The continuing chronicle of Wesley's quest to be published; plus comments on popular culture, family life, and whatever else falls out of his head.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

198

Right now I'm wearing the T-shirt of a race I couldn't finish. Hell, I couldn't even get started.

It was a beautiful day for racing. About 60F degress , blue sky. Generally upbeat mood (it was kind of hard to tell what the mood was because Carrie and I only got there a few minutes before my age group took off.

We had to get up at 5:30 to get there on time. Carrie drove. I was a nervous wreck. Everything was rush rush rush.

The course itself started on a 2.25 mile professional racetrack in Marion, OH. They're actually having races there this afternoon, in fact.

Beautiful day. Absolutely gorgeous. I line up with the others in my age group, and we take off on the first leg of the race, around the pro track. I quickly became the last in my age group, and as other waves of racers passed me, they sometimes shouted encouragement. Women mostly. I don't know if they felt sorry for me or not.

I had to stop and walk at least twice on the track. That was my first cue that I was going to have trouble. No, no that's not true. My first indication that I was in trouble was that I was the only one there who didn't look like he was ready for it. There were a handful of others who may not have been regular triathletes, but they were still in much better shape. But after we took off, and I saw how... unlevel the track was, I started... not panicking, really, but I couldn't breathe, and I just saw all these inclines and declines and everything, and wondering how I was ever going to be able to do this.

So I walked part of the way. The first transition put us back on the track for another lap. I still couldn't catch my breath, and I was still being lapped by the 'age-groupers.'

On the way to the track, Carrie and passed a couple signs on the road saying that the road was being used as part of the bike leg. These were more than just little foothills, some were pretty substantial hills.

By the time I was finishing the race track bike lap, my legs were already killing me, and I still had 25K yet to go on the bike before returning to the track. All on these hills. On the track I hadn't had to get off and push, but if it came to that, I'd be done for anyway. I knew that unless I could catch my breath, I'd never be able to make the leg, much less the final footrace leg.

So I didn't even try. I pulled back into the transition area and pulled the number off my chest, got Carrie and left. The race started at 7:20AM. We had left the track area and were pulling out of the facility by 8:49AM. I was done.

That crumpled up number, 198, is hanging on the wall in front of me as a reminder of what I have to overcome before the Alum Creek race in a month.

Looking back, could I have toughed it out and finished the race? Maybe. I just realized that I pulled out of the race about 8:20 or so, maybe a little later. The track closed to bikes at 8:45. Seems like a lot of time, and it may have been. And I may have not been the last one on the track, but I was darn close. What I would really be racing wouldn't bethe other racers, but the deadline. Let's say it was 8:30. I know that I can do around 15 miles in about an hour, on a flat surface. The bike portion was a little over 19 miles, but didn't close until 11AM. That gave me two and a half hours to get through it. Since I never saw the route, I don't know how I would have done, but If I'd allowed myself a chance to recover, I might have been able to make it through. That would still have allowed an hour for powerwalking the last 5K if I needed to.

Carrie says she's proud of me for going out there and trying. I think she'd probably be more proud of me if I'd finished. It's just logical, and Carrie's all about the logic. She drove me home and told me sweet nothings about how proud she was of me, and she's esseantially taking on the role of coach. Wants to re-do all of our diets and even get out on the road with me every morning.

***

Just had the conversation. She didn't want me to do another triathlon until I could master the duothlon, because it would mean another discipline when I haven't gotten my arms around running yet. Obviously, running is my weak spot. I was able to make her understand that that's exactly the reason why triathlons are better for me right now: less running. Somehow we talked each other into running together every morning.

Should be interesting, to say the least.

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