TandemHearts

Why do I do this again?

July 31st, 2011

“Everyone else looks like they are having fun. You look totally freaked and stressed,”  Thom said as we were waiting for my swim wave to start at the beginning of my race. And I was totally freaked and stressed, so much so I thought I might barf.  My stomach was  twisted up like a pretzel.  I had spent the last two weeks obsessing over numbers – last year’s results, my training, doing endless equations to predict how I was going to do.  This was going to the year of a PR and it was going to be great.  I was well trained and had finally become a runner.  I had a plan and I was going to execute it to perfection and this was stressing me out. “Why do I do this?”

I was most worried about the swim and here it was staring me in the face – 1.2 miles.  I don’t swim a lot.  When life throws me curve balls,  I throw my swim training out for the week.  Prior to the race, I had swum just over 10,000 yards for the year and 1/5 of those yards were in two other races!  I knew I could do the distance, but could I do it fast enough and not tire myself out?  I had tried to be realistic about it with a goal of 40 minutes.  I headed into the water, among the last wave of swimmers, still feeling all twisted up in the gut.  I swam a few strokes to get to the  front and center.  The gun went off and so did I.   Now that I was finally racing, I began to feel better.  I was swimming easy, just the way I planned.  Before I even swam under the first bridge, a couple of hundred yards upriver, I was passing purple caps from the wave that started three minutes  before me.   Just after the second bridge, I was passing green caps, from two waves in front of me.  I was still swimming easy, like a stroll in the park.   Just before the turnaround,  yellow caps – three waves ahead.  The swim was going exactly as I had planned.  I stayed out of the lily pads and I was doing a nice, easy pace.  I exited the water in 37:07, a good time, and I was feeling great.

With a jackhammer pounding in my head and my right quad aching at mile twenty-five on the bike – crap 31 miles to go! – I pondered, “Why do I do this again?” I had done the math in my head and knew there was no way I was going to PR.  The first 18 miles had been fantastic.  I was following my nutrition plan and I felt good.  Then the headache came and with it, my overuse injury in my right quad decided to make itself felt.   By mile twenty-five I was feeling terrible.  Did I even want to keep going?  Oh, yeah, this was what I had been training for.  I was going to finish.  It wasn’t going to be what I wanted, but I was going to finish.   I started deliberately going easier on the bike.  I knew the run was going to hurt, even without my quad bugging me.   With it picking today to make itself felt, I knew I was going to need to baby it.  Oddly, the flat sections on the bike bothered it more than climbing   Chalk Hill was a piece of cake.  “Really, I’m at the top already?”

The run was more walk than run and was really just an exercise in determination.  I have to work  on better pacing.  When I was running, my GPS was constantly beeping that I was too fast.  I need to find that 11 minute pace because I can’t sustain the sub ten I kept doing.  The best thing about the run?  Otter Pops at the turnaround!

Why do I do this?  For the guilt free French Fries and Oreo cookie shake from Jack in the Box.  🙂

 

Seriously,  I spent a great deal of my race considering this question.  The anxiety I was feeling in the days leading up to the race was no fun.  The race itself is physically demanding and difficult.  Why do I do this?

 

I love training!   I don’t always love it at the time I’m doing.  Really, who wants to run intervals at 4 AM?   I love being in the best shape of my life,  better even than when I was 19 and swimming competitively in college.  Planning how to get better and then following through on the plan is exciting and fun.   I have come so far in the last year (regardless of  these race results)  and I can see getting even better.   I am goal oriented and driven.  I thrive on doing hard things and I’m competitive.  Double centuries, Half Ironman Tris … they’re hard and they make me train.  Yeah, I’m disappointed that the race didn’t go exactly as I wanted.   But really it’s about the journey that brings me to the event, what I learn there and how does that alter the next journey.

I’m signing up for a sprint tri in September.  This one really is for fun.  I’m not going to look at past results.  I’m not going to obsess over predicting how I’ll do.  This is for fun and I expect I’ll crush my previous times.  🙂

 

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