I always hear stories about people starting the swim in a triathlon and getting kicked in the face or getting caught up on the crowd. I can now join the group on that one. I swam in high school and have surfed for long enough that I have always been able to get out in front on the swim, get to clean water and get into my rhythm early on. Not this time! With one mass start of over 300 competitors it was a mess that I was not ready for. It may have been the shock from the cold water or the kicks to the face but I found myself struggling to catch my breath and stay afloat after only about 50 meters…. Backstroke to a light breast stroke my swim became a means to stay afloat and regain my mind. My mind was flooding… this is my first Xterra of the season and I was supposed to be ready…
This would be another wonderful learning lesson for me… This is what tests or races are for anyways. I really had not been swimming or training like I should. I don’t have a schedule, coach or team that I work with... Perhaps an insight into my recent injuries? I would repeat countless times on our way home yesterday “you train like you want to race because you WILL race like you have trained!”
Attitude is everything so I push on and after I reach the second buoy I find my rhythm. I may have lost valuable time in the process but I have the majority of the race ahead at this point so I remain positive and press on.
(trying to make up time on the bike and enjoying the ride)
My transitions and the tricky spots on the bike course that practiced the day before go over perfectly. Most people were more than accommodating when getting passed and would pull to the side at the first mention of “on your left”. All except the one guy who did not want to move over after several attempts to pass him on my first lap. After four attempts to pass I surged uphill and called “on your left” only to have him turn left and push me off the trail and into a rock. Agghh… And it was uphill! Over the handlebars number one! I get passed by a few people who are willing to let me squeeze by again only to catch this guy and go over the handle bars again! Crap! I should have reported this dude but again I learn to look for the optimal passing opportunities and take it as a learning lesson. Getting back on my bike again I realize that I dropped my gu and bottle off of my bike and have another lap to go. Its going to be a hard(er) race I thought to myself. I eased into the pack that passed me after crash number two again and this time just pass without a word. I still pushed as hard as I could on the bike and made up some spots and lap number two was a bit better.
Looking back on my bike leg, I felt flat. No real power or push when I needed it or reserves to push from. Did I not recover enough from the VQ? How much time do I need? Maybe taking the time off from my IT band is what left me feeling flat? Maybe I should not have ridden the course yesterday even if it was at a very slow pace?
On to the run I found my pain had returned to my knee. This is definitely from the bike because it was hurting before I left the transition area. I run and pray. I felt better on the run than I did on the swim and bike but now I have to deal with my pain. I have a focus now that I needed the entire race. It is funny how pain does that and before I know it my pain is gone and I am feeling the finish line suck me in. I have juice left at the last sprint and end up passing two guys (too bad they were not in my age group) in the last mile but it is pretty insignificant at this point. I was just nice to race it to the finish. I am still far from where I though I would come in from a time perspective but I am pleased to finish and join a happy crowd.
(The finish always looks good but the clock is what gets you)
A disappointing finish for me at 2hr 11min when I was expecting a sub 1hr 50min time but again I will have to defer to the lessons learned and stay positive. What did I expect? How was I planning on getting that sub 1:50 time? What was I doing about it? Why didn’t I ask and do something about these questions a few months back. : - )
Time for reflection later. . . The day was still beautiful and there was good food and conversation to be had. The
Monique took some cool pictures of the race and area that you can check out over HERE