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Know Regrets

Know Regrets

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Know Regrets

308 página
4 horas
Apr 7, 2010


A fun, adventurous and inspiring novel about reawakening a life long dream of competing in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii, finding the courage to act on it, through to its realization. A Journey full of challenges, temptation and uncertainty, both on and off the race course, spanning from the comfortable suburbs of Boston, to the wild night life of Waikiki, over to the forbidding lava fields of the Big Island, in pursuit of a deeply seeded dream. Know Regrets shows that the decision to pursue a dream and the journey along the way are just as important as fulfilling the dream itself. Foreword by Karen Smyers, Ironman Triathlon World Champion.
Apr 7, 2010

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Know Regrets - Tim Durant




Trip pressed the light button on his watch again; 4:00 a.m. beamed through the darkness. He slipped out from under the warm covers and walked across the hall to peek in on the kids.

The soft green glow of the Shrek night-light filled the room. The smell of dirty socks brought a smile to his face. Both Sara and Sam appeared to be sound asleep, nestled in their beds. Only the sound of a dog’s tail beating against the floor greeted him as he stood at the foot of the two beds. Trip stared at his children, smiling, wondering what they were dreaming about. He turned to leave and heard Sara’s voice whisper wearily, Dad, is that you?

Hey buddy, what are you doing awake? Trip whispered back. He bent over and gave her a soft kiss on the forehead. You should be asleep.

I had fun with you at work yesterday, she said.

Me too, Trip responded softly.

Someday I’ll work for you all the time.

Trip got chills. What makes you say that?

I don’t know.

Don’t you worry about working for me. There are a lot more options out there than just landscaping. You can do anything you set your mind to.

You always say that, she whispered back.

Sam rustled in the bed next to them. Trip looked over and saw Sam roll onto his side and pull a letter out from under his pillow. Trip saw the logo on the front and knew exactly what it was. Instantly a lead brick feeling formed in his stomach.

Grandma asked Sara and me to find something for her in the barn last night. We found this, too. Sam held the letter out to Trip; Trip’s hand paused as if he didn’t want to touch it. The letter was stiff and flat from being pressed between the pages of an old book. He didn’t need to open it. the Ironman logo told him all he needed to know. It was a dream that he had hidden away almost twenty years ago and had tried to forget.

I read the letter. You got into the Ironman! You qualified! Did you do it? Sam and Sara perked up, awaiting the answer.


Why not? Sam replied, deflated from the answer.

Trip thought for a moment. It’s complicated.

Sam glared at his dad. You always drag us to these dumb races, we miss...

They’re not dumb! Sara insisted, cutting him off.

Yeah, well if they’re so important how come he didn’t do the Ironman? You’re always telling us we can do anything, Sam snapped.

Sara stared at her dad. How come you didn’t do it?

Trip looked vacantly across the room. He searched for an answer. His throat was dry and tight. The answer was there, like a reflection in a fogged mirror. Finally he stood up.

It’s all crap! Sam blurted.

You can’t say that. It’s a swear word.

I can say what I want. You always tell us we can do anything and it’s not true, is it?

The race starts in few hours. I’m going to get something to eat, Trip said softly. Without looking at Sam or Sara, he walked out.

From above, the lake looked like a clean, black sheet of glass. Small strands of mist rose off the water in the early morning sunlight. The lone cry of a loon echoed through the air and the still pine trees and empty docks were interrupted only by the bustle on the small beach that was carved into the woods on the west side of the lake. The sand was still cool from the early autumn night. Three hundred and twelve men and women, with ages ranging from seventeen to sixty-eight, waited for The Fall Classic Triathlon to begin.

Is this your first triathlon? the man asked.

No, I’ve done a few. Trip continued to stretch his shoulders and take long deep breaths. The familiar blended aroma of pine and lake water filled his lungs and coated his nerves.

It’s my first one. I’ve run some 10k’s and stuff, but never a triathlon. I’m not a swimmer. I’m actually trying to bury some demons. The man chuckled nervously and swung his arms around like a windmill in a hurricane, trying to calm himself.

