I really must be trying to put this race behind me because I totally forgot in my bike leg race report to tell you how I screamed at a squirrel about to run right under my bike. I’m not sure who was more surprised. Me or the squirrel. Seriously, who screams at a rodent during a race?? Or how about the wild dog that decided to run out onto the bike course and nearly take out several racers going 40 miles an hour down a steep grade. Forgot about that too. Anyway, to get to the run leg, I’ll pick up at the very end of the bike course. My friend, Heidi, and I cruised down old Highway 40 and ended up back at the transition area to quickly put on our running shoes, hat and to see if my legs would actually hold me up. They did so I had to keep going.  Damn!  Keep in mind, I’ve now been racing for about 5 1/2 hours. As we left the transition, I told Heidi I had to pee, BADLY. She said, “Well, just go. That’s what triathletes do. We all do it. Just run and pee.” “WHAT?????????????” I replied. And then I started laughing, thinking how rediculous all us athletes truly are… and that was enough. I couldn’t hold it.  My giggles were like hammers pounding open the flood gates.  And so without actually making the decision to be a “true” triathlete and pee and run, I was forced into that elite crowd due to lack of bladder control. Problem was, I was still in the Donner Lake Park where lots of people where hanging around cheering us on!  Literally, dozens of people were clapping as we ran by.  I pulled my hat down low, praying no one would recognize me, and then prayed some more that my biking shorts would absorb the contents of my bladder.  And when I finally looked down… oh Lord!!  It was like a sprinkler was going off in my shorts!  Pee spraying every which way!  I was dying… both from embarrassement and from the fact it felt so good to be peeing! I now totally get why real triathletes do this!! It feels like stepping into a shower with clothes on… completely weird but exciting at the same time.   I’ve either totally lost it at this point, or this triathlon thing is definitely for me!  Fortunately, it was about 90 degrees so the entire mess dried before mile 3. The rest of the run leg was way less exciting. Literally, it was me talking to myself, forcing myself not to quit, playing mind games to keep one foot in front of the other and then at mile 12.5 I really wanted to give up. I had 5 minutes left in this 7 hour race and all I wanted to do was stop.  I tried to run faster, but literally I couldn’t.  And at mile 12.5, a 60 year old woman came up from behind me and said, “Come on!  Let’s finish this thing!”  And so she and I ran step for step the rest of the way into the finish line.  As I crossed, I was overcome with emotion.  I was about to break down sobbing when a friend of mine and her boyfriend came up and offered me a diet coke.  I choked down a few sips and was able to stop my flood of tears.  I didn’t know them well enough to sob in their arms so luckily I got control of my emotions.  Finally, I found Amy and Heidi.  We looked around at everyone at the finish line.  One guy was crawling on the ground moaning about how this race made him shit himself… twice.  Others were just shaking their head saying, “this is the hardest race they’ve ever done,”  and others were freaked out because they were doing this race as training for the Ironman Tahoe coming up on September 22.  It made me feel better that everyone else thought it was a tough race.  Because this race nearly broke me.  So Amy, after you read this, call me.   9 days later, and I’m just now able to laugh about it!!





About Wendy D

I was born in San Francisco and ended up marrying a rancher in Reno, Nevada. I have a big city job anchoring the 5 o’clock news but come home to the country where my husband’s family has ranched for 5 generations.


  1. Tonie Jacobs says:

    I loved your post on the Donner Lake Half-Ironman!!! You had me laughing so much, you have so much talent as a writer! I did the Iron Girl Sprint Tri in 2010 (that was enough for me,) so I get a little of what you had to go through. Thanks for making my day!

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