Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in 1067 days…race an ITU triathlon (more in a later blog). I had such high hopes and was actually more nervous than normal about the race. Leading up to the race I didn’t feel that great, but it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary for casting myself into a new environment for the first race of the season.
Jon and I were staying about 30mins by bike from the race site. We decided to spin to the race in the morning and then try to stay out of the sun until the swim warm up. The waves were quite large on the entry to the swim and I was actually having a hard time focusing. My mind was filled with a million different thoughts and it wasn’t until the gun went that my mind started to quiet. I had a descent entry into the water and didn’t get hit by any bad waves. I got tossed around in the water and swallowed my share of salty ocean water. I started to feel better in the swim as time went on, but was just about 15secs behind a large pack of guys. The run to T1 was about 500m and I really tried to run hard and make up the gap, but the legs just weren’t there.
Exiting T1, I knew I planned on putting in a solid effort to try and bridge up to the gap. Unfortunately again, my legs just weren’t there to make that move. I ended up hovering about 20sec back riding alone for 12km. Looking behind me, I saw a group of 4 riders and made the decision to sit up and let them catch me, hoping together we could catch the next pack. I ended up having to really back off the pace to let them catch me and immediately I realized this was a bad decision. The group was very disorganized, so immediately I started yelling orders at everyone and trying to get people to rotate through and share the work. An American named O’Brady and I were definitely the strongest so I suggested we try and break away. This was a great idea until O’Brady was taken down by one of the other riders and I had to bunny hop him and actually rode right over his chest. I thought I was done right there. The rest of the 40km bike ride involved me getting very frustrated with guys that wouldn’t work and myself doing 80% of the work at the front and the rest of the time trying to avoid being taken out by the other athletes bad bike handling skills.
Now it was time for the run, the hot, humid, unrelenting run. My legs were cooked from the bike and on the first 2.5km my legs felt like sweaty cement pillars. I tried everything I could to keep me cool in the 30+ heat. There was a water station every 500m and I took full advantage grabbing 2-3 bags of water at each station and pouring it on my head and body and carrying the cool liquid in my had. The whole run my body just wasn’t there and I couldn’t every find that fast gear. My mind went through every emotion on the run from “I’m better than this”, “I’m going to have to walk”, “I’m feeling ok”. Then, it was all over. I finished a very disappointing 22nd wasn’t pleased at all. Yesterday hurt a lot.
There are positive to take away from the race, but it’ll take a couple days for me to fully digest the disappointment that occurred yesterday. This was the smartest I’ve ever raced in the heat, but I need to take a couple more risks and make the race happen for myself. I know it’s not the race that my friends, family and supporters had wanted for me, but it wasn’t the race I wanted for myself.
Congrats to all the other athletes there that finished. It was a tough day and my hat goes off to all of you.
Now, back to the drawing board before Monroe.