What do you mean? Trip wasn’t in a chatting mood, but the man looked as if he would have told him anyhow.

I never learned to swim. I’ve always been afraid of the water. Last year I almost drowned up in New Hampshire. I was so mad at myself that I said I was going to do a triathlon. I figured it would force me to learn to swim and get me over the fear of the water.

The story left an empty feeling in Trip’s stomach.

Man, you’ve got guts. You’ll do fine. Trip tried to sound confident. Look, it’s just about a mile out around those orange buoys and then back to the beach.

You make it sound so easy. Those buoys don’t look very close. I just want to get back to the beach without drowning. He chuckled again. If I can do that, I’m sure I can slug my way through the twenty-six-mile bike and then run—or walk—the six.

One minute for the first heat! A voice came through a megaphone. All yellow-capped racers, one minute!

Several people from the long line at the porta-potties dashed into the woods.

Gotta go. Good luck, Trip said.

Nice meeting you, the man said and quickly grabbed Trip’s hand. Trip felt one of his knuckles crack from the tight, nervous squeeze.

Trip smiled and made his way to the water’s edge.

My name’s George, said the man as he followed Trip. Trip waved over his shoulder.

The mass of green, red, and white-capped racers slowly shifted positions, giving the first heat a clear path to the lake. Trip maneuvered to the front of the pack. The group was quiet. Trip was still thinking about George’s story. The small early morning audience began to cheer in anticipation. The racers didn’t react as they re-checked their watches one last time, made goggle adjustments or mumbled a last-minute piece of self-motivation. Final race instructions blared above the excitement.

The starting horn shrieked. The first group of sixty-four racers ran into the lake. The audience and remaining racers cheered them on. Trip dashed ahead of the pack and made a long dive into the cool black water. The first racers cut into the smooth surface, causing a froth of white water that stirred the lake awake. Nervous energy and competitive drive was being thrust into the water with the kicking legs and flailing arms. Each swimmer maneuvered to claim their space. Trip was just ahead of the chaotic pack, swimming like a hungry piranha scurrying for a piece of food. Slowly, the pack began to thin and spread out, with Trip and a small group of others creating a spearhead through the glassy water, propelling forward on their quest for the finish line.

Earlier, Trip had analyzed the course from the beach. He had counted each orange buoy, marking the swim course, and estimated their distances. The route was a large rectangle with the first of the two large orange buoys floating about a quarter of a mile from the beach. The second leg was about a half-mile swim parallel to the beach. The final leg, after the second large buoy, was a quarter-mile swim back to the finish, on the opposite end of the beach from the starting line.

As the bulk of the lead group rounded the second buoy and headed toward the finish line, a smaller pack of five people were already halfway there. Trip, breathing every three strokes, could see that he was between Bob Stanley and Sean Howe. Both were college level swimmers. Their strokes seemed long and effortless as Trip gasped for each breath. Charlie Litsky was just behind them. Charlie was their coach. Not far off Charlie’s ankle was Peter O’Meara a previous state champion swimmer.

A race coordinator was yelling out the times as the first racers crossed under the swim finish. 21:04! Screams of encouragement greeted the swimmers as they peeled off their goggles and wet suit tops and scrambled through the sand toward T1, the first transition area.

Trip got his footing and began to run in the waist-deep water as fast as he could. The sand slipped under his feet and the pressure of the water against his legs made it feel as if he were running in slow motion. He peeled his goggles and swim cap from his head; his lungs fought for air. Instinctively, he looked at his watch and punched a button to mark the end of the swim.

21:12! Sara yelled, running to meet Trip at the water’s edge. Trip gave her the thumbs-up as he passed, still catching his breath. He grabbed the zipper leash from over his shoulder and began to work the top of his wetsuit off while maintaining his jog toward the transition area. The suit peeled off his upper body like a second skin.

