“The good news is that this is the absolute worst thing that can happen.”

The quote, which was uttered by my training partner Mo to Liz and me as Dave drove the three of us down to the SheRox Triathlon yesterday morning in the pouring rain, will forever live in infamy.  It bore repeating several times during the morning because it seemed as if whenever we thought it couldn’t get any worse… it did.

The weather was calling for scattered thunderstorms on Sunday but we all KNEW that those types of summer storms only come in the LATE afternoon.  And the race officials assured us the day before that the swim portion was ON.  This was important to me as I am a strong swimmer and was actually looking forward to testing my mettle in the Schuylkill River.  Besides I didn’t think my legs would be able to survive a duathlon which is what the race moves to in inclement weather:  A 1.5 mile run, a 15.5 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run.  Mo wanted to swim too although I think the fact that the police were looking for a dead body in the river on Saturday (they didn’t find it) gave her a little pause.  I figured it would make me swim faster.  Liz was praying for the swim to be cancelled.

She got her wish.  The swim was cancelled.  We needed to get our heads in a new game.  I had never run that far before so I chose to recite the mantra that one of the SheRox mentors shared with us in one of the clinics we attended:

You can do more than you think you can.

And so we did.  I ran a personal best on the first portion – 13:52 (9:01 minute/mile pace.) The rain had stopped temporarily until about halfway through the bike ride, when the skies opened up.  It got slippery and wet.  At one point I was sure I was being hit by hail but I think now it was just very sharp rain drops.  Liz, who started six minutes behind me, passed me on the second loop.  It made me feel all warm and fuzzy when she did because it was just like our Sunday morning rides when she whipped my butt week after week.  My bike time: 59:42.  On the last run, the lightening began with about 1.5 miles left to go.  Mo was right in front of me.  I had caught up to her because she took a brief “siesta” between the bike and run.  I followed her as the skies got blacker and the thunder louder. We crossed the finish line within seconds of each other.


embike emrun


lizrun  lizbike


 morun1 mobike 

(Photos by Carey Corson)

We were one of the last racers to be allowed to finish.  In what seemed like seconds after we crossed, officials cleared the course and shut down the race for safety.  Many women did not get to complete the race.  My final time – 1:52:16.  I reached my goal of under 2 hours with both my parents and my husband watching me in my first race at age 40. I feel very proud.

With some of the kiddos (The brothers are at camp)


At this point the winds picked up and the storm intensified.  Announcements were being made for everyone to get in their cars immediately.  (This was a little curious as everyone had parked about a half mile away.)  As buckets of water dumped from the sky, I could hear the Universe saying to me, “You wanted to swim?  Here’s your freaking swim.”  




We waded back to the car with Dave (who dutifully drove us around yesterday), the three of us couldn’t shut up about the morning’s events.  Liz rocked the course at 1:40:09 and Mo was right behind me at 1:58:01.

Part of me felt completely ripped off that I didn’t get to do the full “tri” but as I reflected on the weekend and how I spent it with two other women who I truly admire and adore, I feel nothing but gratitude.  We compliment each other perfectly (I swim, Mo bikes, Liz runs) AND as an added bonus they make me feel totally less anal than I actually am.  Liz, a stickler for the rules, was sure she was DQ’d for touching her bike before she put her bike helmet on (she wasn’t).  Mo, the process queen, brought along a checklist held together with binder rings.  I didn’t do either of those Type A things.  (Although I fretted a great deal on the inside.)  We trained together for the last several months and I think I burned more calories laughing than exercising.  What I know for sure is that none of this would have been the least bit enjoyable without them.  These women made racing during an apocolyptic thunderstorm delightful.  Our “Tri” wasn’t swim, bike, run.  It was Liz, Mo and Em. 

Last night we had a crab fest to celebrate – and decided that we are going to race in the Marlton tri in four weeks.  I promised them I would sign up once my legs stopped burning.   

Game on.

threepasta threebefore threecrabs 


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