That feeling of being on top of the world from my last triathlon didn’t last for long though. Training after this race ramped up as I prepared for my first half ironman distance sprint. During this time I got my first triathlon bike, which while it was way more comfortable for my hip, it was a different position for the rest of my body that I didn’t really have time to get used to. I started to doubt my ability to finish the race and my self esteem dwindled. Then the day before my race I had my first “crash.” It really wasn’t anything bad. I unclipped my left foot and leaned right so I fell into some gravel. It wasn’t horrible but it left me a little banged up and shaken. I got right back on but it didn’t help my mental state.
Then come race day. I’m so nervous I don’t sleep the night before, I’m up before my alarm and I can barely choke down breakfast. Bad sign number one because I NEED the fuel for the race. I grab a bar on the way out the door so that I can have a little something later too. We get to the transition and walk to the beach, which is miserable because it’s gravel and I have no shoes on, my feet hurt and my stomach is churning. We get to the beach and struggle to get in my wet suit which makes me frustrated, I finally get it on and eat the bar brought with me. Then I head down to the water to warm up. Here I immediately throw up in the ocean (sorry fellow athletes but I couldn’t help it). Another bad sign.
Finally the race starts and we’re off to swim. I go what I think is a straight line towards the bouy that I think is the orange one I’m supposed to be swimming to. I’m wrong. Dead wrong. That’s actually the red one for the olympic tri and I am not swimming in a straight line. Why they chose red and orange is beyond me. They look the same when you’re dying in the water. Anyways, I know I’m so far behind everyone, which I guess is okay because I’m a fairly slow swimmer anyways. But then I realize there’s no one around me and I start to freak. I don’t want to to this anymore. The bouys seem too far away and I just want to be done. To this day I don’t know why I was thinking like this. It was completely irrational because like I said, I’ve swam this far before in the open water and it’s only slightly longer than my last race. This is emotionally draining to me and when the first wave of male swimmers from the olympic distance catch up to me, I’m completely crushed. I finish the swim and immediately start crying when I see my boyfriend. I don’t want to continue. I don’t want to get on my bike. I just want to call it a day. Amazingly him and one of my Coeur teammates that’s there volunteering convince me to get on my bike. After all, I did just get this brand new bike for the race, I might as well USE it. So I get on and let me tell you the next 56 miles were a roller coaster of emotions.
I got on my bike unhappily and I took off thinking that it was a mostly flat course. OOOOHHH BOY was that a lie. I’m already grumpy and people are flying by and drafting and it’s making my unhappy until I’m finally alone on the course after the two distances split up. It’s probably a good thing I was alone because other people would have probably thought I was crazy. I was yelling and crying and laughing and singing. Pretty much all at the same time. At mile 35 I had a brief period of being hopeful and positive thinking. I told myself I worked hard for this and I was going to finish the race. 10 miles later I was spent and didn’t want to continue. And that’s what happened. My body felt mostly fine but my spirit did not. After a tearful decision I handed in my chip and I called it a day.
At the time I was upset with myself but I’ve since come to terms with it. It wasn’t my day and that’s ok. Sometimes we need to listen to our bodies and know when to push through and when it’s just not right.
I was able to end my season though on a very good note and finished up last weekend at Max Performance’s Title IX women’s sprint tri. It was so much fun, I got to meet up with another Coeur Teammate and we represented an amazing company that I have been honored to be apart of this year. I wasn’t worried about time and I finished all smiles and cheering everyone else on. I’m already looking forward to next year and giving that half ironman distance another try!!!