and put on the training wheels. I was content with the concept of a training race. It seemed foolish to tempt fate any longer.

The race started a 1/2 hour late because of fog, and by the time it started (7:53 for my wave), the lake had gotten really rough. 35 minutes later I finished my 1.2 mile swim. Even for me that's really slow.

The bike leg was not as bad as I had expected, except for the rain. Hell at one point I was laughing to myself as I thought about Carl in Caddyshack, "I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down for quite a while." However, I do have pride and while I wasn't going that slowly, I don't like being passed a whole lot. Even worse than that, I don't like weasels drafting off me for the better part of 56 miles. And then there was the old guy who started bitching about my slowing down in a dangerous corner. I guess I should have just ridden over that woman in front of me. All this led to the decision to make the run, my best event, more than just a training run. I wanted to fly and put a hurting on these clowns. And thus my Karmic debt must have been repaid, because I believe what ensued qualifies as possibly my finest triathlon run ever. Out of 1368 finishers, including a sizable and distinguished pro field, I had the 58th fastest run. I out ran most of my old teammates. I put miles on the guy who drafted off me. I ran myself from a ho-hum mediocre training race, to the 10th qualifying spot for men 40-44 in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in November!

So was is Bad Karma after all? If the events had not unfolded as they had, Leanna and Alexandra might well have been with me, possibly been involved in the accident, been stuck in the rain or in the dump of a motel, and I would have felt terribly guilty for subjecting them to all that. Were the events possibly providence?

PS: Oh yeah, and thanks to my friend Randy, aka Lord Chubalot, I had that damn Spinners song ("I keep workin' my way back to you, babe...") stuck in my head the whole race.