All too often when I'm training I have a scowl on my face. This could be because, like this morning, I got up to run at a time when most sane people are still comfortably cuddled in their comfy beds. Or it could be because I'm pushing the pace beyond my normal comfort zone of an easy to moderate stroll. So I've come to really cherish those moments that make me smile. Here are just a few examples:
Cars that cross the center line when they pass me:
Whether I'm running or biking I always get a huge smile on my face when a car comes up from behind and actually crosses the center line to pass me. This not only makes me smile, but it makes me giddy with glee as this thoughtful move from the mysterious driver gives me enough room on my side of the road to feel safe and secure.
Thank you mystery drivers for being so considerate and thoughtful!
I sincerely appreciate your small but kind act. I hope someday, when you are out on the open road running or cycling, the idiot driver that scares the hell out of you by almost rubbing his or her side mirror against your elbow (even though there are no other cars within miles) gets a flat tire on a truck clogged highway with no shoulder and no cell phone coverage. Let's see how you like it when something like an eighteen wheeler that weights 1000 times more than them decides to play a cruel game of chicken.
Cyclists who stop and ask if you need help when you breakdown:
I'm so grateful to all of you great roadies, triathletes, and weekend warriors who stop and ask a stranded cyclist if he or she needs help. There are very few things that bring on that sinking feeling in my stomach faster having a mechanical breakdown or flat miles away from home. I'm usually tired and not really prepared for the changing weather when something bad breaks on my bike. And by bad I mean anything really. It is comforting to know that I'm not all alone out in the middle of nowhere.
And even if I can easily fix the flat, it makes me smile from one ear to the other when another cyclist stops and says, "Are you Ok?" or "Do you need a hand?" I'm Ok but thanks for watching out for my back.
Non elitist/purist Triathletes
In two weeks I'm racing a small little local triathlon that includes a 500 yard pool swim. I always smile inside when I tell somebody I'll be doing the Longmont triathlon and they don't look at me like I'm some rank amateur because I'm doing a triathlon with a "pool swim." All too often I hear these words, "I don't do race with a pool swim," or the opposite "I don't do open water swims." Can we all just all please agree that as long as water is involved somehow or someway (be that in a pool, lake, ocean, river or enormous hot tub) it is indeed a triathlon.
Water = Triathlon
No water = Duathlon
It really is that simple so let's not get all hung up about what holds the water. I really respect anyone who races a triathlon no matter how long or short of swim. There is just something special (it makes me smile) about starting a race with a swim instead of a run.
Encouraging words when being passed
I never does get old. Whenever somebody passes me on the bike or on the run and they say a few kind words of encouragement like, "You are going great," or "keep up the good work." I always smile like an idiot because I know that somebody else who is probably working harder than me has taken the time and energy to help me succeed.
You got to love that!
It's a kind of unwritten bond that says to me we're all in this race together, and while we may be racing I still want to see you do well.
We have a guy at my masters class who shall remain nameless (actually I don't know his real name) but who has earned the nickname the professional. He has earned that nickname because he considers himself a professional on all matters of novice, masters, collegiate, world class, Olympic and even kiddie swimming. He tends enter the water like many of the former college swimmers do by running to the edge of the lane, jumping in feet first, and immediately swimming at a ferocious pace down to the other end of the pool.
Except that unlike the professional, all of the former college swimmers do not do this when I'm swimming toward then in the same lane as they bound into the water. The other day the professional almost jumped right on top of my head. It almost literally scared the piss out of me. It took a feat of super human pee control to keep me from polluting the pool.
So now I just smile when a non-professional swimmer simple slides into the water and asks me if I wouldn't mind sharing my lane.
Triathletes who know how to close a wet suit and leash
Ok, I admit that this may be something that is unique to me but it does make me smile. For the first time at my last race somebody actually knew how to close the flap at the top of my wet suit. As you may know it is almost impossible to close the top part of the wet suit (the flap that covers the zipper) by yourself. You need to have a nearby triathlete do it for you as you are about to start the race. Most triathletes don't zip the wet suit until the very start of the race as they would quickly sizzle in the suit. However it seems that most triathletes are at a complete loss as to the proper way to close a wet suit and leash. To my way of thinking there is only one proper technique. The following are problematic methods to zip close the wet suit and leash:
- Velcro the top zipper flap closed and leave leash unattached and hanging down and tangling from the zipper. In this common scenario the leash will inevitably wrap itself around my neck when I begin to swim and try to choke me like a crazed python. I'll spend at least half of the swim trying to unwrap the cagey leash from my neck.
- Velcro the top zipper flap closed with leash end sticking out of the top of the flap. This is another common method that people use that drives me crazy. With leash end under the flap but sticking out of the top, I always end up with a huge red wet suit love hickey kiss on the back of my neck. The top of the leash rubs against the back of my neck when I swim to such an extent that my wife thinks I've been making out with an octopus.
- Velcro the leash under the flap but from the top instead of from the bottom. In this problematic method my friendly race day neighbor zips up my wet suit and takes the end of the leash and Velcros it under the flap with the end stuck under the top of the flap. This creates a sort of giant "O"out of the leash as the end stick under the flap from the top instead of the bottom of the flap. The result of this method is that not only will I end up with a wet suit hickey, but also the giant O leash is almost impossible to grab and pull at the end of the swim. It seems deafly defy my probing hands as I try to grab the leash to unzip the wet suit.
The only method that I find works for me is when the leash is closed under the flap from the bottom of the flap creating a sort of U with the leash. And when somebody actually does this for me I smile, and smile, and smile.
Newbies always make me smile because you are the future of the sport. You guys read my grammatically challenged ramblings and you make me feel smart and in the know…which is something that always makes me smile. So thank you Newbies for giving this crazy sport a whirl. You guys are great and I hope that if I ever have the chance to actually pass you in a race I'll say a few words of encouragement like "you are doing great" and hopefully put a smile on your face.
So thank you Newbies for giving this crazy sport a whirl. You guys are great and I hope that if I ever have the chance to actually pass you in a race I'll say a few words of encouragement like "you are doing great" and hopefully put a smile on your face.