I am not even sure where to start with this report. My mind is bouncing all over the place. First, I have to say this was a great put on race, extremely organized, nice course, great goodie bags, and awesome awards.
I guess I will go back to the start and with registering for the race. Last year, tri season was no good. I was having a lot of personal issues and stress and I hung my bike up in the middle of a long ride while training for a half, after some lackluster races and wasn't sure if I wanted to race again. This season was great but there was just no motivation. Sure I had motivation to train. I love to eat and drink and I didn't want to gain 100 pounds. I love meeting up with friends for a good bike session but I just had no motivation and really no goals. I would sign up for a race and just didn't really care if I won or not. I would go do a tempo run with Stewart because he is training for the St. Jude full and I would pick a tempo pace. If I ran it, Great! If I didn't and I missed the pace by 10 or 15 seconds it was all good. There was a time when I would have killed myself to hit that pace and it was really beginning to bother me that I just didn't care. My main motivation was to try to run or bike to Stewart as close as I could so he wouldn't have to wait on me too long to finish. As for swim motivation, I swam two days a week, everything easy, lots of pulls ( my favorite) and low yardage. Enough to insure I would not drown in my next race. I was loving racing and loving the experience but I was missing my passion to want to win or to hit a goal or to hit a pace. One thing I know is you can not force motivation.
Then we received an email from the race directors for Possum town and the shirts were so cute. They had a little possum on them. The race was close, it fit in our schedule, and we wanted to do one more race. As we registered, I had this little spark! I want to do really well in this race. I would love to win this race! I would love to end the season on a good note! Some motivation!! I would love to say I went out and began training like a fiend but I did not. School was starting back and I am always over worked at the start of the season, cross country had started and I had just signed up for the new gym 9 rounds and I was having a blast kicking and punching bags. BUT I kept our minimal training and because I was training with Stewart, I was always working hard. As Stacey said on a bike ride one day, you keep riding with him and you are either going to die or become one hell of a rider.
School started and I actually did not give the race much thought. Every thought was tackling my huge to do list. Planning for classes, ordering uniforms, forming teams, making rosters, hiring coach after coach, etc. As we were leaving on Friday I was like shit! I haven't even been hydrating. In fact, I had attended three happy hours that week and seemed to be doing the exact opposite.
We made it to packet pick up with about two minutes to spare, drove the course, explored Columbus and then hit dinner. We had some awesome pizza and a very small ice cream cone. Both of these could be problem foods for me but felt like I didn't eat too much and I should be fine. Around 3:00 in the morning , I woke up and my stomach was killing me and I felt nauseous and sweaty. Two days prior, I had the same issues but figured that was to an overload of tequila. I did a quick assessment, Was I that nervous about the race? Was it my girl time causing these problems? Maybe the pizza and ice cream were a mistake? Maybe I did have some type of bug and this was related to the other day? The start of school always brings fun things. I have lots of sweet dirty hands holding mine, hugging me, touching, my whistle, etc. I tried to go back to sleep and see what happened. I woke up feeling crappy and could not stay out of the bathroom. Tried eating some different foods and every time I ate something, it sent my digestive system reeling and I went straight to the bathroom. I couldn't decide if it was race day nerves. I didn't even feel nervous but I was starting to get nervous about my stomach. We made it to transition very early. This new 5:00 am wake up call has me turning into a morning person so we had plenty of time to relax, warm up, and chill. And oh yes visit the bathroom. Thankfully the park had some real toilets away from the race site that I pretty much had to myself. After my heart rate feeling extremely high on the run and the bike warm up and my arms feeling like lead on the swim warm up, I thought this is going to be a crappy day. With about 5 minutes to race start, I ran to the bathroom again and came out and told Stewart I was not sure I could race. I loved that he looked right at me and said You are a champion and you can do anything. Well... when you put it like that I have to at least try. I lined up for swim start and reminded myself that some of my best racing came after shitty warm ups. That I too had spent a morning in the bathroom before a race many years back and went on to do fine. The thought of a DNF on my last race of the year was taunting me. I have never had a DNF and did not want to finish that way. I said a quick little prayer to let me get through the next hour and half and to do my very best. The swim was uneventful. I tried to draft where I could, it was foggy and hard to see but despite feeling a slight bit of nauseous on the last part of the course, it was good.
I had a quick transition, hoped on the bike and quickly caught 3 girls. About mile 4, I caught another girl and left the park for the meat of the ride. The what I assumed was the race leader for the girls was in my sights farther down the road at least I thought it was her. She had a bright hot pink areo helmet and was easy to spot. I decided I was going to chase her and catch her. If one thing riding with Stewart this season has taught me, is I can chase and chase really well. I passed a few guys and kept on riding. I finally caught the lead girl about mile 10 or 11. I was feeling really good and knew I was having a good bike. I was pretty confident I could keep her off. With two miles to go and not knowing how far back the second girl was behind me, I began to think of my run strategy and my plan especially if she was a runner when Holy Crap.. .some girl blew right past me and not the girl I thought. I wasn't sure I could repast her because I knew I was pretty much at max, I just decided to go with her and stay as close to her as I legally could. As we approached transition, I decided to leave my bike shoes on as my spot was pretty close to the bike entry and thought this would save me time. I wanted to beat her out of transition. My second transition was 25 seconds. I always say my life prepares me well for transition, I am always in a hurry, rushing from one thing to the next so this helps me with no dily daly in the tri world of transition.
I did beat the girl out and started the run. I was running scared because I knew I was in the lead and now had two girls hot on my trail.. I heard feet and thought shit and luckily it was a guy in a duck speedo. Heard more feet and did not want to turn around to see who it was when I heard Stewart's voice. Thankful! I wanted to ask how far the girls were back but he flew by me like I was standing still. I thought I was having a good run and at each turn around accessed how far the girls were behind me. The original leader with the pink aero helmet had now moved into second. I just kept repeating pick them up - put them down in terms of my feet. I felt strong and was told I looked strong but was disappointed to find that this was my slowest run of all tri season but luckily it was fast enough to beat second by 1:30.
The best thing as I entered the chute was knowing I was about to win and have a girl yell out at me "You have great abs!" After 3 kids, I will always take that compliment. I am sure they looked even better after my many bathroom trips. I finished and was immediately interviewed and won't tell you what happened next but it was not very lady like.
I was very happy to have found some motivation and push! Maybe it is returning because I felt a little fired up and after seeing my run split, I reminded myself that I need to get faster! I was happy beside feeling sick once on the bike In addition to the swim, I felt ok. I felt really tired on the run but not sick. I was also grateful that I was able to stomach the gus during the race.
It was a great day and a great way to end my season. I am happy that after a very relaxed season I may have big plans for next season and this is just what I needed. I learned a lot from this season. I was able to see Stewart accomplish much and share in his joy. I wouldn't trade a thing and it could not have ended on a better note!