After the 70.3 I participated in on Sunday I’ve been getting the usual “How was your race?” question. It’s been a challenge to answer. There’s no simple “It was good, It was bad, It was hot, It was this, that, blah, blah, whatever”
This race has a story. It’s the only way I can tell you how the race went, with this story.
The swim I can simply say was okay.
The bike was lonely. I was in the third to the last wave for a 7:44am start. To be honest, I was bummed during the ride. It just wasn’t exciting to be so far behind everyone, and I wasn’t motivated to go faster. The roads were rough. It was getting hotter and windier. I dropped a Gatorade. The hills weren’t bad at all. I averaged 16.2 mph.
I thought to myself that it wasn’t my day. Not that I felt bad, I just didn’t have that competitive bone in me that day.
During the run is where my story starts. Coming off of the bike in a long distance triathlon I typically force myself to run the full first mile, just to assess how I’m feeling and what to expect for the rest of the run. I didn’t even make it the full first mile before having to walk. It was so ugly hot out, and WHERE in the world is the first aid station? Goodness it took forever to get there.
At the first aid station I loaded my bra and shorts with ice, and went on my way. I felt so much better with ice jiggling in my bra. I was running, passing people, running up the hills, down the hills, and felt pretty darn good for a 90 degree run! I continued to load up on ice at the aid stations, and kept running.
Around mile five I spotted a Fellow Flower in the distance. Is that Mel? That’s Mel! I sprinted a block to catch up to her, excited to see a Fellow Flower friend on the course. I joyously announced my arrival to her, and was surprised to hear that she was struggling. I joined her on her very first triathlon journey (Who does that? Takes on a half iron distance for their first triathlon? A crazy, courageous brave person!) In that moment, I decided that I would be there for her until we stumbled upon the finish.
I listened to her express her feelings on how the run was going, I encouraged her, I asked her questions, I blathered on, I asked more questions, I suggested we run to the stop sign, to the next telephone pole, to put ice down her shorts, to take an enduralyte, and assured her that I was happy to be there. Every few miles she would say “I’m speechless at this, that you’re here for me, thank you”
I was just happy that I wasn’t annoying the shit out of her.
But in all seriousness, it wasn’t my day, it wasn’t my race. It was Mel’s first ever triathlon. To be the mentor during those tough mental black hole moments in a long distance triathlon was an absolute honor.
If you want to read her words, grab a tissue, she has a talent for making these stories more beautifully written than I can. Read HERE!
The results page will never be able to tell this story.