I forgot how much races hurt. This was my first race in 18 months. My last race was actually a whole race weekend. A tri on Saturday and a du on Sunday.
Leaving the house, I had to hold back tears because I was so grateful that I even have the opportunity to race. Last year, I barely did any physical activity. I’ve battled achilles tendonitis since last June, limped around for most of Sept & Oct and just got out of physical therapy for it about a month ago. I’ve worked really hard to get myself back into some sort of physical condition while trying to manage a full-time job, kids & going back to school. I’m not sure how successful I am at those other things, but I’m here at the race.
When we arrived, I couldn’t believe the bikes. It was like we were at a national championship, not some crummy duathlon in Wrentham. I think my reaction was along the lines of “Where the fuck are we?”. Nevertheless, I got my 2007 Trek WMD 1000 with a missing aerobar elbow pad off the car and got set-up.
The first leg was a 5k run and went pretty well. It was very flat and I started out fast. I was worried about maintaining that speed. For the first half I was at least a minute faster than usual. I had to force myself to slow down and just tried to focus on form and stay comfortable.
I ended up with a 5k PR, beating my last du’s time by 35 seconds. Not bad considering I was barely running 1 mile in January and I was much better conditioned at my last race.
I was pretty nervous for the bike. It’s usually my best leg, but I’ve had a crummy training week before this race. I bought new tires and went from 25’s to 23’s. They take some time getting used to, much more twitchy. Plus the roads weren’t closed off, Mass. driver’s aren’t the most courteous (to put it politely), and the roads are in pretty bad shape. I was predicting a wipeout. But once I was out there, all of that disappears in ‘race-mode’.
Because I didn’t do any real outdoor riding yet this year, I didn’t want to burn up all of my energy at the beginning. But it’s so hard to take it easy when you can just pass that person. And then that person. Passing up hill is fun, and then passing downhill is fun, too. I felt great and was happy with my performance, plowing through potholes at 18-20 mph and mentally telling cars “fuck you, you can wait”.
Then my chain popped off at about mile 9. It only took 20 seconds to get it back on, but because I was worn out, it took me about two minutes to get back on the bike and clipped in. Clipless pedals aren’t my friends. That kinda took the wind out of my sails. The rest of the ride was ok, I had to repass some people, but the group I was with was out of sight.
I’ve been riding my indoor trainer 20 - 25 miles, so I was a bit surprised at how exhaused I was after just 11 on the road. Shows you the difference between indoor and outdoor riding. I tried to bring down my heart rate down towards the end, but I think I slowed down too much. When I racked my bike, I was really nauseous and really didn’t want to run.
Two miles worth of crap. My speed started out ok, but I was fighting the urge to throw up for the first 3/4 miles. After my nausea subsided, my IT band started screaming at me. Plus my not-enough-caffeine headache that started half way through the bike was in full-force. I just wanted to lay down in the grass and be done with it. It felt never ending. My second run time ended up being around my usual training pace, so I guess it wasn’t that bad. Certainly felt like it.
What I learned
When I got home, I was presented with the best award of all.