Pay no attention to the supposed official events of swimming, biking and running. The real challenges were:
2. Forcing myself to do things far beyond my capability
3. Exhaustion to the point of vomit.
Technically I’m not even done. The nausea has gone away, (took about 2 hours) but my heart is still racing at 11 pm which means I overdid it. I doubt I will be sleeping.
I’m way out front in the worry category because of my rigorous practice of seeing the worst ahead, often doing double or triple workouts each day. Like most people, I worried the night before the race.. Then I worried myself into getting to the race early even though everyone knows that the higher your number is the more behind the swim starts get. I started 3 hours later than I arrived but I got to chat and rest. Then I started worrying about sunburn even though I had sunscreen on. I worried about not having eaten and about being too exhausted to finish. I’ve got this part down. I am a champion worrier.
I knew I was getting tired when I they played “My Sharona.” There’s something about the combination of a massive athletic event for women and My Sharona that made me hide my face in the grass. Had I been sold on the plucky funness factor of doing a triathlon? Wouldn’t I be better off just taking a nice run and/or bike ride by myself and relaxing today? Luckily, the grass smelled wonderful.
The overdoing it part is second nature but I’ve really got to hand it to myself today. I said I was going to have fun and I did for maybe half the race when I was ringing my bell at people on my bike, when they played the “happy” song while I swam, and while I was race walking to give myself a break from the oppressive heat and sun of a nice day in Alaska.
I totally overdid it in the pool. I would have been fine if I had not started out so fast that I could not move my arms once I was done. Oh, the humanity. After 5 tries I had to have a helping hand to get out of the pool. I thought I might be disqualified but people get helped up by other racers when they fall off their bikes so as long as another racer does it you’re set. Yes, my arms are the skinniest part of my body but either I have to lose weight or swim slower.
The bike ride was a step up from that disaster until about mile 12 because I thought there were only 12 miles in the bike race. There were 14. I barely made it over the last hill even though it was quite tiny. Then I saw it – water. I was so dehydrated, not just the despicable dry mouth but the swollen hands. I swore to stop at every water station on the run and I did, even the one that ran out of cups. I just put my mouth under the spigot. I also taste tested two types of gatorade, blue and purple, for good measure.
I knew I had really mastered overdoing the run as my legs were kind of going backwards. I decided to use the “fartlek” ( playing with speed) or lazy ass method to finish off the race. I would pick a spot ahead, run to it then race walk until I felt like running again. It was very hot and dusty, especially when the military convoy came by. We were running on the JBER tank road so this is to be expected and the dust to be expectorated. I got to one of the photo opp points and noted that the photographer put his camera down. He saw my face which said NO! He probably thought I would take out all my self-loathing on him. Good choice.
I eventually finished and walked straight over to a trash barrel just in case the barf came out, but it did not. There was nothing to barf up. I did beat my bike to the finish line and then beat a path to The Olive Garden as I promised myself I could get take out there even if I barfed it up. I didn’t barf but I didn’t really enjoy it. I’m barely enjoying this. I am only enjoying the idea that if I don’t sleep at all I might have to call in sick tomorrow. Triathlon fever, overdoing hangover, anxiety about not sleeping causing insomnia, whatever it is, no one will probably ask. Only I will know how far I have fallen. I may even see a matinee of Godzilla. Of course I will get a charley horse if I sit that long but it will be so worth it.