Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Justice League of Triathlon

So yesterday at the pool, I was checking in at the window to sign in, and overheard this guy talking to the window girl about how he was prepping for Ironman. At some point I'll need to get over how cool it is to hear people talk about Ironman so much in this town, but I smiled to myself and headed down to the locker room. A few moments later he came down, and I mentioned to him that I overheard him talking about Ironman, and was he doing it this year? And we had a really nice, brief conversation about how this was his first one, his first season of triathlon at all, actually, that he was inspired to do it the day after last year's epic, where he was a spectator. We talked about his plans and goals, and his excitement and dedication to the thing was just awesome. I shared what few anecdotes of encouragement I had, and wished him well. Never caught his name, but figured I'd see him around at the pool again from time to time.

Fast forward to last night, where we were having the inaugural meeting of the Justice Leage of Triathlon, which I only just titled as so, and only because I'm amused by the superhero blogger names we all use to mask our true identities. (Well, except for Erin, who's superhero name is "Erin", so you know. And, as I pointed out at dinner, I'm posting pictures of my kid in utero in this space, so if total anonymity were high on the list of requisites, I'd make a craptacular superhero. Counter to that argument, though, is that I do wear a lot of spandex, and that has to count for something in the realm of superheroes, no?)

But, I digress. I arrived at the Dane just before 6:30 and checked in at the table, requesting a table for 4 (not totally sure who'd be there), but - first, could you tell me did any of my friends check in first and have a table? I gave them their names, and the girl said, "Sure, what do they look like?"
"Um, I don't know."
She looked at me sideways. "You don't know?"
She looked me in the eye for a second to see if I was pulling her leg, then just went back to her little reservation desk, annoyed, and said, "We'll keep an eye out."
She'll keep an eye out. For my friends, I guess. Who neither of us know what they look like. Anyway.

Meanwhile, I went down and got a table, then came back up to wait for people to walk in who looked like they could possibly be somebody. I figured I've posted lots of pictures of myself here, so they'd maybe know what I looked like. I popped my head around a corner, and saw a guy sitting there who'd been there when I walked in. He was wearing a race t-shirt, and Erin was sharing our meeting with her friend Bob (who was at WIBA, I guess, and who, lacking a blog, goes without a superhero name, alas), and he also looked vaguely familiar. "Are you Bob?" I said, and he brightened up and said he was, and we shook hands, and chatted for a few moments. I kept wondering - where have I seen this guy? - and then he started telling me how this was his first year in triathlon, and he comes from a marathon background, and..."Did I meet you at the pool today?" I asked, and he said, "Yes! I wasn't sure if that was you or not!" and we both laughed at the total insanity of the world that of all the people in the universe Erin's friend Bob was who I met at the pool the very same day he was joining us for dinner. How surreal.

Almost immediately a bright, smiling woman, accompanied by a well-dressed man, approached and Bob greeted Erin, who I shook hands with and then she introduced us to Chief of Stuff, who, if you read her blog at all, makes regular appearances. Turns out he was just coming from the gym, and just before that work, I think. Within moments of meeting them a confident, cheerful woman approached us and said to me, "You must be x", and I said, "Teach!" and with Triteacher present, all were accounted for in this melding of the minds of the JLT.

Everyone was just as charming, friendly, interesting and lovely as you'd expect from their blogs, and it's always interesting to "meet" people who you feel you already know, and can ask them details about things like any old friend might. We chatted about all things triathlon, of course, which was a fantastic bit of geekery, but also about our jobs and just life in general, like friends do. This is Erin's first year of triathlon, too, and I was amazed at how she and Bob have both worked so hard for Ironman in their first year. CoS, who is a triathlete but hasn't admitted it to himself yet, was interested in the best strategies for captaining Erin's Ironman Team come race day. Teach and I laughed about how she just wings it from season to season, vs. how I need to have my race schedule articulated, like, two years in advance. We laughed a lot, learned a lot about each other, and after two hours I, at least, left really excited to have made their formal acquaintances. Really great people, all of them. We agreed to try and get together once a month or so, and I know I'll be looking forward to it.


Brazo said...

That was an incredible meeting - twice in the same day - just crazy - what are the odds?? Great time last night talking Tri -- enjoyed meeting everyone and look forward to the next dinner.

Enjoy your evening,

Triteacher said...

Man, we were geeked out!! What a great evening -- and many happy returns to be had. And you are definitely Superman on the pic - thanks for being the organizer and namer extraordinaire. JLT = nice.

Chief of Stuff said...

I'm slowly coming out of denial...After hearing Bob's story about swimming, maybe even I can add it to running and biking. All these triathletes = pretty inspiring
- CoS

qcmier said...

Dang, I missed out on the party.

Erin said...

We missed you, Al! And thanks again to you, xt4, for organizing...looking forward to doing this again soon!