What goes through my mind during a race…

I could give you my typical Race Report, but it’s the third time I’ve raced this course, so I’m not sure how thrilling that would be.  The swim was longer (1,500m instead of 1,000m) & the run was, too (10k instead of an 8k)–so it made it an official “Olympic Distance” triathlon.  I’ve only raced this distance 4 times (including today), so it’s still pretty new to me (but becoming less daunting).  I finished 5th in my age group in 3 hours and 16 min.  My swim continues to be pretty ridiculously slow–for a variety of reasons (mostly because I haven’t the urge or ability to go fast).  The bike and run are pretty solid–both 4th place finishes in those categories.  I won’t complain too much about the 1st place winner–who should probably consider racing as an elite to give us age-groupers a bit of a break…how many medals do you need???  Oh wait, you can never have too many–what am I talking about?

Anyway–so that was the race.  My spider/insect bite on the top of my foot gave me trouble just about every step of the way–it felt like a really really large rock was in the top of my shoe the whole race.  I considered going home after the bike, but who are we kidding?  I would’ve run barefoot if it meant finishing the race.

In running races, you are allowed to wear mp3 players/ipods, etc.  In triathlons, according to the USAT rules (and almost every race I’ve done is sanctioned by this organization)–they are not allowed.  It completely changes my race.  During a running race, I can choose songs to speed me up, make me think, inspire me, keep my pace, lighten the mood.  I LOVE running to music.  So instead, picture 3 hours and 15 minutes of just you and your thoughts.  It can be a scary thing.

Here are my thoughts during the swim:  Ugh, get off me!  Give me space!  Stop kicking my face!  Ugh, these girls, don’t they see we have a whole lake to swim in?  Why are they so close to me?  Am I in last place right now?  Where’s the buoy I’m swimming to?  Oops, just went about 50m off course.  Concentrate on your form.  Use your hips.  Think about your hand entry.  Wow, it’s really sunny today.  But man, this water is so dirty.  Did my chip just fall off (stop swimming to re-attach race chip)?  Ugh, how big can this lake be?  Oooh, look, you’re getting into a groove–see, swimming can be fun!  This is a breeze.  Go faster!  No, I don’t want to go faster.  The shore is still so far away.  Why is this woman running into me?  Why aren’t these buoys bigger, I can’t sight them at all.  Oh wow–look, I see the shore.  Oh, I can stand up in the water now.  Why are these people cheering for me?  I can barely breathe & am probably the last one leaving the water.

The bike:  OUCH, my foot won’t fit into my cycling shoe.  OUCH, this is going to suck…let’s go.  Ahhhh, good to be back on the bike.  I love this course.  Let’s call this first loop a “warm up” loop.  Weeeeeeee.  Oh wow, these hills hurt.  Where’s the airport?  I’m really ready for the airport segment.  Oh no–it’s the horribly paved “cobblestone” road again.  I think I’ll sing a song about it: “cobblestone, cobblestone, it’s cobblestone” (sung for a good 3 minutes in my head…can’t think of any other lyrics).  Second loop.  This is no biggie.  Ooh, look, I’m passing a guy on his bike.  wait, he’s 88 years old.  Wow, I hope I’m lucky enough to be doing this at 88.  I hope my skin doesn’t look like leather, though.  My foot is going to really hurt on that run.  Maybe I shouldn’t do it.  Maybe I can just stop after the bike–it’s still a good 2hr workout.  And why should I have to kill myself just to finish this random race?  Oooh–cobblestone song time!!!  “Cobblestone, cobblestone, I’m riding on the cobblestones ” (wow, NOW we’re getting somewhere with that song).  Yikes, this hill is really hard.  Maybe I can think of an inspirational song to get me through it.  That new Eminem one, I’m not afraid.  I’m not afraid!  Yikes, I can’t remember any other lyrics & this hill just keeps getting longer.  Phew, one more time around.  Really, do I need to see that bloody roadkill squirrel THREE TIMES?  I wonder if anyone’s run over it.  Am I going slower?  I can’t tell.  Where’s the airport?  Ooh, look Raging Waters…looks like a fun slide.  Ooh pretty mountains.  I love this downhill–it’s what makes this bike ride bearable.  Oh we’ve reached the end.  Can my foot handle the run?  Time to find out.

The run:  ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch…but not as bad as I thought.  I can do this.  At least I can run the first 3 miles and then walk it if I have to.  Oooh, water, thanks volunteer!  I love this run.  Look at that view!  Oh wow.  This woman is running with one leg.  Maybe I should stop thinking about how much my foot hurts & be happy that I have two legs.  But her prosthetic one does look really fast.  Nice, I’m passing people–yes, people that look like they completely blew out their quads on the ride, but hey–a pass is a pass.  Ok, let’s just take this run piece by piece–20 minutes at a time.  Let’s pretend this part is just an everyday trail run I’m going on.  OUCH, my foot hurts!  At least it’s masking any other minor pain/soreness I might be having elsewhere.  Oh, no, my quads are hurting as well.  At least it makes my foot seem like it hurts less.  I should walk up every hill, just to give myself a little break–but eat a Clif gel, so people don’t think I’m walking because I’m tired.  Hmm, this run isn’t so bad.  I think I’ll speed up.  Is anyone else on this run with me?  Lots of motor homes in this park.  Oh look–jet skis on the lake!  I wonder if anyone wants to go jet ski with me sometime.  Although I don’t have any jet skis.  It’s too complicated already.  I can barely drive the 8 miles it takes to hang out at the beach.  When is this run going to be over?  Oooh, thanks volunteer for the water.  OMG–that woman is wearing headphones & she’s BEATING me.  Can I tell on her at the end of the race?  The race organizers would probably talk about what a snitch I was.  And remember that first triathlon that I brought my headphones to–because I knew I wouldn’t finish in the top 3 anyway, so why not.  Well, now I play by the rules.  I wonder if I could sneak headphones next time around, if they were really tiny…would it really make me faster?  How come this race doesn’t have any mile markers?  Probably about 1.5 to go.  I don’t feel like speeding up.  I’m just gonna take it easy.  Oh no–who is passing me?  I think I will speed up.  Thank you, race, for finally seeming like a race & not me out for a random weekend run at the park.  Oh wow–I can see the tents up ahead.  I don’t think I’m gonna sprint this one in.  Why is this guy walking?  He’s almost there!  “hey there! come on, it’s just around the corner!!!”  OH wow, why did I just say that out loud?  Maybe he has a much worse insect bite & can barely walk.  Nevermind, I hear him picking up the pace.  And crossing the finish line!  Where’s the water?  Guys, I need WATER.

So there you go–some of my race thoughts.  Now imagine that & multiply by 100—geez, let me just say I’m sick of my own thoughts about right now (especially after writing them out).