An important part of training for distance is strengthening your mind and keeping focus. Well, this wasn’t an issue for me until they took away my headphones. What do you do to entertain yourself if you can’t jam out to some sweet tunes?! I’m still driving my 2007 Ford Edge and I love my sweet Pearl, but if her radio quits working, she’s got to go! Travel games are fun on a road trip if you have passengers to play with but during a triathlon event, you’re limited to items that can fit in a key sized pocket and can withstand buckets of sweat. So, Yahtzee is out! This is where the mental games come in handy… and a sense of humor!
I think many of us do the math, repeatedly trying to figure out how many ways we can project our estimated finish time. Another fun game is the age guessing game that is also played at carnivals, where you try to guess the age of everyone is that is passing you and if they are in your age group. My habit is to deduct ten years off the age guess of any person who passes me. I think that’s fair. I also sing to myself a lot and I find that if I sing loudly, other riders give me more space, which is very polite! While all of these games are great ways to pass the time, “Butt, can I pass?” is still my personal favorite! The object of the game is to select a butt in front of you … and then pass it. Pretty simple!
I have passed several butts over the years and some I passed by more slowly than others … on purpose. However, there is one butt that still remains burned into my memory. It was April 19, 2015, my first 70.3 in New Orleans. I was beyond nervous! I couldn’t sleep the night before. I kept thinking about everything that could go wrong (flat tires, getting lost, crashing, drowning, cramps, getting eaten by an alligator, NOT FINISHING), any of which would be less detrimental if they happened out of order. I would like to think these are normal concerns for even experienced triathletes. I had completed several shorter distance triathlons, but this was my first time going for the 70.3 and if I survived the 1.2-mile swim, I knew the bike would be a challenge for my ADHD. I mean, 56 miles? Followed by a 13.1-mile run? It was sure to be a challenge!
Well, turns out … I don’t really remember the last 45 miles of the race. I was playing “Butt, can I pass?” and I had my target set. I gained on him slowly, and that’s when it happened at mile 25! I caught him! Oh … and I almost fell into a crack. Granted, the road in New Orleans is an obstacle course alone, but the crack I almost fell into was HiS. I couldn’t stop staring! I could see right through his cycle shorts. The sun was shining and there was a valley ahead!
For the rest of the day all I could think was: “Holy shit, spandex is see-through!” Granted, I’m sure his cycle shorts had seen many cycles in the wash over the years and were well worn, but you know what? So were mine! All I could think was, how many people had seen my ass crack while riding? Is this why people would let me take lead? Had to be because I knew they were faster! Am I supposed to be wearing underwear? I thought. Who is looking at my crack right now?! I pondered all of this for 45 more miles! I laughed so hard, and before I knew it … the race was over! I still have the same cycle shorts I wore during that race and I have aptly deemed them my “lucky” shorts. Fewer people seem to pass me when I’m wearing them!