Before the sun rises, we rise. We get up. I shower.
We break down a bike, load bags in the car, we drive.
Rather, he drives and I sleep.
We arrive at a state park, a beach, a waterfront.
The sun is just coming up. It is peaceful, calm.
I wish I’d remembered my running shoes.
There are many people, bleary eyed but chipper. Wives with coffee in hand. Kids asleep in their fathers’ arms. Family and friends who sacrifice their sleep to cheer for loved ones.
There are so many wetsuits, you can smell the rubber.
There is laughter. Tension. Nerves.
Shouting from the announcers. The gun fires.
The wave of swimmers hit the water. Family members wait on the sidelines.
The unique sound of hundreds of wet feet slapping the pavement as they run towards the transition area. The frantic rush as people watch their loved ones run on, further faster. As wetsuits are ripped off and bike shoes are shoved on.
Then, they are off, pedaling to places we can’t see them. We wait.
One by one, they return.
The slide in on the gravel. Stumbling off their bikes. Legs, weak, now forced to run.
A bike is racked. Shoes are shoved on feet. They run.
It’s only a couple miles, but it feels like forever.
We wait. Again.
This time by the finish like. The shout of the crowd rises, echoing in the still morning. “Good job!” “You can do it!” “Just a little more!” “You’re almost there!”
My hands, red and almost raw from the clapping. My voice, hoarse from the screaming.
My heart racing. Hoping.
The worry when it feels like its been too long since he came through the transition.
The joy, when he crosses the finish line.
The exhaustion written on his face.
I pack the bags back up. We sit in the sun. Too tired to move, but ready to go home.
We’re already planning for the next one.