Monday, May 7, 2018

St. George Half Ironman, 2018

I hadn't done a triathlon since 2016 when I did the half Ironman in St. George and it was negative eleventy degrees and I was being punished by God, probably for being a really bad child in the 90s, and I committed myself to never exercise again.

Then at the end of 2016 I had a nervous breakdown, ate my feelings, and wrote a lot of bad poetry (in my heart).

In 2017 I didn't do any triathlon races and I basically forgot how to swim and by Christmas, I had gained like 30 pounds so I finally decided I needed to get back on the wagon.

I trained for the last five months for this year's St. George half Ironman, which was not easy because it was basically winter in Salt Lake City until yesterday at 2:00 PM.

On Friday at negative 6:00 in the morning, Skylar and I took off for St. George. That afternoon we packed my transition bags and took them to the various locations to drop them off.

The first transition is right next to the lake, where I decided I should probably do a quick practice swim to remind myself how miserably cold the water is.

There were people in wetsuits doing the same thing as me over near the starting line, so I wandered that way. Skylar saw some kids splashing around in the water around a couple of little islands just off the shore not far from the starting line so he told me he was going to go over there and play.

I got in, screamed, flailed my arms around for a while, and then decided that was good enough and went looking for Skylar, whom I found on a large rock out in the water, playing with the kids like he was one of them.

He was not playing with the kids like a grownup does. He looked like a 10-year-old boy at a playground. One who had to tell all his friends that his dad was there to get him so he had to go when he looked over and saw me.

I collected my offspring and we went back into town so I could go to bed at senior citizen dinner hour.

The next morning I got to the starting line, where the lines for the porta potties were so long that they wrapped around the world. Twice.

This caused a bit of a panic, because the race was starting in like 40 minutes and I had to pee so bad.

And the panic grew when they called everyone over to the starting line as I still stood at the back of the porta potty line.

I quickly put on my wetsuit and wandered through the crowd to find my place.

They had all 2,000+ athletes line up according to their expected swim time so that the fastest people were in the front and the slowest in the back. We had chips secured to our ankles so that a person's time would not start until they actually got over the starting line and into the water. This was important because it took nearly an hour for the people in the very back of the group to start their race.

I was positioned somewhere in the middle to second half of the people. And after about 20 minutes, I had to pee so badly that there were nearly tears.

And so, and you can judge me for this all you want, I decided to just pee a little in my wetsuit. I figured that no one would be able to tell. It would just collect in my wetsuit and then once I started swimming it would all get washed out.

Did you guys know that it's not possible to "just pee a little?" That's not a thing. That is not an option for humans.

To make a long story short, things got very stressful after the "just pee a little" decision. Because first of all, I peed a lot. And for the next 20 minutes, the pee slowly made its way down both of my legs WHICH WAS DISGUSTING OMG HOW DO BABIES DO THIS YOUR BABIES ARE GROSS.

But more importantly, I knew that it was only a matter of time before it would start coming out of my wetsuit at my ankles. And all 2,000+ barefoot triathletes who were walking on the same ground as me would know what I had done.

I was like the world's grossest hourglass, taking baby steps with the masses, praying to all the gods that I would make it into the water in time.

Skylar told me after the race that I looked very "focused and determined" as I walked into the lake.

He had no idea.

The pee was at my ankles and just starting to drip out of my wetsuit as I stepped into the water.

I was so relieved to have made it that I forgot to be miserable when I started swimming.

The 2,000+ athletes swam through my urine, and I came out of the water with my fastest ever time (barely).

I biked the 56 miles up and down the mountains, nearly getting my fastest time. And then I ran the half marathon, even though it was so hot that the weather was technically considered a hate crime. I was just a few minutes off of my fastest run time.

I finished in 5:34, about a minute and a half slower than my best time ever (in 2014). And to be honest, I was really shocked. Because I had convinced myself that I was a fat old man now who would never be fit again.

