Deja Vu Part One: 56 Seconds

Rise & Shine

Alarm clocks shouldn’t even allow you to set a wake up time for 2:45 a.m., especially on a Sunday. But there it was, music blaring. I didn’t even have time for a snooze since departure was scheduled for 3:30 a.m. We had done this once before, in 2014, I think, without good results, and swore we’d never leave super early again to travel to Charleston for a Sprint Series Triathlon.

However, here we were, Team Fowler, pulling out of the garage at 3:27 a.m. bound for James Island County Park, 133 miles away.  We even had the teenage daughter on board – voluntarily! I felt something special was going to happen. Perhaps she did, too. I put out a Facebook post with the picture of the SUV’s clock showing 3:27 a.m. It read in part: Because I don’t think a family memory ever starts with “Dad, remember that time we slept in?”

CSTS Race 5 – August 13, 2017

The fifth and final race of of the 2017 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series (CSTS) started at 7:15 a.m. for the Open/Elite division of which my son, and running coach, Miles was a part.  He likes to arrive an hour and thirty minutes ahead of start for his warm up. After an uneventful two-plus hour ride where everyone slept while I listened to my favorite Sirius/XM channels (Summer = the Yacht Rock channel..Yes!), we parked at 5:47 a.m. Two minutes late. Arg. What kind of logistics coordinator was I? A slow driver, apparently.

Miles and I unloaded his equipment and made our way to the transition area.  It was still pitch dark and the temperature was in the low 80’s. Charleston in August. Heavy rains the night before had saturated the ground. Calling the air ‘soup’ wouldn’t do it justice. It was just gross. I was happy to just be a spectator in oppressive conditions like this, but it was just the way Miles wanted it.

CSTS Race 5 – The Swim

CSTS 2017 Race 5 Swim Start

At 7:15 a.m. the nineteen men and five women of the open divisions splashed off for their 600-yard swim around the pond. About seven and a half minutes later, the first swimmer, George Moreno, emerged from the water. No surprise there. George was the series points leader and had been the first out of the water in races one, two, and three, all of which he won.

Several others were close behind and pulled themselves out of the water. No Miles yet. “Come, on, Miles,” I said to myself. Finally, I saw him. He exited the water, and I checked the timer on my phone. Fifty-six seconds. “Ugh!” I muttered to myself. Or something that meant that. Maybe it rhymed with spit. I don’t remember.

“That’s too much,” I thought. In races one and two of the series, this was a familiar scene – George out of the water first and Miles 5th or 6th, just about 55 seconds behind. Unfortunately, in both of those races, the swim deficit proved too much to overcome, and Miles finished 3rd and 2nd, respectively, behind George.

Miles near the end of the swim

To me, it looked like today would be more of the same. Before the start, I thought if the swim deficit was less than 30 seconds, Miles would have a shot. “So much for the great story,” I resigned to myself. “It was going to be perfect,” I thought, reflecting back on the events of the previous seven weeks. Then, perhaps I said something that rhymed with spit again.

Click here for part two…