Flashback Friday: A Collection From Old Blogs

Thursday, March 15, 2007
I thought this one was funny because it really does contain an important lesson or two.  In this dream, I won my first triathlon, but I did everything the wrong way.  Towards the end, someone in the dream tells me, "think of what you could have actually accomplished if you actually gave a shit." 

The message in the dream was #1. Take ownership.  Don't blame anyone else for your own choices.  and #2. always give it your best.

Triathlon dream, or triathlon nightmare?

I've been having the craziest dreams the past few weeks. The award for lasting impression, though, goes to my triathlon dream (or nightmare?)

To be honest, I wasn't terribly worried about next week's event until after this dream – after all, the swim is only about 400 meters, the bike ride about 6 miles and the run 1.5. (To put that in perspective, I swam 1200 meters Monday, rode 8 miles Sunday night and ran 2 miles on Saturday.) But this was the kind of dream that, days later, is still so vivid in your memory that you're inspired to do crazy things like get out of bed in the middle of the night to rent your wetsuit and count the money you need to scrape together for last minute stuff.   In the dream, I spent all my time narrowly escaping from disaster that threatened to prevent my competition in the Subaru Women's Triathlon.

A flashback to the Mercedes Marathon? Maybe.  

In my dream, it was tri weekend, and Friday night I ended up working really late, which hasn't happened in ages. I was so slammed that it wasn't until the end of the night that I remembered the tri festivities started the next day. I wondered, do I need to call my parents to remind them to meet me there with my bike and someof my other gear in the morning?, but I figured they didn't need a reminder call about something so important, so I put it out of my mind and ran home, deciding to drive to Tampa and check into a hotel room that night instead of the next day.

Side note: I have NO IDEA why my parents were there. This early in 2007 they hadn't made it to a race yet.

When I got there, the hotel room was indescribably tiny. It was stuffed in a corner between 3 other rooms; the door was virtually hidden by the corners and doors of other rooms; it was shut off on one part by only curtains; there was a community bathroom. I kept worrying that Arnie was going to get out. (Side note: why would I bring him? And, if him, why not Girlie, too? Dreams are so stupid.) Well, the bizarreness didn't end there. Saturday rolled around, and no parents. Wubsy, Rocco Mediate, and some other famous golfers were there, begging me to hang out on the putting and chipping green at the resort, acting like the tri was no big deal and I had all the time in the world to play golf. It was close to 8 a.m., and I was starting to fear that I would miss the important announcements. Sure enough, by the time I got to the gathering area, the announcements and body marking were both over. I panicked until I found out that the front desk people at the hotel could mark me, then panicked again when they told me I had to have my race number for them to mark my body. So I guessed, since the practice swim was starting, and I was about to miss it.

I was running towards the shore when I looked to the far horizon to see a ginormous wave, unlike anything I'd ever seen, rolling towards us. It seemed to be far away, but this wave was moving faster than anything I'd ever seen. Thoseof us who recognized this as a 'rogue wave' reversed our courses, heading forthe hotel, scrambling to the highest balconies. The wave hit the resort,though, (oddly enough, everyone called it a 'freelance wave'), destroying some property and wiping out a large number of guests and participants. A few smaller but still gigantic waves followed, and a young kid whose brother was killed befriended me on one of the balconies.

Despite the devastation, USAT decided to hold the event anyway, so after the rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning up and regrouping the tri got off to a hurried start the next morning. I almost missed the race start, but with my made-up number, I won the women's swim and was 3rd overall thanks to the help of that little kid, who continually pushed me along in the water. I kept insisting we were cheating, and he kept insisting we were not, pointing over to some other swimmers who were doing the same. I can't begin to express the elation I felt at being able to speed along in the water ahead of so many others. But when I hit the shore, I had a horrifying realization: my parents had never arrived, and thus I had neither my shoes nor bike. So I did what any intelligent and determined individual would do: I decided to do it all barefoot.

