Monday, October 26, 2009

Hickory Knob Triathlon

A few months ago, Nathan was talking to a guy that used to coach triathletes, and Nathan mentioned that he'd like to try one. The next day, the guy showed up with a bike to borrow. Nathan was a little nervous, since it's been about five years since he's even done a road race, but decided to go for it. I don't remember how I decided to train with him- maybe because he wanted my help in the pool.

I'd been saying that I wanted a canoe for a long time- like 8 months- and he said if I did the race, I could have a canoe. That tipped me. So we started training 4-5 times a week. I could really blow his doors off in the water, but would rather not talk about the rest.

Our biggest fans-
Left-right- Eli, my sister Cleo hugging Emma, Kelly, Nathan, Jonas, Isaac.

My mom in the purple, Nathan step-mom Anna is pointing for Jojo, and Nathan's dad, Ray

Nathan on the dock. It was about 50' outside. The water was 70', which was fine when we got in...

A few weeks before the race, Nathan switched to a knee-length speedo. (There's a very important distinction, there, folks.) This cut about ten seconds off his time, and I had to push to keep up with him. After months of schooling him in the water, he was ready to graduate.

We're very grateful to the help Anna gave us- watching the kids many nights after bedtime so we could go train.

What was race day like, you ask. I slept okay- Nathan didn't. That morning I was overwhelmed by this feeling of being a phony. Like- what am I doing here? I am a WRITER. This is not comfortable to even think about! But I'd already registered (mistakenly I registered for the international distance, 1500 yd swim, 20 mile bike and 10k run, but they switched me on race day. Whew!) so I went through with it.

Nathan and the blue caps are off!

The swim was bewildering. It is really hard to swim in a straight line without the line on the bottom of the pool, but we had practiced in Lake Murray. I'm sure I wasn't weaving (haha) but other people kept bumping into me. I elbowed one lady in the face really hard, but I promise I didn't know she was there until I'd clocked her. We were going into the first turn by the buoy, and everybody switched to breaststroke, so I know she was okay.

The bike was a bit cold at first, and there were a few really big hills, but it wasn't too bad. My hardest moment came when I tried to put my water bottle back. I wove around a bit, but finally got it in. A biker passing me told me "good job"--he was relieved that I hadn't taken him out, probably. And somehow my bike developed a squeak, so all these international distance people were zipping by me on the carbon-fiber frames, and I'm going "Squeak, squeak. Squeak, squeak." Slightly embarrassing, but I lived. I'd oiled everything, and it was fine before the race.

The hard part about the run was drinking out of that paper cup and finishing by the time I passed the trash bag. We'll have to practice that next time.

Nathan's finish
500 yd swim, ten mile bike, 5K run.
How can it be a ten MILE and five KILOMETER event?
Place  Bib NAME                 Ag CITY/STATE Rank SWIM   T1  Rank    BIKE    T2   Rank RUN TIME
5.  342 NATHAN BRYSON 31 IRMO SC       6   12:59   1:57     6         33:48    0:51  5 23:31    1:13:05
2. 555 KELLY BRYSON 31 IRMO SC            1   13:49   2:31     3         46:07    0:59  2 33:02    1:36:26

My finish!

I was a little (huge understatement) disappointed that training so hard didn't make me magically thin, but apparently you have to exercise AND eat healthy, so I'm working on that. Nathan is already planning his training for next year, and I'm thinking about it. I have decided, incidentally, that I'd rather attend a writer's conference (after my manuscript is polished) and rent a canoe wherever we want to go canoeing.

The best part was this feeling of appreciation that I had when it was over- feeling that my body is capable of great things and that I can do whatever I want to do. I highly recommend it.


  1. Wow. I am seriously impressed. I am so out of shape. Way to go guys!

  2. This is Nathan...Lets get some facts straight...
    Kelly was smoking me in the pool for about a month. Then I caught her, then I switched to the speedo jammer(I only wear my speedo briefs with the british flag on them for recreational swimming at the beach) and cut another 40 seconds off my 500 time. However, it was all a lot of fun and I dont even have to shell out for a canoe afterall! SWEET!