A few weeks ago I put out the call – paging Sherpa Thomas, your services are needed in Kona.
The other end went quiet. Nothing. Not a word. I thought maybe this was the period at the end of his last sentence confirming that he had indeed quit triathlon for good.
Because that was what I last heard. Some cry me a river mass e-mail about being too busy to train, too much on the road for work and not enough time to give it all he really wanted to. Alas, triathlon would take the back seat or maybe even the trunk. There would be no more. Running races perhaps but for all purposes triathlon and Sherpa Thomas were done.
Then it happened. The other day. He answered the call.
The e-mail at first contained some excuse that he would not be able to be there. Something about a once in a lifetime opportunity with a hot chick. Oh please. What about the twice in a lifetime opportunity with a really fast guy and a hot chick (hot chick's name to be announced). After all, this is Kona. There will be plenty of hot chicks around (literally, it’s damn hot there in the sun).
I read on, the disappointment setting in knowing that I would be solo in Kona watching the race. Who will be Sherpa to my husband? Not me. The minimum requirement is that you weigh as much as the racer so you can carry them if needed after the finish line. I can’t carry Chris.
But wait. In true Sherpa Thomas style the e-mail takes a snappy twist and it turns out the hot chick was all a big joke (I suspected as much) and of course he would be there. Of course he would answer the Sherpa on duty call.
I am elated. Someone to carry my husband. And someone to carry my bags! Actually my husband’s bags. Have you ever traveled with him? He’s worse than a woman. Brings a bag for everything.
Honestly though this means that I can hold someone hostage all week with my training schedule. Sherpa Thomas pull me on the swim. Sherpa Thomas block the wind for me. Sherpa Thomas carry my Fuel Belt. Sherpa Thomas – lid on this coffee. Cut my cinnamon roll. Go up and touch Michael Lovato.
BECAUSE I SAID SO!
Little does he know there are many Sherpa duties that have not necessarily been outlined in the contract that he signed when he said “I’ll be there” but the fine print, the print that said and anything else deemed reasonable by the inviting party - well, that could really include….anything.
If I had any inkling of remorse about not competing it has completely gone away. I talked to the coach and he said I needed to view it as an opportunity to see the race from the other side. And he is right. I will revel in the opportunity to stand on my feet for 12+ hours baking in the sun while watching people spit, shit, sweat and stomp their way down the Queen K. Wait a minute – no need to bake in the sun – Sherpa Thomas hold this towel over my head. There you go. That’s the price of traveling to Kona with me.
I’ve already been thinking about other things I would like to do there. I would like to (s)talk to some of the other pro’s. I want to know more about them and what makes them tick. I’ve started thinking of questions that I might ask them if they would agree to talk with me. More important things in life, things we as admiring fans are dying to know:
If there is one dance move you do better than anyone else, what would it be?
Oreos – top off & scraping the cream off with your front teeth or eating it whole?
Ernie or Bert?
When I get escorted out of Lava Java and asked not to return after that, I will spend the rest of the time on the hot corner spreading rumors that because it’s going to be too hot this year they are thinking of cutting the run short. Just a 5K.
You can see that Sherpa Thomas is really there just to carry me – out of public places that I may get banned because I’m going to have loads of pent up – why am I at a race but not racing – energy. I’ll have all the competitive fire that crackles during race week but none of the release. And so I will need somewhere to release me. I’ve decided key places where someone needs to be heckling triathletes would be at the Gatorade swim tent (asking them to put each one of my personal items in separate bag and then demanding a bottle of Gatorade for each bag I check in), the registration line (pointing at some random guy telling everyone else that he is so and so from such and such and they need a picture with him), Alii Drive (I plan to run 1K repeats up and down to be that girl during race week that is blowing herself on Alii Drive just to show off), the hill at Hawi (telling weary triathletes the winds have shifted and there is a 30 mph headwind all the way back too - surprise!), the energy lab (oh give me time…give me time I will think of something perfect for in there).
To think all of this fun is less than 4 months away. The other day Chris said he was itchy to get back to training. Jen and I laughed. Itchy. Just wait. Give it 2 more months and you’ll be itching for more than training – itching for sleep, itching for peeing clear, itching for your crotch to stop itching.
Until then I’m going to keep formulating my plans and making a list of rules for the Sherpa on duty. I will also practice running up and down hot stretches of pavement while waving my hands. And I’m going to need training on my voice – so I will spend the next week talking in anything but my library voice. One cannot expect to cheer and spectate for an entire day without training. Too risky.
And if all goes well Sherpa Thomas will carry me back after Chris crosses the finish line. Come on, Chris is a tough guy. If he can race for that long in one day he can certainly walk back to the car.