But now that I know that that isn't true, I have new motivation to keep trying out for the Mickey Mouse club.

With the whole fam-damily.
~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I can pee a little. It’s not bragging if it’s true.

  2. Oh and also of course, Congratulations! You are amaaaaaaazing!!! And it was forcefully brought to my remembrance the time I really really had to pee at girls camp when I was 14 bc we only had dirt holes for bathroom options and I had not peed in two days and when it finally burst... I could not pee a little. It was waterfalls and dams breaking and towns flooding and citizens crying. So, I know your pain; if your pain involved a hundred campers laughing at you for the next four years. Excited to hear about Mississippi, I have been enjoying Matt’s insta the past few days!

  3. BUT - do your pants fit now?

    1. Clearly the most important question. The people want to KNOW!

  4. As a former swimmer, I can pretty confidently tell you that you were also swimming through about 2,000+ people's urine, as well. So it's fine. They probably just waited til they were IN the water, but, you know, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

  5. Oh, it's pee story day?? Yasssss!!!!

    I have a slew of "need to pee" stories. Most of them involve being almost home, or driving in the car on vacation, and I tell my mom I need to pee so she drives super slow and takes the long way home. Or there's the time that I had to pee so bad on the way to St. George for my friend's clogging competition that everyone in the car convinced me that my eyes were turning yellow.

    1. I will share this story anonymously as my sister also reads this blog and I don’t want to embarrass her, you know, too much. We were on a road trip together, my sister and I and our combined (what was it then, five kids? All under the age of five?) and there was a bad accident up ahead on the freeway which caused a three hour holdup. And we watched in frustration as the men would just wander off the highway over to the tree line, and help themselves to bladder relief. And my sister who had already been holding it “just one more exit” suddenly found herself in an increasingly unbearable situation. Thankfully we had diaper bags full of every possible size of diaper, so she climbed into the backseat, and I distracted the kids, and she took care of business. So pro tip, diapers. Not just for babies. Phew. Almost forgot to switch to anonymous.

    2. bwahahahahaha but was it Amy Rose or Michelle Collett???

  6. Things like "world's grossest hourglass" is why I'm an every day reader.

  7. I can totally pee "just a little". I discovered this while doing the Tupper Lake Tin Man (70.3). But for me it was on the bike course, in padded and quite absorbant, bike shorts.

  8. I went to Hawaii with my husband several years ago. My legs always get super swollen from a long flight so a friend of mine gave me a diuretic. My legs did look good when the plane landed. A friend picked us up and we went directly to the ocean to ride in his big boat thingie, I want to call it a pontoon but I don't think that's right. I don't think I even spelled it right. I, of course had to pee like a bull in a china shop. Two things happened. The boat we swam to would not work. The second thing. The thing I just found out about my body is that I can NOT pee in the ocean. Our friend continued to work on his boat. I swam away from friends and family to try and pee alone. It did not work. After eleventy hours of work on the boat, we decided to swim to shore and he would continue trying to fix it. We swam to shore and as soon as I was slightly in an upright position, I ran as fast as I could to the bathrooms, pee running down my legs as I ran. I didn't even care. By the time I did get to the bathroom and pulled my suit off of me I was able to pee for about eleventy hours and I felt ever so much better.
    Moral...don't take drugs that don't belong to you. Even if you think you REALLY want to.

  9. [Pee] doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints

  10. You look fit, thin, and your hair would make Paul Simon weep.

  11. Congratulations!! That's an amazing time!! And EVERYONE pees in the pool, if they tell you don't they are lying. If it helps you feel better, pee is sterile so no germs, and I've done my very fair share of peeing in a wetsuit when swimming in the arctic waters of triathlon. Warms ya up a bit.

  12. I did Chattanooga 70.3 yesterday and I can assure you, all eleventy thousand athletes that jumped in the river before I did peed in their wetsuits on the ramp...the mats were super warm and squishy. Anyway, congrats on your finish and an excellent time.