Triathlon Chronicles: Grindylows Exist!

Last leg of the Tri-Goddess run as the trail descends to the parking lot and the finish line.

This has been a busy Tri Training Week as the Tri-Goddess approaches on June 24! After a weekend of swimming off the boat (note to self: not sure husbands enjoying beer on back of boat are the best spotters…but we didn’t drown, so it’s all good, right?), Partners in Crime #1 and #2 and I ran the run route at Waterloo on Wednesday. It’s gorgeous (see photo). It’s also hillier than advertised, but I ran the whole thing, no walking, and was pretty pleased with myself – not my usual sensation after running anywhere, let me tell you.

In fact, I felt good enough to accept a friend’s invitation to run on a horse trail near her house off the Brighton Recreation Area on Friday. This was possibly also influenced by an excellent evening of food, microbrews and music  the night before (Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers at the Ark in Ann Arbor…fantastic show, great music, nerdy eye-candy…mmmm hmmmm. But I digress.). Anyway, I showed up at 9:30 AM and off we ran.

OMG.  My friend is an Amazon. Who knew? I felt like I was running up Mt Everest, and she is trotting along  – way, far ahead –  like it’s nothing (roping her into the triathlon orbit for sure now!). Her goofy dog was the sweetest thing ever and kept running back to check on me, and the whole experience emphasized two important concepts: 1)  knowing the trail is critical, and 2) you can run further than you think you can. I was hesitant on this run, not knowing the trail and thinking “One week before a race is  BAD time to turn an ankle,” and really, the hills were steep! But the trail was over 2 miles…and again, I did better than I thought I would.

Oh, and the other thing that became apparent the next day – I must push off on my left leg to go uphill. The pain in my left ass cheek on Saturday almost made me cry .

And of course, on Saturday, PIC #1 and I attended the Open Water Swim at Portage Lake in the Waterloo Rec Area and ran the run route again (BUG SPRAY. Gotta remember the bug spray!). Sore ass cheek and all. Race organizers set up the 1/4 and 1/2 mile swim course, and had a clock running. The $38 for this event was money very, very well-spent. All the maps and explanations in the world are no substitute for getting in the water and swimming the route. They launched the crazy Ironman people first – the ones who were going to spend the next hour swimming – and then the rest of us went. This was another confidence-builder – I can start faster than many of the folks there. I got boxed in at the start with slower swimmers all around me and no way to move ahead. Once the crowd spread out a bit, it was easier to manuever and after some confusion at the first buoy, I  steadily made my way around the route and headed in towards the beach.


Grindylows. Mythical Creatures? Sure. You just keep thinking that.

And then the grindylows got me.

A bed of seaweed (lake weed?) stretches across the approach to the swim area. And I am NOT kidding when I say it is full of grindylows grabbing you as you try to swim through it. I am a pretty good swimmer, open water swims do not intimidate me, but I had a few moments of true panic as I was tangled in water weeds and could feel the grindylows trying to pull me to a watery grave.

And I am pretty sure they do not spot you any time for dealing with grindylows, EXACTLY like in the Tri-Wizard Tournament.



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Rebecca Foster writes about food, politics, books and whatever has irritated her on any particular day, on her website Usual and Ordinary (www.usualandordinary.com). She is an occasional contributor to The Livingston Post and has remained active in local politics and the community after serving as Pinckney Village President from 2004-2012, and as a trustee currently. She is enjoying empty-nesting in Pinckney with her husband, three cats and a few chickens.