My first black eye was obtained at a triathlon. Not while swimming gracefully (which for me, doesn’t happen during the race) or during a collision of bikes. It happened the night before.
We went to Annandale the night before the race, as we usually do, and met at the park where volunteers had just finished setting up for the next day. We went to the park after Mass, in hopes that we could help with the set up, but this year they were just turning in to eat. They invited us to join them. Once they were all through the line, we meandered in, grateful for their hospitality.
But, there was no food that I could eat. No that is lie. There were buttered dinner rolls and some melon. The vegetable salads were wrapped in Miracle Whip or mayonnaise and dotted with bacon bits. The potatoes were roasted with chunks of ham. The main course was fried chicken or roast beef. I grabbed a couple rolls and avoided the fruit. I saw a fly walk on it. Which makes me think of Buster in Arrested Development, “It’s a bird… it walked on my pillow!” I would much rather have a bird walk on my pillow than a fly on my food.
I tried to appreciate the bread and butter as I sat next to my dad on a grassy hill, but I desperately wanted to eat well the night before the race, so I told him I was going to go to the grocery store. I dumped my paper plate and walked to where we had parked my car. I wanted to call my boyfriend while I had the chance and needed to charge my phone anyway, so I popped the trunk and grabbed my charger and phone from my purse. And slammed the trunk.
Then a numbing pain struck me as things went black. I heard my sunglasses shatter on the gravel and I fell towards the ground. Whatever had hit me knocked me hard and off my feet. I caught myself before I hit the road. My face burned and my eyes leaked a wetness that I hoped was not blood. The numbness started to fade into an intense pain and I stumbled into the driver’s seat of my car in shock and cried.
The back rack had attacked me. Or slammed down on my head – hitting the crown of my head, scraping down my forehead, and then getting my eye before I lost balance. I had completely forgotten that my dad’s bike rack was attached and that it jutted out a foot from my trunk.
I immediately called Peter like a blubbering idiot and he couldn’t understand me. When I finally calmed down enough to converse, he convinced me to go find my dad. I hoped it didn’t look like I had been crying for 30 minutes. But it did. Blah blah blah. The rest was boring, but to summarize it, the gave me a beer and an ice for my eye, my dad drove me to the store, I bought a cheese pizza (at that point I really only wanted beer, but I figured I had to eat something and was in no mood to figure out something healthy), and brought me to my dad’s friend’s house where we were to stay the night.
The next morning I worried that I would lose consciousness while swimming and drown. What if I had a concussion? Apparently I wasn’t too worried, because I wasn’t going to let it make me miss the triathlon. There is something so magical about completing a triathlon, no matter how short the tri, which I didn’t want to miss out on. The feeling that comes when you cross the finish line is an amazing sensation. Pride swelling from deep within. This moment, an accomplishment of my very own; no worries, no stress, just me.
I was successful. I did the tri, black eye and all. Best part was it was my best time ever. 1:12:49. Now I just have to see if I can top that this year and also, race the tri black eye free.