The race turned out to be more of a great experience...than a great experience, if you know what I mean. Don't worry, I'll fill you in....

The wait to get into the park was really no big deal - once i got in, i set up my stuff in good time and foung myself ready to go at the swim start for a bit of a warm up. then, we heard there was a wreck somewhere in the area, and the cops we needed for the race had to be on scene...so we had a "little" delay. 30 minutes....

as soon as i heard about the delay, i scanned the crowd for a jacket i could borrow, since we weren't in wetsuits (pro's - no wetsuit) and after warming up, i was wet and sitting out in the crisp morning air. a very nice lady let me borrow her rain jacket, and i was in good shape. so we all just hung out chattin' for a while.

just before the race start, Crissie Wellington took the microphone and spoke about John Blais and the horrible disease that killed him - ALS. I lost it. She sprinkled some of his ashes into the water...and I was having a lot of trouble composing myself. I mean, just starting a race at this level is enough to get your anxiety and emotions rolling, but to add to it the memory of Donnie, his disease, his life, his death, and all the amazing things that have blessed my life since I met him...well, that was just overwhelming. the tears were a flowin and my whole face was red hot and swollen...and now, it was time to SWIM! okay...

The swim went off uneventfully - I had thoughts of donnie going thru my snotty head the whole way - thinking to myself how he would love to be out here in this beautiful lake swimming next to the likes of Andy Potts, Crissie Wellington, and Michael Lavato and many of the other amazing athletes racing pro these days....OK, so I wasn't really swimming next to them. I started next to them....but they pretty much left me at about 10 meters or so...it was a nice thought though!

When i exited the water, i noticed i may not have had the best swim ever since there was only one guy around me...and when i finally made it to my bike, my thoughts were confirmed. most of the bike were gone. ok, time to make some time up here.

off on the bike.... i was looking fo someone to catch, to pull in, to let me know i'm making progress...no one. what a long ride solo. beautiful, but long. i tried to catch someone, but all the pro's are pretty much too fast :-) the ride was fabulous. beautiful, hilly, challenging, and fun. i encountered a few mental deamons on the bike since there was no one to focus on passing to distract my attention. man, these thoughts can creep in fast and before you know it, they can take over your psyche. and they did. how did i let that happen?? i dunno. it takes practice to stay focused on the positive and dismiss the negative- maybe i haven't been working on that enough.

so into transition for the run, i was feeling a bit rough mentally and emotionally after chasing and not catching anyone, but my legs felt ok to i was hoping to get a good run out of the day. as i took off, i was pleased to not have any cramping in my legs - something i have had to deal with in races. the legs felt pretty good. But at about a mile in, a side stitch set in and never went away. a miserable run is one where you get a cramp and it stays the entire time. 13.1 miles. i had to keep my pace down to keep moving forward or the stitch was way overwhelming. so I just settled in to a not-so-happy medium. im not sure if its harder to run slow with a cramp, or to run fast with no cramp, just your HR up. the slower option takes a lot longer and seems to never want to end....i think its harder to run funny with a cramp.

During the run, i realized where i was in the mix - 7th. pretty far out of 6th (Terra Castro) and early on i hoped the stitch would go away so maybe i could move up a bit. no luck there...so my goal changed to just push, follow thru, and finish the day without dropping a place. My thoughts went back and forth from negaitve to positive. Boy did i struggle with my thoughts in this race. I am not sure why I struggled so much this day, but I did. I eventually was able to get a hold of them all and remember why it is I am out here....because i get to....

It's not all about winning. Sure, it's nice to win some $$, but I'm not in this sport to get rich! I guess GOLF would have been the better sport for that :-)

So why do i do this day after day - up at 4, to bed at 8, swim, bike, run, repeat? It's about living this life I get to live. It's to toe the line with the best endurance athletes in the world. It's to share my experiences with others so that they can also learn from them. It's to share and help others use triathlon to jump start their passions for sport. It's the mere fact that I have sucessfully pulled myself out of a rut I was stuck in for over 10 years, and have climbed the ladder to be right here - racing as a Professional Triathlete !! So what kind of experience do i want? I have the CHOICE to make it positive or negative. I choose positive.

It's more than a podium and a check that drives my spirit...and I love it!

1 comment:

Laura Williams said...

Caroline, this is a wonderful post. You are an inspiration.