The Bad Girls

I never really thought of myself as a “bad girl.” That all changed when I was recruited for this relay team for the Santa Barbara Triathlon. Sandy (center) did the 1-mile swim. Jane (left) rode 34 technical, hilly miles. And I ran 10 miles up a couple of really long hills.

Originally, this was penned to be the grudge match of the century against “The Good Girls.” Injuries, procrastination, and family emergencies postponed that competition until next year.

Instead, we were left to face what I would call “The fabulously fit freaks of nature.” Veterans of the sport. Though this is my second year of triathlon, I felt like a wide-eyed frosh surrounded by seniors.

This was my first long-course event. I waited in the transition area for Jane to arrive on her bike with the timing chip. I was an early arrival, so I had a long wait.

What I observed there was a tad startling. The first 200 or so who arrived on their bikes had that barefoot dismount with shoes still attached to the pedals. It was like watching Fred Flintstone stop the Flintmobile. I can’t imagine ever being that coordinated and fearless. I suppose that’s one way for a girl to pumice her heels though.

Then, something truly bizarre. A relay cyclist who was done with her race looked at me shocked. She pointed to another woman in the transition area, seated on the tarmac, changing her shoes and peeing on the ground, right through her tri shorts. The slanted ground. We both rushed over to move the surrounding bags that belonged to other athletes. We were too late for a neoprene swim cap. (We told the owner of it.) “Sorry.” Little Miss Pissy said, “I thought I was being sly.” “Yeah, not that sly,” we responded. As she took off on her run, I said in disgust, “She better medal.” Karma probably prevented that I’m sure. There were about 20 port-a-potties 20 yards away.

Jane arrived with her typical beaming smile. Transferred the timing chip to my ankle and I was off. I haven’t run a 10-mile race in about 20 years. I had no idea how to pace myself. The McMillan Running calculator estimated I could do it in 1:27 based on my recent mile time. That seemed optimistic given the hills. I really wanted to break 1:30.

As I headed away from the beach, I saw two women dressed as super heroes, cheering on their friends. They were so enthusiastic. They made my day. We were two months away from Halloween. That was pretty cool of them to dress up on such a hot day.

The hills weren’t sharp peaks like XTERRA, more like a long-dragged out elevation that took the wind out of my sails. Heading back to the finish line, I caught a nice breeze. I ran as fast as my little legs would take me. Not counting the transition, I barely broke 1:30. I was happy with it.

We were all happy with our efforts. We felt strong. We thought we did well. As it turned out, we really were the bad girls. We were the last girls relay team! Ahh, but we weren’t the last relay team. We can still hang our heads high because we did beat out “Jiggle Flop Racing.” Could there be a re-match next year? Jiggle Flop, we’ll see you at the beach in ’08. Watch out.