Friday, July 16, 2010

Mussel up

Oh, hi. Sorry for the false "resurfacing" hope a while back. Let's try it again. Here's part of what distracted me.

When I was drawing editorial cartoons, I liked to call them "sanctioned graffiti." I didn't predict that someday I'd be doing a much more literal version of sanctioned graffiti, but that's what I did last weekend.

This was part of the Musselman, a triathlon festival in Geneva, NY, up in the Finger Lakes, that just may be the best-run triathlon - hell, best-run event of any kind - anywhere. I did race, but the main reason I was out there was to paint the town, so to speak, or one specific part of it. And it wasn't just me. Hardly.

What we did was a big paint-by-number. On Friday, I sketched out the picture and painted the outlines in black and the color-area boundaries in gray. Then I raced the sprint Saturday morning and headed back to the wall. Mostly then I signed books and talked to people while the racers painted in the colors. The idea was that you were assigned color according to the last digit of your race number, but we quickly scrapped that because, well, it didn't really matter. Grab whatever color you want and paint seemed to work just as well while seeming a lot less anal-retentive. Saturday evening, I touched up whatever colors needed touching up (not much), and then Sunday I and however many hundred or thousand racers ran right past it with about three miles to go in the half-iron.

Pushing 10 years after the debut of my comic strip, it's still a trip to see my work in the newspaper. Running past it at the end of a great race is a whole 'nother kind of a trip. I recommend it highly.

Oh, the race: In spite of my whine-worthy spring and summer of very little training and sleep, my very busy week in which we closed on our former house the day before I left for the race, my abundant non-racing hours of painting in the sun and my meager portion of natural talent in general, I did OK.

I did Saturday's sprint (750 meter swim, 16 mi bike, 3.2 mi run) in 1:23:00, good for 5th in my 45-49 age group. The half-ironman (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run) went down in 5:23:38, good for 10th in my age group. That gave me 12th overall male or something for the Double Mussel, and I believe first in my age group if they'd had age groups for the double, which they didn't, which is quite fine. What I like is that I was expecting epic suffering and humiliation and enjoyed just the right amount of suffering and the same humiliation I always get from not having a single photogenic cell in my body to show the race photographers on the run course.

Now maybe I can start training and see what happens then. You know, like I started blogging again two weeks ago. I'll keep trying, and either I'll get it figured out or I'll get lucky. I enjoy either, and not just racing.


Sara Davis said...

The mural is an awesome idea. I would have loved to paint a piece of it.
I bet you could do some fund raisers that way. Charge folks to paint a color on the mural. I would pay.
Congrats on your good race.

Noel said...

Nice piece of art.
We are just starting to sell our house and make a bid on our new one. We hope the overlap isn't too long.

Jef Mallett said...

I wish I could take more credit for it, but all I supplied were the design and the outlines. The other racers supplied the color labor, and race director Jeff Henderson and city councilor (and racer) Jackie Augustine brainstormed the mass-participation idea. And now Sara's had a great idea that I can't take credit for. That's a really great idea. I hope it catches on -- but only after I catch up. It was worth every second, and it was a lot of hours.