Breakfast at Waffle House. It's what I crave.
Normally, I can live without breakfast. It's never been my favorite meal. But after a triathlon I've got to have Waffle House. I have compromised in the past. I have gone to other restaurants which serve fine breakfasts, thank you very much. But they never hit the spot. The only thing that my body after the triathlon craves is the greasy, cheesy, and fried food from Waffle House.
I have no idea why I crave it. Is my body suddenly trying to replace all the fat cells I burned off? ( I saw a great sign along the running route: "It's not sweat, it's your fat cells crying.") Whatever it is I am craving, it can be found at Waffle House. Maybe its the radioactive yellow grease? Possibly the absolutely-looks-nothing-like-cheese cheese? Or maybe, its the fact the same grease was used to cook the Fiesta Omelette three days ago? There's also the possibility the cook has done something unspeakable to the food. (I think there's a reason you can keep your eye on the cook at Waffle House.)
So L. and I walk into Waffle House with the number 268 written in bold black ink on my arms and legs on a Sunday morning, er, noon. I'm sure the previous night's patron's had different tattoos - skulls, barbed wire and the inevitable arcane Japanese symbol. But, honestly, I was plenty proud of my 268. Rocketman was an olympic triathlon this year, the longest tri I've done, and I wasn't in a hurry to scrub off my 268. At least I didn't take my shirt off to show all my 268's. Waffle House does still have the No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service policy and I wanted my breakfast.
Everyone in the tri has start number on written on them as well as their age and whether you are participating as a team or an individual. I was 268, so it took me a while before I jumped into the Tennessee River. But I'm a good swimmer, I finished strong...I only got kicked a couple of times. The bike through the test ranges of the army base was tough. It was windy - great when the wind is at your back but it sucks when you are riding into the wind. The run is always my undoing in a triathlon. This was no exception. The first mile of the 6.2 mile run and my legs were on fire. After that I felt like I was standing still as fifteen-year-old kids and sixty-year-old ladies passed me. I mean really, I can't run faster than a sixty-year-old lady? Oh, and then, the last mile, it rained. I had said a little prayer before the race. I figure the rain was my guardian angels which had been dispatched to watch over were laughing at me so hard they were crying. I don't know how I placed. I'm not sure I want to know. But I did finish.
As I gathered up my bike, goggles, shoes and headed back to the car I passed the free pizza, snacks, and fruit offered at the end of the race. You can keep your post-race pizza, I wanted the Awful Waffle. I wanted to hear the waitress say "smothered, covered, and diced..." as she called out my order. I was already thinking about the cholesterol-filled goodness undoing all the good my triathlon training had done. I will never get a prize or a medal for finishing a triathlon. But, no matter how far back I finish, I will always have my victory "smothered, covered, and diced..."