By Linda L. Lundquist Crowe Dear Editor,

Isn’t there some law against publishing a person’s race results without their permission? My pitiful times from the Outdoorsman’s Triathlon stuck out like a sore thumb. And without the whole story behind why I even entered the race, it looked embarrassing. It all started right after the 1990 triathlon when Kirk started telling everybody that I was going to be in the next year’s race. Understand that I was perfectly content to watch from the shoreline and collect all the miscellaneous paraphernalia which the competitors fling to the side – goggles, towels, etc. When he continued this nonsense on into the Christmas season, I figured that rather than argue, I would take the opportunity to try to get into shape (things had gotten pretty bad) and if I was able to swim a mile, run 4 miles and not be too tired to get in my canoe, I would actually enter the triathlon as a participant – someone with only the goal of finishing rather than placing. No competition for me. Just the satisfaction of knowing I could do the thing. Who was I kidding? The night before the race the guys were actually timing their shoe-tie. Shouts of 30 seconds – need more Velcro! filled our cabin. {For a description of our cabin, see Dodge Havens’ account of the race). 15 seconds – that’s more like it! filled the night air.

Contrast that with my swim/run transition. I crawl out of the water, plop my bottom down on my carefully placed towel. I put some alcohol in my ears to get the water out, thereby avoiding a possible ear infection. I dry off my feet and sprinkle on a little powder to make it easier to put my socks on. I take the necessary time to re-do my pony tail. By that time, I have caught my breath enough to pull my singlet over my head, put my shoes on and take off.

I knew things had taken a turn for the worse before the race at the canoe put-in. I was sitting in my canoe to make sure that my little kneeling hump was situated correctly when Jim asks me to try on my life jacket. Touched that he is concerned for my safety, I oblige him. Suddenly he and Kirk are on me like white on rice attaching Velcro and tubing to me and duct taping my water bottle to my canoe. Why are y’all doing this? I cry. So you won’t have to stop paddling to take a drink. Is there no rest for the weary? Then the ever-helpful Keith Havens offers to help me grind off the skid plates on the bottom of my canoe. I paid extra for those! The run is the worse part of the whole race for me. I am so exhausted and disoriented from the swim, that I have to stop and walk a lot, before I get to the hill. Ed Sharp passed me in about the first 100 yards and as one might expect, I never saw him again until much later when he had a beer in his hand.

In retrospect, I believe he actually had the beer in his hand when he passed me, but … Nah. Right after the race I told Kirk that I made a new friend. He said, where did you find time to make a friend, girl – you were running a race. I met my new friend Mildred as we were walking up the hill near the church. We talked about how great it was to have other women to talk to during the race and we made plans to get together the next summer to run the river. I did manage to run all the way down the hill to my canoe. Once there however, I fell in trying to get in the thing. Bonnie was there to observe this humiliation, but frankly, what could she do but laugh?

Once paddling safely down the Little T, I took a couple of breaks to eat the tomatoes I had brought along to ward off my characteristic low blood sugar. If Kirk and Jim had known, I’m sure they would have Velcro’d the tomatoes to my chin so I wouldn’t have to stop paddling. I actually passed a few people on the river. Some were racing and some were just fishing. I asked the fishermen what they were catching, but it seemed to be a slow day. I could relate to that. But it was one of the great moments of my life when Kirk and Dodge met me near the finish line in their canoes. I had completed my first triathlon. I told Dodge never again, but in spite of myself I was already thinking about next year… So you see, not everyone who enjoys triathlons is a die-hard competitor and it may not be appropriate to publish their times. Know what I mean?

Linda L. Lundquist Crowe