Do you remember the T'Challa and M'Baku battle for the throne? T'Challa won in the end, but he got his butt WHUPPED! Yeah, that is how I felt after finishing today's race. I finished, but it was a hard fought battle of me against the asphalt and my thoughts.
THANKFUL. That is the word given to me by Lisa this morning. We met in the parking lot at 4:45am to head to the park for the race. I began to tell her how I had recently read some old race reports and how I needed to have a good race experience, which means I need to train harder and more consistently, so race day could just be the test for all the hard work I put in while training. She immediately recognized that negative self talk about to come out and nipped that right in the bud. She reminded me that no matter how hard or consistently I train, I never know what race day will bring. She shared that she is going into this race and every race THANKFUL. Thankful for the ability to do this physically. She's right. We are blessed to have the mental and physical strength to get through these challenges. The sport of triathlon is expensive, so we are blessed to have the financial resources, and some of us have family support to make this all attainable. Triathlon is a tough sport, but for many of us, it's therapy and it strengthens us mentally to take on the many challenges in life. So, I carried that word with me today. I was THANKFUL.
The fact that I was able to compete at all today was a blessing. Mid week last week, I felt a vertigo spell coming on. I didn't know if it was from my head injury, as I still get vertigo spells for some reason, or if it was just sinus congestion/my sinuses draining to my middle ear again. I took a few days to take Zyrtec D twice a day and pushed forward cautiously. I went for a swim on Friday night and found that I only felt dizzy if I breathed to my right. I knew the race course had all buoys were to my left, so I would be okay. I have been training, but not as consistently as I need to and I have not been incorporating other exercises in, that will prevent injury. However, I knew that I could swim 0.9 miles, cycle 25 miles and run 6.2 miles, so I headed up to the race site on Saturday after a day of real estate business.
Swim: 0.9 miles
Uneventful. The course was clearly marked and there was plenty of race support on the water. It seemed like it took forever, so I know that I need to work on my swimming endurance. When I saw Layla swimming by me towards the end (she started in the wave after me), I knew that I needed to work on my form and speed again. I reminded myself that today was all about racing MY race. My race, my pace. My day was going to be representative of the training that I put in, and no matter if I was passed by everyone on the course, I was going to finish. My motto is: FINISHING IS WINNING. I finished and was terribly dizzy upon exiting the water, but I pressed forward.
Bike: 25 miles
It was a little tough getting ready for the bike. The dizziness continued as I put on my shoes and bent over to get the rest of my stuff ready. I knew I would be fine if I just kept my head up. My T1 (1st transition) was a little long, but before long, I felt comfortable with pressing forward. If I am completely honest, I am still very nervous about riding on wet roads. I am almost back to my pre accident confidence on the bike, but wet roads still makes me proceed with a lot of caution. I reminded myself again: MY RACE, MY PACE. It helped that my coach was on the course and I could chase Layla and Lisa, so I was motivated to go at my fastest comfortable pace. The course was fair. It had a few inclines over bridges and false flats, but no real hills.
Run: 6.2 miles
It felt more like 62 miles to me. The course was fair, but my legs felt shot. There was only a little bump of a hill, but relatively flat and on a shady course. I haven't done any of my scheduled brick (bike then run) workouts, so my legs were screaming at me in the first mile. I wasn't in pain and nothing was wrong out there, except I just wanted to be done. I took many walk breaks and reminded myself that I was a finisher and I would soon earn my medal, and I did!!
THANKFUL. I am most thankful for Lisa and her positivity, and for my coach who pushed me to keep moving every time I saw her on the course. All of the athletes and volunteers were positive and shared words of encouragement. All in all, it was a good day. It showed me that I need to get more consistent with training and other exercises to help make me the best triathlete that I can be.
This was a great race course and venue. The location was a short 2 hour drive from DC, plus the race staff and volunteers were second to none. If you are in the DC/Baltimore/Philly/Jersey area, I would highly suggest you consider this race next year. It had the feel of a Rev 3 race, but on a smaller, nicer and more intimate scale.