I have been "racing" in half marathon, marathons, short, middle and long distance triathlons as well as cycling for about 14 years now.
I say "racing" because the leaders/winners are in no way threatened by me. For those that know me I am a smidge competitive. This is more for me and maybe the 5 or 6 people in my time zone on the course but yep I am competitive.
I don't quit, I train religiously and I race hard. My friends will tell you I am different animal when the gun goes off in a race as opposed to a training day. I am intense and the I push - I always say there is no such thing as a "training race" It is a race- throw it down and go!
2012 was not a great year - I had a torn calf muscle, I bounced myself pretty hard off the pavement and got a nasty concussion out of it and the start of 2013 was not going much better. I had registered for Challenge Pentiction - just a renaming of IRonman Canada, Penticton - same course, same distance so in January 2013 I had healed up and was ready to start training.
I started with a bang - I was in a swim clinic to work on my stroke and endurance swimming great coached workouts Sunday morning and after Jude and I would go do our long runs. I was riding to work and back and running with the full marathon clinic on weeknights. It was going great and then.... I was getting off the bus start of February and my right leg sort of siezed up. No worries but by the next day I could hardly put any weight on it let alone walk. Thankfully working in a hospital I was able to go to the Urgent Care and after xrays, bloodwork, ct scan all coming back negative I was given a set of crutches and told possible fracture of the femur, we will order a bone scan tomorrow. Stay off the leg. WHAT!?!?!?! I am not going to lie I hobbled to the bus stop crying the whole way. Called Joe and Jude crying. I was devastated and scared. Again because I work where I do and I used to be a Nuclear Med Tech I was able to go down and talk to the team there and get in that afternoon with results 2 hours later because I used to work with the physician. It pays to know peeps. Good news no fracture bad news califcation deposit from all my crashes so I had to get that broken up and worked on. Back to Physio.
Okay well I have been here before and knew that my marathon was benched but my Challenge was still viable if I rehabbed properly and trained within myself. I was on crutches for another week and by March I was given the go ahead to do runs adding 5 min each day and rides but no hill repeats for at least a month. Swimming and water running once again my main training. My rehab went so well that I was able to run the half marathon in May and decided to still do my Half IRon the first week of June.
The half ironman was where i had the epithany. 2013 was the year of wind - seriously every darn race was windy. The morning of the swim I got in the water and there were whitecaps and waves. Okay you can do this I actually did not have too bad a swim but when I came out I was not feeling great my stomach was not happy and I ended up throwing up twice once on the way to transition and once in transition. Shake it off.
I jumped on the bike and out on to the course and boom headwinds. Not just little headwinds but strong headwinds all along the course did not matter which direction. That was the hardest ride I had done in a long time and by the time I got off the bike I was tired and pissed. My time sucked. I changed in to runners and still in dark cloud headed out on the run course - my peeps Special K and Pam were there yelling way to go and I just barked at them I WANT MY PHONE! I needed to call Joe - he would understand - so I did and I can't remember all I said but I was ranting and bitching something fierce. Joe said it is a training race - me more ranting, and then he said if it is that bad walk off the course. What? You need to change your mindset this is supposed to be fun and a training race. Whoa - I started to calm down we talked a bit more and I hung up. I thought about what he said and looked to the side and saw a little girl with a dog cheering people on and it hit me - he is right - when did this stop being fun? So you know what I did - I stopped I walked over and I sat down beside the little girl and asked if I could pet her dog. I stayed probably 2 or 3 minutes and we chatted about her dog and such. I then thanked her for cheering and said I better get going.
Joe was right this was a training day but more importantly doing this stuff was supposed to be fun. So after that I made sure to chat with people and high five the spectators, I petted a few more dogs and just generally started to relax and enjoy the moment again. I think it was probably my slowest half marathon in a long time but by the end of it I felt so much better about the race.
I even afterwards when we got back to the hotel sat down with the Special K and Pam and proceeded to have several celebratory glasses wine. Which I would not have done before as I was in training. I ate chips, drank wine and just relaxed it was the best and made me realize that I needed to keep this whole "racing" in perspective.
I will tell you how Challenge went later but since my epithany all my races have been great. I am enjoying doing these things again and since I have taken the pressure off myself they are fun again.
Peace out Shaun