It was the best of races, it was the worst of races; I raced with wisdom, I raced as a fool; I believed, I was incredulous; it was the race of Light, it was the race of Darkness, it was my race of hope, it was my race of despair.
-with best regards to my dearest bud, Dickens.
Here is the greatest aspect of my race:
I stayed the course, and I am going to Kona! I did it!
Here is the worst aspect of my race.
I trained consistently, intelligently, and hard. I was ready to execute a perfect race. But, as is frequently the case with IM, things went wrong and mistakes were made. And though I overcame what went wrong as best I could, I struggled. In fact, this race was the single hardest thing I have done in my 41 years of existence: harder than any training I have done, harder than my previous efforts at IM, harder than childbirth. To finish this race I to go to a place I have never been—and it is a super bad ugly black mossy confusing icky place that I really don’t want to visit – like ever again.
The real story of my race began on Tuesday morning of last week. I woke up, ambled around a bit, and then suddenly and quite powerfully, I threw up on the bathroom floor. Lara had been sick with a stomach virus over the weekend, and so I knew – I knew what was happening and deep down, I knew what it meant for my race. I spent the morning hanging over the toilet. At noon I felt slightly better and so decided I should attempt my run. This was the first race mistake I made. The temperature was in the 90s, and my stomach was fragile. I made it 20 minutes, and then ,without much ceremony, I threw up on my neighbor’s lawn.
I got over the bug quickly. By Wednesday I was eating a little and sipping electrolyte-laden water, and by Thursday I actually felt pretty good. The only problem: I had lost weight and I felt weak. I knew I needed to eat, and I did try, but my stomach, though okay, was still unsure that consuming large quantities of anything was smart. And…..okay, okay… I admit I felt pretty panicked about the fact that I'd been sick, which didn’t really help the nausea. I so so so wanted to be 100% for Sunday… and things were not looking good.
I packed up the car and kids and set off for Placid on Wednesday afternoon. Ange’s family, my family and Ange’s brother Jeff’s family had rented a big house together for the week. The one fear was that I would get Ange sick. I bought like 10 bottles of hand sanitizer and basically bathed in it, and had my kids do so too. Luckily, she did not succumb! Phew. That would be a special thing to have hanging over your neck, huh?
Ange and I spent the next few days doing our best to lounge. We discussed the race over and over and over and over again. People around us were kind, but most likely so agitated with our slothdom and our race-obsessed banter that they wanted to throw us out a window. Kurt came by on Friday and Saturday to check our bikes and ease our pre-race nerves. His visits didn’t really quell my roiling my stomach, but it was still really good to see him. I appreciated that he didn’t roll his eyes (in my presence anyway) when I nosed around for reassurance just one more time… and one more time after that… and then just one more time and…..
Race morning Ange and I arrived at transition early. (with Ange there is NO arriving late. Trust me!) We got body marked by Ange’s most awesomely awesome athlete, Marissa, and then we went into transition to do our stuff. As the morning moved on Ange became more and more intense and focused. She was practically burning up she was so ready to race. I tried to suck up some of that heat for me. Here we are ready to rumble.
I already look a little pale and sickly, but Ange is looking Goddess-like, don't you think?
Okay. More tomorrow.