Ok, Whoa. I sit on my computer every day and type, type, type. Evidently, that typing hasn’t been on this blog. Shocking.
(I said that to one of my high school runners today, who said he was tired after running a bunch of hard intervals. “What?? That is shocking.”)
But, you don’t care about that. You want dirty details about Oceanside.
Yes, I finished. Yes, I finished last in the pro field. Yes, I kinda thought I would finish last, but no, I did not think it would be that goddamn slow. If I had done the time I thought I was going to, I wouldn’t have been last. So.
On the plus side? Eh, I spent a lot of time thinking about the positives. You can’t be a huge downer for that long in that long a race or you won’t finish, so I had a whole conversation with myself in the middle of the five hours about how it was a slow, windy day for everyone. (It was.) About how everyone has bad days sometimes and you just have to keep going forward. About how it was my first actual half with the swim, bike, and run, without being injured and deciding to do it anyway. (As with the previous two.) And, for the first real one, 5:09 isn’t totally terrible. Maybe. I guess.
I swam with Charisa – which was the plan/goal, since she’s a better swimmer than me. Actually, I was swimming right next to her, then I was swimming in front of her and Lauren and a couple other girls, then I was flailing around by myself getting sort of seasick and lost, then I finished exactly with Charisa. You’d think we’d have swam fastish then. Nope. 31 minutes.
Got on my bike and quickly watched Lauren and Charisa and another girl who’s name I don’t know ride away. In retrospect (ah, Monday night quarterbacking), I probably should have at least tried, maybe a little to go with them. But, I’d never really done this before and I didn’t want to explode and I thought I needed to ride my own race, my own speed, focus on nutrition and finishing. So, I rode by myself for a long time. Another girl passed me. She stayed in sight for a little while, then she was gone. About halfway, another girl passed me and at that point I was pretty much in last.
But, I really thought I wasn’t doing that bad. I was holding the wattage I wanted to hold. I was eating — or I was trying to after throwing up twice in my mouth and swallowing it back down. I was on pace at the halfway for like a 2:38, which would have been great. I had no idea that the second half was that much slower than the first.
The second half of the bike felt like it was entirely uphill and into the wind. The parts that weren’t uphill just felt like they were. I struggled. But, I actually held ok watts, just not awesome. I definitely slowed down. I rode by myself, until I would get passed by a group of age group guys from behind (always in a group), then by myself some more, then another group of guys. And, so it went. I just wanted to be off my stupid bike by two hours in, but there was still so much left.
At some point, I will stop thinking about how long the race is while I’m in it and how if it was an olympic-distance I would already be done. Eventually, I will stop comparing the amount of time I’ve been racing to how many shorter races I could have done in the time.
Natalie and Michelle were coming to watch me on the run, so I wanted to get out on the run course and find them — it became a goal. And the first few miles of the run I was so happy to just be off my bike. I think I ran a 6:15 in there somewhere. But, mostly, I was running 7:10 miles or so.
I saw all the girls on their way back. And, I was totally out of the race, yes. But, I wasn’t as totally, disgustingly behind as I became convinced I was during the bike. I felt ok. Considering. Of course, then I slowed down some.
Even though I told myself you’re not allowed to slow down from mile 6 to 9. Even though I made myself promise to push it. I hit the 6 mile marker and it’s not even to the turnaround for the second lap yet and you have to do the whole thing all over again and YOU’RE NOT EVEN HALFWAY. There was about two miles I thought I was going to quit and I slowed to 8:05 miles or something. Ugh.
Then, all of a sudden, I was past that point and it was only five miles left and I tried to push those last miles. I would have sworn to you my last three were as hard as I could go; yeah, they were like totally 7:50 miles.
So, I didn’t walk — that’s a rule for this year. And, I finished my first whole, for-real, not-injured half. And, there will be more. But, first, there will be more training. And volume. So, I stop thinking how goddamn long that is.