Ever since I started participating in distance races that are geared more towards the endurance side, I have mostly considered myself to “do” these races, as opposed to “race” the races.
Because I am not really fast, so I don’t really feel like I am “racing” when I do the longer stuff – I do them, and get them done.
To me, “racing” means to have some speed, and it’s pretty clear speed has not been in my physical make-up.
You can’t even rearrange the letters in my name to get the word “speed.”
So yeah - that right there more or less proves it.
In fact, I feel that - with the exception of one race this season (Kenosha ½ marathon) - I have in fact become noticeably slower and more easily fatigued since the whole kidney thing – but that’s a post for another time.
I guess that’s also why I don’t usually post my race times – it’s not because I am embarrassed or anything – it’s just that the accomplishment of finishing is usually enough for me, especially this year, when nothing was really "planned" and my training has been...creative. I take pride in crossing that line, no matter what pain it brings.
That said - Today I raced my second ever (can you believe) International distance race.
Notice I said “raced?”
Raced – as in – intentionally tried to go fast.
Well, fast for me, which might be different than a regular person’s fast.
Mine’s more like Department of Motor Vehicles fast.
So I signed up last minute for the Pleasant Prairie triathlon in Wisconsin after I got the racing bug from Steelhead 70.3 two weekends ago.
And without putting you through a regular race report, I will simply say this:
It was FAR AND BEYOND the best race I have ever raced.
In every discipline, I felt strong – like I could swim/bike/run all day long.
And the best part –I never stopped – not even when I grabbed water – on the run.
Like, I kept running. And running. And running.
It never hurt, I never fatigued, I never got sore.
Having said that, though – there is one thing that I messed up and I don’t really have an explanation for which is - Despite feeling stronger than strong on the swim, I was nine minutes off my expected time.
The weird thing is that, even though the whole race was great, I actually felt the swim was the best (oh my gosh- did those words just get typed by my fingers? well now I've done it - Michael Phelps and his fish fins is probably going to strike me dead with his bong any second now for such blasphemy).
But seriously - I really felt powerful and smooth. No calf cramps, good rotation, strong stroke, lots of open space. I was swimming and thought to myself – “Oh, so this is what bloggers mean when they write about good, smooth, gliding swims!! I love it!!”
So imagine my surprise when I exited the water and saw 37 minutes on my watch.
*cue me trying to run up the sand hill while staring bug-eyed at my watch, snot smeared across my check and loudly belching a massive lake-water burp as I yank my goggles off*
I actually said out loud to no one in particular, "Bitch - WHAT?!"
Dead people FLOAT faster than that.
I mean, I got off track a few times due to my own poor sighting, but nine minutes worth of zigzagging?
I don’t think so.
I mean, heck – that’s just about what I did the Steelhead swim in two weeks ago, and that was a half-Iron.
Hell, I was a floaty noodle and margarita away from a lazy river float.
I guess I should have known something was wrong when I was suddenly surrounded by waaaay different swim caps about halfway through – but I had somehow managed to convince myself that I was just swimming soooo fast, I was actually passing the group ahead of me.
HAHA! I mean, how narcissistic of me is that? I was literally being passed by not one, but TWO groups of people who started after me, and I was like, “Check ME out! How you like me now, Triathlon? Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride, ain’t nothin’ gonna slow me down – Oh No!”
So instead of coming in at my expected 2:45, I actually finished at 2:54.
That's not so say I am disappointed - I am soooo NOT disappointed because of how good I felt all morning. In fact, I am pretty ecstatic at my little milestones today - noticable strength, no walking, good mental positive thoughts, strong finish. I mean, sure - my swim stroke my be as efficient as my diaper changing skills (read: not so much and grosssssss), but it's workable with practice.
I know that, if I keep trying, training, and practicing the right way, the speed AND the strength will start to come together better *says Captian Obvious.* I am most impressed with how strong I felt across the board that, while not Speedy McFast Pants, I can securely say I don’t really care what my watch read.
Because today, I did not measure myself by my watch.
And any day that I don't begatively judge myself is an accomplishment in itself.
(pictures to follow in next post)