Monday, August 19, 2013

Mattie conquers a tri!

I don't know how to say this except just to say it, folks:

I'm married to a triathlete.


Yesterday was the Big Day and despite his nerves, Mattie did AWESOME completing his first tri!!! I am SO proud of him, as is evidenced by the almost 200 pictures I took during our 3ish hours there. Don't worry, I'm only going to bore you with 190 of them. Out of the goodness of my heart. So. Much. Goodness.

So we had to be up by 5, which is obviously why I woke up at 3 and was unable to ever go back to sleep. It was super awesome.

We were on the dark and rainy road by 5:30. Have you ever driven around Athens at 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday? I'm guessing not, since it seemed like the ONLY other drivers were other people participating in the tri. This was evidenced by the presence of fancy bikes on bike racks and various oval stickers with 26.2 and 140.6 on them. And also, I mean, why else would anyone in the world be driving around in the rain at that kind of hour? Exactly. They wouldn't.

Once in the park, we had to park about 11 miles away from where check-in was. Always great to get in a nice pre-race warm-up, right? Apparently some people thought so, since we saw some crazy folks RUNNING around (already checked in) the the dark...before they're about to do a tri?? Matt said he read somewhere that getting in a warm-up jog or something is a good idea, but I'm not so sure. I think those folks are just super nuts. Once we made it to check-in, near the transition area, it started feeling really real. There were people everywhere! Expensive equipment we've never heard of! People that look like they knew what they were doing! It was another world. But we adopted the 'fake it til you make it' philosophy and Matt headed off to 'body marking,' where they use giant Sharpies to write numbers all over your body.

My favorite body marking was the age on your calves. Every competitor had their age written on the back of both calves. I have no idea why, but it made my hours of people-watching much more interesting. I was extremely comforted and encouraged that tons of the most badass looking athletes were in their late 30s to late 40s! Unlike watching the Olympics, where I'm already a decade too old to think about doing any of it...this made me think that it's not too late, and that doing something like tris is something that you can continue doing into your 60s (there were tons of people in their 60s kicking tail!)...and also you will have a smokin' hot bod into your 60s. So, yeah. That was pretty great to find out.

Matt checked in (we'd picked up his race packet Saturday), got his timing chip, settled his bike and equipment into the transition area, lost his timing chip, panicked, found his timing chip, and then kissed me goodbye and headed down to the beach. I carried my 9,000 pounds of luggage/chairs (I looked like I was moving across the country or something. You know. Always prepared!) around in a very aimless fashion until I finally figured out where I could go to watch the swim. Right before the 7:00 start the sun finally came up and the rain slowed to a drizzle and I was able to switch to the dSLR for some mega zoom-lens action during the swim. There were hundreds and hundreds of competitors, so it was no small miracle that I actually was able to locate Matt amongst the throngs of shirtless, black-shorts-clad, blue-swim-cap-wearing men (and women, but it was pretty easy to distinguish him from the ladies)!

No idea where he is here, though.

 And they're off!! They entered the water 3 at a time, every 3 seconds. Matt was waaaaaay towards the back, so he didn't enter the water til almost 30 minutes after they started! (Meaning the guys that had entered first were like...done swimming and halfway done biking before Matt even started!)

I was standing very close to the finish line, so I never saw him enter the water. Matt's mom did, though, so she told me when he was in and then I waited 10 minutes and then started watching the finish area very carefully with my zoom lens. And then I saw him! Yay Mattie! You didn't drown!
Please excuse this gratuitous photo of my extremely good lookin' hunk of a husband. 
So they run up out of the water, across the parking lot, and over to the transition area to get ready for biking. Matt was totally ready for T1, as they call it (first transition), but I think he slightly underestimated one thing: pulling a compression shirt onto his wet torso. Please enjoy the most hilarious pictures ever: Matt Does Contortionist Things to Get His Shirt On-

After her got his shirt situation figured out, he quickly got the rest of his bike gear set and was on his way to the 14 mile ride!

 This meant I had a good chunk of time to kill. I walked up to the biking finish area, plopped myself down in my chair, and enjoyed analyzing all of the competitors as they rolled in. I was also glad to have Matt's parents there to chit-chat with as we carefully analyzed each bright-yellow-shirted-man in the distance and tried to discern whether it might be Matt. Don't worry, I have an entire photo series of a neon-yellow-shirt-and-black-shorts guy that isn't Matt. Of course, I didn't realize this until I he was 2 feet away from me and I was screaming "GO MATTIE!!!" like a maniac as I snapped pictures...well...oh well. Skinny guys with bike helmets and twinsie's a girl to know?

This was my view most of the day.

Finally he actually DID come by-- and we think his bike time (haven't gotten the official times from his chip yet) was around 50 minutes, which is better than he was hoping for!!

