Friday, December 08, 2006

Part 3 (abridged)

(Yes I realize I haven't published Part 2 yet.)
Race day was quite a mix of emotions. I felt humbled, proud, panicked, and pissed all in less than 5 hours.

The start was humbling. I was in a field with some of the fastest people in the WORLD. They would be literally miles ahead by the time we were running, but at least I was there. Of that I was proud. In mid-August I had almost declined the spot which I had earned at a qualifying race. This perfect dawn reinforced the fact that that would have been a mistake.

Panic set in during the swim. Because everyone was a good athlete, the pack never broke up. It was full contact for the first .6 miles. I also realized I had my wedding band on. It has been known to slip off when swimming, so usually I take it off before the race. I was so worried I'd lose it I did the swim with my left hand mostly closed.

Panic reared its ugly head again during the bike. I was cruising along at a pretty good clip and then the first, of what would be many illegal packs caught and passed me. That did cause the panic. The panic was the result of seeing another unfortunate competitor get squeezed wide by the overtaking pack, hit a large traffic cone, flip up into the air, and hit the pavement...lying motionless. Then there were the blind old people pulling into our "closed" lane. The final straw was seeing an old teammate lying motionless on the pavement. This was not a triathlon, it was Thunder Dome.

And because of the panic I was now in the latter half of the field, and I really don't like the view from the back if you know what I mean. So, I got pissed. I had great legs, and though the hot weather didn't allow for this New Englander to go 100%, I ran hard and moved my butt up from 678th place to a finishing place of 419.

Not the perfect race but I'll take it, especially because of the field. I ran through 260 people who had also qualified in the top 5% of their age groups. That's 260 fit and fast people. So I feel good about me.