Go, Dad! Go! Sara shouted as she ran back through the crowd, trying to keep up with him. She wasn’t loud, but Trip could hone in on that voice in a hurricane. His daughter’s cheer fired him up with a shot of energy as he passed through the chute toward T1. Sara found a small gap and squeezed her way up to the rope. She held out her small hand and Trip delivered a wet high five as he passed. He jogged quickly into the transition area, trying not to step on an errant stick or rock.

Hurry up, Dad! Sara yelled, looking at her watch again, as she followed him to T1.

Why do you yell at Dad so much in the changing area? Sam asked.

It’s called a transition area, not a changing area.


The transition times still count, you know. He still needs to go fast.

What do you mean they still count? Sam replied.

They still count. You know, toward his overall time. Even though he’s not swimming, biking or running, the T1 and T2 times still count toward his total race time.

Over here, here! Sara yelled. Trip saw her pointing to his bike with one hand while squeezing her stopwatch tightly with the other. He waved at her and flashed a smile. He had already calculated his exact bike position before the start, though. Three rows in from the entrance on the right, fifth bike from the end. Trip had learned the lesson of needing to know exactly where your bike was many years ago. He had come out of the water and hadn’t known which row his bike was in. All the bikes had looked the same stacked so closely together. It had taken him several minutes of wasted time, running up and down the isles, before he had eventually found his.

Today the beach parking lot had been converted into the transition area. Inside the roped-off area were rows of metal pipes clamped onto wooden horses that stretched for forty feet. Each racer had their designated piece of real estate in which to park their bike and set up their other equipment. Trip’s bike was wedged in between others that were hooked onto the rack.

Thirty seconds, Sara yelled.

Trip wiped the sand off of his feet before slipping on his bike shoes. He grabbed his number belt and clipped it on. Like every race, his running and biking shoes, number belt, sunglasses, socks, helmet, extra water bottles and towel were all laid out in perfect order next to his bike. The number twelve marked in black ink on his biceps flexed as he clipped on his helmet.

You’re doing great, Dad, keep going! Sara yelled. Forty seconds!

You don’t have to tell him every ten seconds, Sam said. Sara ignored him.

Fifty seconds. First one out! First one out! Sara was now yelling in near panic tone as she saw Charlie leave the transition area.

Trip grabbed his bike off the rack and jogged it to the exit. The gritty click of his bike shoes on the sandy pavement followed him out of T1. He looked briefly at Sara and Sam, flashed one last smile and mounted his bike. Without thinking, settled onto his tri-bars, clipped his shoes into his pedals and started his legs pumping.

Click! 1:12, Sara yelled again.

Bob and Peter were close behind Trip coming out of the T1 exit. The flow of racers from the water was becoming steadier.

Trip had Charlie in his sights. He could hear the smooth sound of the chain, gears and derailleur spinning in perfect unison beneath him. His legs and feet pumped on his pedals. He passed Charlie about five and a half miles out.

I think you have a flat, Trip said as he whizzed by.

You suck, came the reply from behind.

Trip glanced down again at his bike computer for pace and distance, and then at his watch to check his heart rate. He was averaging a steady one hundred and fifty-four beats per minute while holding a twenty-six-and-a-half mile-per-hour pace.

I feel good. I know Fletch is closing on me, though. I’ve got to hold him off until at least the sixteen-mile mark.

Trip kept his head down and didn’t look back. His legs pumped beneath him while energy and confidence pumped through his veins. The air whistled like a tea kettle through the vents in his helmet. The early Sunday morning roads were still relatively quiet. Trip imagined everyone in their warm beds as he raced through the suburban neighborhoods. He would swim, bike, and run over thirty-three miles before most of them had even taken their first sip of morning coffee.

He wouldn’t trade it for anything. These were the moments where he felt most alive, most at peace and most exhilarated at the same time. He loved the training, the sweat, the challenge and the competition.