He graciously acknowledges his adoring fans, who are really just glad they're actually cheering for the right person this time.
He walked the bike back down to T2 and got ready to run. We weren't able to make it down this time, so no pictures--I'm sure you're devastated, but try to move on.

We headed over towards the end of the 5k course and set up our camp one more time. Matt's mom took a picture of yours truly.

A proud lady with a huge honkin' zoom lens...waiting to see her man run by!
It was a surprisingly short wait...and then we saw him!

I feel like his face says it all here. Pretty sure he was D.O.N.E.

And he was! Matt's mom was at the finish line and snapped a few right when he crossed it.

I sprinted to the finish line (so noble of me to jog 100 yards in light of such displays of athleticism...) and attacked him with a big ol' hug and kiss. He was sweaty and stinky and a teensy bit tired, but still obliged us by posing for a few pictures. I know. He's a saint, that Mattie!

And with that, his first triathlon was complete. And he PRd! Ha. I mean, we don't know what the record is, yet, but since it was his was definitely a personal best. We headed over to the expo area and he got his shirt and lots of snacks and drinks. He regaled us with his perspective on the race, answered our dozens of questions, and then we packed it up and headed on home.

And then we slept. After he showered, of course.

It was a great day. I am so proud of him for his hard work training and for persevering and 100% earning his Badass Triathlete status. Yay Mattie!!


  1. Congrats Matt!!! I'm sure Matt will appreciate your photo journalism with each tri. I loved seeing the pics on Instagam yesterday.

  2. Way to go Matt! For some reason I was thinking you were doing your Tri also this weekend. Guess I got confused?! (Which is totally not surprising!)

  3. way to go Matt! And great documentation of the event...felt like I was there... only I got to enjoy the event from my couch while sipping coffee!

  4. Yay for Matt!! I am impressed with how often you were able to track him down and get pictures - Wade did a couple of triathlons several years ago and it caused me a lot of anxiety to try to figure out exactly where to be at what point in time to see him, and I didn't do as good of a job. Way to be a supportive wife and document the occasion succesfully!

  5. Congrats Matt!!! I'm tired just thinking about all he did! Love the picture of two at the end!

  6. So awesome! Way to go Matt! That's so so cool!

    Good to know that my better days in terms of athleticism and overall badass-ness are in front of me!

  7. WOW WOW WOW! Way to go, Matt!!! As if you weren't already awesome enough, you just outdid yourself!

    And Erika, your photo journalism skills are equally impressive! :-)

  8. Awesome job Matt! Is he addicted yet?!! Curious of His time. You got some super awesome pictures, I'm sure he loved having you there, it's always so encouraging to hear people cheering!

  9. Way to go, Matt! So much fun to see these pictures and read your recap. And glad you both got to enjoy a post-race nap :)

  10. Congrats Matt! What an amazing accomplishment!

  11. That is AWESOME! He looks really exahusted at the end, I hope y'all ate some major pizza or something delicious for dinner!

  12. Hubba hubba!!! You were an awesome photographer! What a huge thing Matt finished!

  13. Such a great accomplishment! And, your pictures were fantastic!

  14. Way to go Matt!!! Super impressed, I could NEVER do all of that wow! Our tri was walking in and out of stores all day Saturday looking for a new rug for our bedroom not quite the same but it might be close! ...side note if those are your pink and gray shoes in one of the photo's I LOVE them!!

  15. Yay! Congrats Matt! I remember being totally fascinated by the age thing on the back of the calves...but what killed me was seeing the 15 year olds flying by me.

  16. Props to Matt for completing it and props to you for documenting it- hard work for you both, no doubt :) I hope you rewarded yourselves with Mexican food!

  17. Wow!! Impressive!!! Awesome job to Matt! I'm tired just looking at those pics :)

  18. Way to go Matt!!!!! I was thinking of you and cheering Matt on yesterday morning. However, I might have been cheering too late.

    And I love your photo documentation Erika. Amazing that you could find him in all those people.

  19. Woohoo!! Awesome job, Matt! Love the pics. :) :) And that is crazy but cool they put their age on their calf! Would have made people-watching fun for me, too! :)

  20. Yay for Matt! So proud of him! But we all know "sports photography" is way harder than doing a triathlon so I am equally impressed with your picture taking skills. Just think, that poor Matt-imposter probably had no one there to cheer him on and then you came along with your fancy camera and cheerful spirit (and lack of facial recognition - which I totally get!) and now his race is properly documented. Way to go, Erika... and Matt :)

  21. That's so awesome. Good for him!!

  22. SO impressive! He should be so proud! I hope this is his first event of many!

  23. he looks like such a professional tri...person? racer? competitor?

    *BTW, I saw tri-gear while at REI this weekend. The women's tri shirt was "marked down" from $120-something to $90-something. OMG!

  24. Yay Matt! This is a big deal! Reading this brought back a ton of memories of watching Andrew run his triathlon. Better him than me. No doubt about that.


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