|Thank you, Ashworth Awards, for a medal I've|
never worked so hard to earn.
During my efforts to wait for help (after I'd used all my spare tubes and CO2) and eventually fix my first and second flats, I felt determined I'd finish the race. I remember talking out loud with myself and with God, holding a conversation filled with only optimistic ideals. After having to stop for the third flat, however, I certainly had the feeling of defeat envelope me completely. The cold I felt as a result of the foggy, breezy air encouraged me to find that dreaded car ride and get my sorry butt back to transition. If not for the nice gentleman who left me with an extra tube and CO2, I would not have found that last thread of hope to pull me out onto the run course.
|On my way out, before trouble struck.|
Despite my bad luck, the bike course did have its positive attributes. The ride along the coastal highway felt smooth, thanks to relatively new pavement. Never mind all the trash. For a 5 mile stretch, the course took athletes on a side road whose conditions were not as smooth. A steep ascent and descent should have helped to set me apart from weaker riders, but even my strength on the hills couldn't counter the approximate 45 minutes of wasted time I'd experienced during my first two flats. Regardless, athletes rode home on the same coastal highway we rode out on to the turnaround. The views toward the ocean, on any other bike ride, would have kept my mind off the pain of physical exertion. This time, I had too much time to eventually loathe the view while waiting for help after my third flat.
|Two flats down, one still to go.|
The motivation I felt one mile into the run suddenly disappeared when I crossed paths with the first place female making her way to the finish line. Following her, girls at the top of my age group breezed by in their 11th and 12th miles, me on my second. I felt my pace slow. What a disappointment. Thankfully, the first three miles of this course follow the shoreline, so I used the scenery as a way to redirect my attention. As a competitor, though, my eyes fell on the backs of men and women who had started 45 minutes to an hour after I did. Why not eat them up?
|Trying to ignore all the finishers making|
their way back to the finish line.
I still have a half marathon to run.
Happy to reach the turnaround, I started keeping my eyes peeled for Bryan. Back at my third flat, I wondered if he'd catch me. Perhaps we could have run to the finish line together, which prior to my bike ride, seemed impossible considering he had started an hour after me.
|Happy to run on packed dirt. It's what|
I train on in my Newtons.
And so my day complete, my year over, I sat just past the finish line, exhausted. Mentally and physically. On this day, my head hurt worse than my body. Physical pain stops at the finish line; mental anguish does not. It is silly, but I've needed two weeks to realize that what Bryan and my coach said just hours after my flop was true: I can't let one bad race define my entire season.
So, I finish this post. I move on and sign up for another race. I definitely buy new tubes. I take pride in not just PR'ing my fastest 70.3 time, but my slowest time, too. All in one year. The Spokane half marathon awaits me. Thankfully, it doesn't involve my bike.