I had no expectations for this race (see my previous post). My hope was for a day of adventure and a good workout. Just a little something to satisfy my restlessness. Training's been solitary lately and it was time to join three hundred other athletes in a late spring sweatfest.
While setting up transition the sun rose above the trees on the banks of the river. It warmed the ground quickly and put me in a good mood. The idea of racing simply for the joy of it had me thinking about the lack of pressure. I had no demon to slay and no rabbit to chase. With all of my races before there was something to prove. Always, I had one eye on the watch and one eye on the course. But, this race wasn’t like the others.
Just before the leaving for the swim start I took off my watch and stuffed it into my transition bag. It felt like I took all the pressures off of my back and stuffed them in the bag too.
On this day I would race by feel.
The swim felt good but I knew it wasn’t going to be my best performance. I had to break freestyle four times to breast stroke. My shoulders tired quickly. No big. The water was warm and I was happy to be doing my triathlon thang. I kept moving forward keeping up with the middle of the pack.
T1 was pretty quick and the bike felt good too. It was uneventful although I think I waited a little too long before picking up the pace in the second half of the course. I was passed by a couple of people and did my sharing of passing too. After a little over an hour I was back in tranistion.
T2 went by in a flash and that’s then the unexpected happened. Less than a mile into the run both feet began to blister. Ugh. I forgot to smear Vaseline on the arches of my shoes and I was paying the price.
So, let’s review. In St. Croix my run was slowed by gastro troubles and in Shreveport it’s my feet. I wonder what my run time would be if everything went right? Or, do I? It’s been said that no two triathlons, even on the same course, are the same. Race day often brings the unexpected. When it’s served up you have to be flexible and change strategy, or tough it out, or both. Otherwise, you give in.
I chose to tough it out, and make no mistake about it, it hurt. Although the blisters stung I pushed the run to a lung burning pace.
Yeah, it sucked but the cool part is...
Are you ready for this?
I set a PR at the international distance!
After the race I put my watch back on and smiled.
Maaaaaaaan, I love this sport.