First Annual Mister Rogers Madaket Triathlon

The inaugural staging of the Mister Rogers Madaket Triathlon went off without a hitch today. I finished with a new course record — heck, the only recorded course time, ever — of 1:26:19.

It was a blustery 60 degrees, windy and full-on rainy when I sprinted down the dunes and into the bay. I’ve never swam in such chop. I lost sight of the buoy almost immediately, and was way off course when I finally saw it through the waves. As the water fell away, deeper and colder, I kept reminding myself, ‘Dude, Mr. Rogers swam here all the time. It has to be safe.’ I finished the swim in just under ten minutes.

Long story short, the bike was a hassle ‘cuz my rental was a hybrid (lame), it was windy as heck, there were ankle deep puddles 10 yards across, and raind drops pelting my face the whole way. But I buckled down, sucked it up, sang U2’s ‘In The Name Of Love’ (in my head), and kept on. That’s what Mr. Rogers would have done, right? (I mean, except the U2 part.)

The run was challenging, but the rain had let up, and there was even some evidence that the sun might break through. The last 400 yards of the course is along the beach, and was the most beautiful finish of any race I’ve ever run. I was thinking about how Mr. Rogers had single-handedly changed my life when I heard him say ‘You changed your life.’

I don’t know whether I’ll ever make this little event of mine into anything of note — I can imagine a big Labor Day race and after-party celebrating of Mr. Rogers benefitting Madaket Land Trust and sponsored by Cisco Beer, Nantucket Nectars, etc etc — or whether I really want to. But I’m really glad I did it, for reasons that I assume will become clearer over time.

After the race, I showered up (mmmm, warm water), and headed into town where I had lunch with Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror reporter extraordinaire Hadley St. John. She wrote the local paper’s account of Mr. Rogers’ passing back in February and, like all people, has an interesting story of her own. We had a great time eating a sub below the still-gray, still-blustery sky. It was nice to make a friend on island, and cool to see another newsroom.

After lunch, I had a massage at a local spa (birthday present — thanks mom), then went to Cisco Brewery, where we sampled every beer available and purchased some schwag, before heading back into town for burger and (more) beer.

Downtown was quiet, dark and cold. The cobblestone streets were empty. Summer was gone in an instant, really. But like a firefly in a glass jar, I held it for one flickering moment. And it was bright, and warm, and good.

Best of all, as we turned towards home onto Massachusetts Avenue in Madaket, we saw lights on in the Crooked House. Someone was there…

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