Sorry folks, this is a longish one.
My first full Sprint Triathlon was 6 months ago. It did not go well. I was a bit naive about nutrition, hydration and what the whole thing would do to me. I was last out of the water; with everyone clapping, which was nice. And also embarrassing, like “yaay! she didn’t drown”. Then I got on the bike. Well, having the cute little bottles in the cute little bottle holders is nice in theory, but a whole different world in action. My arms were dead from the swim. I felt like I could barely hold myself up. Then I was supposed to blindly reach down, grab my bottle and then put it back? Well, that was clearly above my skill set. I thought I was going to crash. Then I had the “SHE’S THE LAST ONE” scooter guy with me the entire last lap. More on him later. Needless to say, by the time I got off the bike, I had a raging headache and dizziness from dehydration. Then I had the infamous meltdown right before the run that we now refer to as Transition 3 (T3): Crying. And thankfully Brad was there to walk me around the 5k with Renee. And the first full one was in the books.
Then there was TriKeyWest in December. A bit longer than the first one in September. I finished. The swim went great (for me), the bike was a little bit of a system failure but that failure was more funny than anything (seriously, I wish there was video) and the 5k was tough with shinsplints. The thing about that race is although I knew I was near the bottom, because of the two distances, it was hard to tell where you were at because there were people coming and going everywhere. This is important and I’ll talk more about it in a minute. I finished (not last!) and was happy with my results.
After walking the 5k portion of those two races, I was determined to run the 5k of the next tri which was the one this past Saturday. I’ve really worked on my running, though the running has worked over me. I fully admire all of the runners out there. I wish I could do it. And though I’m improving, it’s coming painfully slow. It’s funny, going into Saturday I felt pretty confident. I knew I could do the swim, though not fast. I’m 100 lbs overweight, there’s only so fast I’m gonna go. The distance on the bike didn’t scare me. I clip in now and routinely do more than the 10 miles required of me. The gears still baffle me much to the chagrin of my training partner and bike guru, Dave. But whatevs, flat course, bit of wind, I knew I could grind it out. As for the 5k? Well, I wasn’t going to run it all, but I knew I could run a bit of it. So what the hell happened that had me crying like a baby during miles 2-3 of the 5k? oh boy.
I had zero nerves leading up to the race until really the morning of. I was excited and anxious. After my pre race vom, I was ready to go. This time I was doing some great visualization standing on the dock waiting for the start. This was a nice change from the shaking and crying of previous races. I took off and though the swim wasn’t perfect (insert massive choking fit here), I was ok. The majority of the pack was in sight a lot of the race! and there were three of us in the back. I think I was second to last out of the water. I got to T1 and the flippin’ scooter guy came up to me and said “are you doing the whole thing?” If I had strength in my arms, they would have had been around his neck. I told him with all the composure I could muster that Yes, I’m doing the whole thing and I would REALLY appreciate it if he didn’t yell how I was last the entire way around. He seemed perplexed and informed me that he had to let people know so they could clear the cones after me on US1. Well, no s*$t sherlock. But there’s a way to do it. He understood. And to his credit, kept a low profile. I got on the bike, couldn’t clip in well at all lol, but was on my way. I was able to hydrate and eat some gatorade chews. I was slow, but whatevs, I felt good. I was very close to being not last. Then as I got off the bike and hit T2, my back started hurting a bit. I took off (well, walking) and as I hit college road, my back seized up. It was awful, but I wasn’t going to quit. I mean, at that point, it was too far to turn around and frankly, for the first time, wasn’t even an option for me. There was one guy in front of me. I just kept running and walking hoping to gain some ground. About halfway around, he found another gear and took off. The bastard. I was so far behind that when I rolled up to the water station. There wasn’t really one. It was, no lie, a bottle of water and some paper cups. On the ground. For reals? No way I could bend over with my back so I asked the woman to please hand me the bottle. For F’s sake. Then because I was last, she was done. This little old lady hopped on her conch cruiser and started pedaling next to me. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. I asked her very politely (it came out politely in my head anyway) to please either go ahead or fall behind but to get the heck (probably said hell) out of my eye line. At about the 2 mile mark I see a figure coming towards me. I realized it was my trainer Bill. You know how you keep your chin up and fight until someone that cares about you asks how you’re doing and then you just start crying? yup. There was Bill full of concern and all of the emotion and disappointment I was feeling coming out of me like an explosion. my back hurt, I was last, I have no business doing Nautica in 2 weeks, why hasn’t that guy called me, when on earth will the Bruins win again, is there really no Duran Duran on my shuffle. You know. Totally rational thoughts. I was a mess. I just couldn’t get it together. I begged Bill to go on ahead. It was really important that I battled it out myself. He went ahead. No sooner did he get a bit ahead then scooter guy shows up with renee on the back of his scooter. As touched as I was to see her, I urged her to let me do it myself. I kept going while Renee and Bill got further ahead. I could not stop crying. Which did awesome things to my breathing. I felt totally broken and defeated. Then in the far distance, I could just start to make out the entrance to the college. gut check time. No, not mentally. Physically. would I vom if I started running? No was the answer. I just started to run and run. Then I had to walk, but mostly I ran the last mile (may have been less). Deirdre came out to check on me. I was again, touched, but needed to go on my own. I was never so happy to see a finish mat in my entire life. I crossed the line and then, embarrassingly started to cry again. Good lord, what’s the matter with me?! Everyone was super supportive and kind. I had finished. It was better than my previous time.
I just felt like a failure though. Nobody is as hard on us as we are on ourselves is so true. At least T3 was during the race, so I’m more efficient that way I guess. Why is this race so hard for me mentally when it’s actually the shortest course? I think it’s because we all start together. There’s absolutely no hiding the fact that not only am I last, but I’m last by, well, literally a mile. I also feel like there’s been minimal improvement. The whole thing was just discouraging. And that’s not a good thing with the longest Tri for me coming up in a couple of weeks. I took yesterday off. I was just completely spent physically and emotionally. I appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement. I’ll do Nautica. I feel like I need an extra couple weeks. But I don’t have it. I’m just putting my head down and plugging forward in my training and hoping for the best! I had a decent swim today and will log the miles and smiles along the way. Another 5k awaits me this Saturday. Someday, I’ll run the whole dang thing!