Thanks, Trip offered to a volunteer as he zipped passed. The lone volunteer was holding back a single car at an intersection. Trip raced through without even touching his brakes. When he came upon a couple who were out for a morning bike ride, he passed them like a Porsche would pass a horse and buggy. Trip had just finished pretending that they were a part of the race when the distinct purr of a high-performance tire crept up on him from behind, like a tiger closing in on its prey. It was Fletcher. He passed Trip smoothly twelve-point-two miles into the bike. Neither racer looked at the other. Trip hadn’t expected the pass to happen so early. He dug deep and picked up his pace. He wanted to keep Fletcher in his sights going into the T2. Trip had been in this position with Fletcher several times before. He knew he could catch him in the run if he didn’t give up too much time on the bike.

Trip rounded the corner. Sara let out a shriek of excitement as Trip flew past. Click! Sara hit the stopwatch as he zipped into T2.

Fletcher was just leaving T2 as Trip hung up his bike. Sam and Sara ran back to the transition area and watched him from the exit. Trip tossed off his helmet and ripped open the Velcro straps on his shoes. He had pushed extra hard to stay close to Fletcher on the ride and he could feel it now. He could see his legs shaking as he slipped on his running shoes. He took a final swig of Gatorade with a salt tablet and ran to the exit.

Click! Forty-seven seconds, you got him, Dad! Trip heard Sara yell from behind. He flashed her a thumbs-up. He felt another shot of energy from Sara’s yells as he set out on the run.

Trip exited T2 with two others on his heels. His legs felt numb and slow at first, but the blood began to circulate in his legs after the first mile and he picked up his pace. He checked his watch constantly, evaluating his heart rate. It was higher than he was used to. Normally he would catch Fletcher by the second mile, but not today. Fletcher was still holding a firm lead. Trip gained on him by mile four. The pounding of his shoes on the pavement and the powerful drive of his arms propelled him to within a hundred yards of Fletcher’s heel.

Trip held on to the hundred-yard gap for over six minutes. He stared at Fletcher’s back. Their legs were in perfect unison, and he could see Fetcher’s strong upright body. From behind it seemed as if he was pushing out the 5:50 pace with almost no effort. The toes of his feet touched the pavement like a deer running through a field.

Trip was breathing hard. He passed a small sign on the side of the road that read ‘Mile 5’. His mind said ‘faster’ but his body couldn’t accommodate. Something inside him clicked and he slowed his pace. It was a slowing that only he could discern. It was more of a mental slowing rather than a slowing of speed. He didn’t have a cramp or a pulled muscle. Something deeper prevented him from making a charge to the finish line with everything he had.

Trip rounded the final bend and ran toward the finish. The small crowd of a hundred or so cheered loudly. Trip watched Fletcher cut through the winning tape ahead of him.

Trip knew when they saw him because he could hear her scream. Sara’s voice was a few decibels above the rest of the crowd. She was jumping up and down like a cheerleader for the local team. Trip’s stride appeared almost effortless.

About ten yards before crossing the finish line, another racer dashed in front of him. Trip crossed for third place. He glanced up at the race clock and knew he could have done better. After all that work, his performance in the final stretch left him feeling unfulfilled. Sara ran to her dad and wrapped her small arms around him. The sweat from his body soaked into her clothes.

I told you. I knew you would do great! exclaimed Sara. You were awesome, Dad! Fletcher was scared. I could see it in his face.

You guys are the best pit crew ever! I couldn’t have done it without you, Trip said between breaths. Find me something to drink, please. His legs throbbed while he paced, catching his breath.

Trip stood in front of the thinning crowd to accept his third place trophy. It was a beautiful early fall day. Clouds like huge white cotton balls floated overhead. Last year there had been a biting forty-degree wind. Today, the warm Indian summer shone down on Trip. He looked out at the small clapping audience. He recognized many of the faces from the regional races he had done over the years. He focused in on Sam and Sara. Sam looked around as if he was ready to go. Sara’s eyes glistened. Her smile was from ear to ear. Trip wished he felt as proud of himself as she appeared to be of him. He continued to remind himself that this was just a hobby. The races were just for fun. Whether he won, came in 3rd or just finished, it shouldn’t really matter.

Dad, hurry up. I don’t want to be late for my game. Sam said.