I plowed out of the water into the sand at top speed, my eyes scanning thelot of parked bikes in transition. Almost immediately, I spotted mine, and for a moment, I was actually convinced that my parents had come through – but they hadn't. The bike was just a lookalike. Then I spotted my bike and jumped on, skidding out of the lot. Somehow, though, it was clear in my mind by the first kilometer that this bike wasn't mine, either – but I kept riding it. There's no way I was stopping now. Despite a wrong turn that took  me through a restaurant, I won the women's cycle and came in 10th overall. Finally, the run, along the beach. A few more wrong turns, but I ended back up at the finish, on a boardwalk near another restaurant.

Sitting at the bar was K., having a beer. To my surprise, the scoring and timing official standing mere feet away announced that K was about tobe the women's winner and in the overall top 10 for the race. I didn't even ask her how she beat me – I just panted, "Get up there! You're going towin!"

Her response stopped me dead in my tracks: "No, I wanna finish my beer while it's nice and cold."

"Listen, sister," I told her, "If you win, there are about 27 people who will each buy you two, colder beers!!"

But she shrugged and made no attempt to extricate herself from the barstool.

"Fine, I'm going to win, then!" I warned her, and she gave me a thumbs up. With awe, I triumphantly crossed the line and listened to the announcement of my victory. Barefoot, with little training, the wrong bike, and a late entry, I had still managed to beat all the other women and most of the men. An amazing feat. Other ladies trickled in until the top 5 were standing at the boardwalk, congratulating each other.

Then the kicker.

Up walks my favorite but toughest boss, with both the bikes I had mistaken for mine in his possession. In front of everyone, he barked, "I can't fucking believe you!" I turned to him, incredulous, and his cell phone rang. "No, I can't talk right now," he told the caller, "I'm busy setting her straight. Can you BELIEVE what she did?!!" With an angry SNAP, he shut his phone and turned back to me.

"What are you talking about?" I hissed.

"You know what I'm talking about! This isn't your bike, is it?" He jerked the bike I had ridden to victory toward me.

 "No," I replied vehemently. "Then THIS is your bike,"he continued, gesturing with the other bike that looked like mine.

"No, it's not," I protested, voice raising.

This only seemed to make him angrier. "Yes, it is!" he insisted.

 "No, it's not!" I shouted this time, pointing at the North Carolina license plate dangling from the rear. "You know good and well I'm not from North Carolina!"

The glint in his eyes instantly explained it: he knew neither of these bikes was mine, yet he continued with his tirade, determined to make me admit it."Well then you need to tell me what the HELL is going on, because you rode to victory on *this* (another violent gesture with the first) bike, and I know for sure it isn't yours."

I blew up, pulling out my own cell phone. "I'm calling my parents RIGHT NOW!" I roared. "They were supposed to bring my stuff and they DIDN'T. I am SO PISSED at them right now!!!!!"

He snatched my phone away from me. "No you're not," he snapped."YOUR equipment, YOUR fault. I don't care if they WERE supposed to bring it. Who's responsibility was it ultimately? YOURS. You could have brought it yourself if it meant so much. You know, I am REALLY disappointed in you. You half-assed your training, you heaped your responsibilities on someone else and then blamed them for your lack of ownership, you used someone else's bike, you survived the freelance wave, and you still would have won. Imagine – just for a minute – IMAGINE what you could have accomplished if you had actually given a shit!"

At this point, the entire crowd was silent and the rules official had pretty much dq'ed me, so I just admitted that neither of the bikes is mine. "He'sright," I told the official. "Neither bike is mine and the owners are stuck without bikes because of me."

And at that point, it was over. I was entirely defeated and disqualified. I couldn't even muster tears as the rules official congratulated the previous #2 on her assumption of women's #1.

Meanwhile, K sat by, nothing to prove, still drinking her beer and totally uninterested in being declared the TRUE winner. And the boss regarded me, for once, completely silently.

"I can't believe I won the race, then lost it, both because of a technicality," I almost whispered.

He patted me on the shoulder as we turned from the crowd and began to walk away with the two "borrowed" bikes. "Come on kid," he said,actually sounding proud this time. "Let's go get a beer."

K waved me over to her spot by the bar, and that's when I woke up.

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