Pain is weakness leaving your body

July 27th, 2009

I’m going to thank the 14 year old wrestler, who was our bus boy the day before the race.   We met him when we were chomping down burgers in Taylors Falls.  He was wearing a t-shirt that held the quote “Pain is weakness leaving your body”.

And let me tell you, I used it yesterday during my half ironman race, when I was down and almost out.  I shut my eyes on mile 9 of the run.  I wanted to go home.  I wanted to quit.  I decided to chant the above quote instead…until the pain went away.

That was my darkest moment of the race, the rest of the race actually went VERY well.  So, I’ll start from the top and give you the highlights.

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the wind was light.  Many of my regular tri buddies were there to stake their claim on the day.  I find racing with friends sooo much more fun than going to a race alone.  I guess that makes me a racing extrovert.  I like sharing these experiences and not struggling alone.

Cousin Catherine was there, she asked me to help her with her zipper.  It was about 5 minutes before the race, everyone had been kicked out of the transition area, there was a thread that was stuck, I freed it and then the zipper pulled up and came right off.  I broke it. The panic in her eyes was horrible.  I felt horrible.  She had an alternative…shark skin…not sure what that is, I’m too cheap, but she had something, thank god.

My swim went fine.  Per usual, I panicked around 3 minutes in.  My legs feel like tree stumps, I feel like I can’t kick and then I can’t breath.  I took a moment, did a few breast stokes and then started counting.  ONE, TWO, THREE.  On three I would breath.  Mindless.  I got to the half way point and realized I was under 15 minutes, that was good, REAL good.  If I could do the same on the way back I would be 4 minutes less than last year.

When I got out of the water…my watch read 30 minutes and some odd seconds.  REAL GOOD!

The transition went fine, off on the bike I went.

I chose to ride with less water and electrolytes than usual due to some bottle drops and assistance along the course.  This plan seemed to work out great!  Every 15 minutes my timer would go off and I would drink or eat something depending on the time.  Thanks to Nathan, I also added in some leg stretching every 45 minutes…thanks Nate (oh and thanks for the use of your AWESOME goggles, I loved them).

56 miles is a long ride and I found myself have conversations with MYSELF.  The best one just so happened at mile 20.  I was rolling along, looking at the fields, the sky, the cows and said in my head…”So, what do you want to talk about?”  And that right there is when you realize, this is a long race and that you can only laugh at the insanity.

Around mile 30 of the bike ride a woman passed me.  I don’t take kindly to woman passing me.  I don’t so much mind if a fast guy passes me BUT a girl passes me, and I have a serious issue.  So, this chick passes me, then I pass her.  We go on like this for 15 miles.  I take her on the hills, she’s sloppy.  She takes me when I am trying to pee on the bike (that means slowing down and trying to squat on my saddle at around 19 MPR).  The 5th time she past me, out of my mouth very quietly slides, “WHORE”.  I was so shocked that I said it out loud, I murmured,  “OMG, that is so  mean, I can’t believe you just said that.”  Then I laughed at myself.  Again, talking to myself.

I came into T2 fast, feeling good, seeing my family.  Hopped off my bike and ran in.  I had to pee.  OH YEAH, pee!  So, I was having GI issues on the bike.  I tried to pee on my bike, SERIOUSLY TRIED.  I let out a touch and then would be overcome with the sensation that I was going to shit myself.  That was enough to alter the course…I would need to stop on the run.  That meant the need to bike faster to the finish because I knew I would be wasting time in the bathroom.

Off on the run I went, happy the bike was over.  My legs started cramping.  I have not figured out how to fix this issue.  It happens every time.

I wanted to run 8 minute 30 second miles.  Around mile 1.5 I was altering my goals.  The legs were cramping.  If I kept it slow it was going to be ok, if I went faster than 9′s I was sunk.  I started timing my miles, full well knowing if I did 10 minute miles I could still beat my last years time.

At mile 2 I stopped, walked to the side of the course and stretched.  The emergency volunteers descended on me immediately.  I told them I was just stretching and they moved on.

I knew my family and Becca (who took 1st in the Athena group, WAY TO WIN THAT!)  would be at mile 6.  I couldn’t wait to stop and tell them how badly I wanted to stop and then they could slather me with sun screen or hug me or take me home.  Needless to say, they were across the road, yelling at me and telling me to keep going and they were not going to break my stride…I kept going.

Mile 7-9 was hell.  JMatt showed up on his bike.

Do you know JMatt?  Or Fast Matt as I call him.  Yeah, he got 2nd in his AG and 7th overall in the sprint.  After doing a half iron race the weekend before.  Needless to say, he was on his bike, riding across the street and telling me I looked good, my ass looked good (he says that to all the girls and was nice enough to tell this old lady it was still holding up) and that I was crushing it.  I SO WAS NOT CRUSHING IT right then and there.

I did not like him being there for a bit, then he just rode, did not make me talk and just gave me all good thoughts.

A girl in pink ran by me, he told me she was in my AG (age group) and that she was my pace bunny and I shouldn’t loose her.  At that point it did not matter, I could not keep up, she kept going, I did not.  I struggled.  As I said before, I wanted to give up, sit in the van, have someone just bring me home.

Then I tried to find the calm.  The calm I know I have.  The ability to know yourself because you have the experience.  The calm you know you have if you dig deep enough when you are spiraling out of control.

I hit mile 10 and I knew it was up to me to beat my own time.  I could either do it or not.  The gear I did not know I had, showed up.  My stride picked up, the cramps left and by mile 12 it was do or die.  It was up to my very own grit to finish this bitch.

I ran down the street and into the park, where you go off road, around the bend and end on an up hill.

I took it as hard as I could.  Adam was yelling at the top of his lungs.  KP almost ran into me as he cheered me on.  JMatt was at the top, along with the woman in pink, who I never thought I would see again.

I overtook her at the hill and sprinted to the finish with a time of 5 hours and 7 minutes.

I have never worked so hard in a race that I have felt like I was going to throw up…I almost did.

My goal, 5:10.  I did it.  I ran the best race I could that day, in fact, my best half iron race ever.

Did I want a top 3 finish in my AG and bring home a trophy, yes.

Did I get it?  No.

The competition was deep.  The top 3 were elite racers who finished in 4:30 and THAT is crazy and awesome.

I will never be there.  Even as a stay at home mom I don’t have that kind of time or ambition.

But what I will be is a great example for my kids.  Even though I didn’t get in the top 3, I did my best and that is all anyone (including myself) can ask.

I my very humble opinion, I rocked that race and am more than pleased with the outcome.  In fact, I am proud of myself.  All that extra worked paid off by 7 minutes.

It has been a GREAT season!

Oh yeah and the new tires…they made me faster.  THANKS!


One Response to “Pain is weakness leaving your body”

  1. Margot on July 30, 2009 10:31 am

    You DID indeed rock that race. Congrats congrats congrats!!!

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