Trip loaded his bike onto the back of his pickup truck. Blades of cut grass were scattered across the bed. Sara was busy chatting with other racers as she pranced about the parking lot showing off her dad’s trophy.

C’mon, Sara, Trip shouted across the parking lot. We’ll be late for soccer! The tone in his voice was getting a little more stern. She quickly came scampering across the lot as if she had just heard him for the first time. Sara hopped in the back of the king cab with Sam just behind her, ready to climb into the front seat.

How did you do? came a voice from over Sam’s shoulder.

George! Trip jumped down from the back of the truck. How did you do?

I had to hang on to a kayak a few times, but I finished without drowning. So, how about you?

I did okay.

He came in third, Sara chimed in from the backseat of the truck, holding out the trophy.

These are my kids, Sam and Sara, and I’m Taylor, by the way. You can call me Trip, though, he added.

Trip? Seems like a funny nickname for a triathlete.

Well, my full name is Taylor Samuel Daniels, the third. My dad always called me Trip, short for triple...the third...get it?

Got it, George said finally with a smile.

I bet your dad trains a lot, doesn’t he? George said to Sara.

Yup. He does his wind workouts in the week and then the long stuff on the weekends.

Sam rolled his eyes. It seems like he’s always training to me.

Wow, you sure know a lot about triathlons for such a youngster. How old are you?

"Almost eleven. I’ve been helping my dad with triathlons ever since I can remember.

He says he has a gift like Martin Reese, except for triathlons, Sara continued.

Who’s Martin Reese?

Trip began to shake his head in embarrassment.

He was the smartest guy in Daddy’s high school, Sara said.

George looked confused.

Martin got all A’s, but he never had to study that much, Sam interjected.

After a brief pause George lit up as if he had just solved the riddle. Oh, I see. Your dad wins these races, but doesn’t have to train that much.

That’s not really true. I do train.

Mostly when I have a soccer game, or when we want to go to the movies, or...

Sam, Trip said with a stern look.

Have you been doing triathlons for a long time? George asked.

Ever since college...about twenty years or so.

I didn’t even know what a triathlon was five years ago. After my swimming accident, I got really into it, though. Have you done a really long one?

Yeah, a long time ago. I just do the short stuff now.

Have you ever done the Ironman?

Trip paused. No, not the big one.

The way you did today, you could probably do it. Have you ever tried to qualify?

Wow, you ask a lot of questions there, George. Trip forced a chuckle.

I know. Sorry about that. I’m pretty fired up after my first race.

Trip shut the back door. I have to get these guys home for lunch before their soccer games. It was nice meeting you. Congratulations again.

See you at the next race, George said with a wave.

You could win any race you wanted, Sara said.

I don’t know about that, Trip said. Are you buckled?

Why didn’t you tell him you qualified for the Ironman before? Sam asked. Trip didn’t answer.

Why don’t you do the Ironman now? Sara asked.

"You don’t know anything about the Ironman! You can’t just do the Ironman!" Trip snapped.

Sara became quiet. Trip thought for a moment and remembered how just the thought of doing the Ironman used to effect him.

I’m just an old fart now, Trip said, hoping to take the sting out of what he’d said. Sara didn’t respond. Today was a great day for a race, he continued. He passed two Gatorades to the backseat.

How about some music? Trip slipped in a Hoobastank CD to perk up the car.

Trip and Sara sang aloud to the first few songs but Sam didn’t join in. Track five started with the familiar cord of the electric guitar. As he had done instinctively a thousand times before, Trip turned up the volume to front-row-concert level. He wanted every ounce of energy in the song to envelop his head. It was like a drug the way this song affected him. The lyrics, the pounding beat and the ripping guitars all fused together and formed the perfect stimulant. This was definitely a ‘grabber’, the type of song that you had to play over and over again, that made your pulse quicken, your mind wander, and your confidence spike. There had been dozens of these grabbers over the years for Trip. The very first one he could remember was Jumping Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones, then Walk This Way by Aerosmith. The grabbers would somehow point him in a direction that made the impossible possible. They would fill him with confidence, drowning out

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