I started my 3rd triathlon of the year with the intention of continuing to push forward. I find that the more I race, the more my motivation increases. I entered the race last minute due to some hesitancy with the stress of Isla being really sick all week as well as an injury I sustained on a random zip line crash. But, my need to get out there and enjoy my sport was stronger than my many lame excuses for staying home.
Race morning followed the same post baby standard it has followed all year. I look around at all of the fit women and I feel out of shape. I know I have lost a ton of muscle and have more dimples than I like to have, and I suddenly am self-conscious about my body. I notice everyone's new equipment, like the girl near me and her new P5 and race wheels, and I feel out of date. I am missing a few things in my transition bag, and I feel unprepared. I watch the women warm up while I sit in the car using my breast pump, and I feel old and matronly. I have the desire to be fast and competitive, but I know that I will only be able to do what my training and body allow me to do for the day. And I know it is not enough, but I have to get out there and just be okay with that.
Swim: What a treat to swim in the open water...in a mass start. I love it! The swim will be slower, I know, as I haven't been swimming. But I am okay with that. What I am not okay with is the immediate knee pain and instability when I start swimming. I realized I would have known this if I had bothered to swim this week, and this is an unwelcome surprise. I kick as little as possible, swim off course a ton because I can't see into the sun, and still love every minute of it. Heck, I just swam 1500 meters in the open water. What a great way to start the day!
Bike: I start riding and feel great. I notice my swim might have been my slowest time ever, and I don't care or stress. I didn't put the work in, so I don't expect the outcome. I am riding along and passing people, and all of a sudden I feel an instant flat in my rear tire. I soft pedal and look back, but I don't see a flat. I do this a few more times in the next mile, wondering why I feel a flat but don't see one. I guess everything is okay and I keep riding. My tire is holding air. I play cat and mouse with this one guy, and we end up laughing and having a blast through the course. I am still puzzled as to why I am trying to push my bike and my legs feel great, but the bike just won't move any faster. I have a conversation with myself to make no excuses and keep riding. I seem to be the 4th place girl at turn around. I try to make up ground on the others, but they are out of sight. I finish the bike about 9 minutes slower than the last time I did this course the year after knee surgery when I wasn't "fit" (much like I wasn't "fit" for this race). I am baffled as to how I can be that much slower in an Oly, but I don't get upset and just keep moving forward.
I talk to a lot of people. I chat with my biking friend and we take some pictures together. I introduce myself to a girl that I see in an Enell bra, and we talk about how much we love them and how it is life changing. I try to talk to 1st and 2nd girl, but they don't give me much back. (I guess not everyone is as social as I, but hey....after singing Old MacDonald 1 billion times, I like talking to adults!).
And then I pick up my bike from transition and see the brakes firmly on my wheel, caliper moved completely over out of center. There is no "maybe my brakes were rubbing." It is, yes, your brake was rubbing in the race. I have had this problem since the bike shop "worked" on my bike and tried to get it fixed by a neighbor a couple of months ago. I am suddenly very, very mad. I haven't been this mad in a long time. I curse to my husband, my parents, and Joy on the phone. I drop more f-bombs than I have in the past year. I just feel this intense frustration at myself for not setting up my wheel properly as I have had problems with it and know to double check and get help with it. It is my fault. I am just not paying attention to detail like I used to do and need to do.
I also feel stupid for being that person with the lame excuse. I hate hearing people with their excuses for poor performances. And yup, I started to play that game of "explaining my bad race." I am now that lame person that I hate. I am no longer a "doer." I have become a "complainer." But the wheel had nothing to do with the outcome of the race...I realize, once again, that when we start offering up our excuses, we are letting our egos in. Because honestly, no one cares what I am capable of on my bike but me. So, it is a lesson in letting the ego go. We are going to have just as many mistakes in execution as we will have excellent execution. It is part of sport.
And because I want to be a "doer" and not a "complainer full of excuses," I move on and get right back on track with training :) We are either moving forward or backward, and I know which way I want to go! I have a calendar full of things to come! I did get the leg checked out, and I may have to stay off of it for another week or so, but ligaments are good and it is just bone bruising/contusion that will heal with a little more time. Next time I zip line, remind me to ask where the braking mechanism is BEFORE I hit the tree.
Cheers to another race, more fitness in the bank, and lots of FUN!!!!!! I loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones....let's do it again!
Love ya Susan!