I love Springbrook. It was my very first triathlon in 2012 so if I have the opportunity to race it… well…. I’m gonna. I came into Springbrook off of a hard (and planned) three week training block. Aaron and I labeled this as a C race. The last blow out before beginning a taper for Nationals.
I woke up that morning not feeling my typical race day excitement. I was tired. I hit snooze three times. I got ready, loaded the car and arrived early to set up. Todd (my husband and most awesome supporter) was also racing that day as part of a relay team. I was super excited for him to experience triathlon from a non-sherpa view and secretly (or not so) hoping that this would serve as his gateway drug to more races in the future.
I got in a good warm up on the bike and run, double checked transition set up… (Oh, this would be a good time to mention that I had discovered the night before that I had accidentally thrown away my trusty neoprene race mat. Oops. Beach towel it is!) and headed to the pool. Uneventful swim warm up and lined up to start.
As I approached the race mat to jump in I was immediately hit with the “do you really want to do this today?” thought. I quickly ignored it and jumped in the pool. The swim went… well, swimmingly. I set a 13 second course PR over 200 yards and quickly exited the pool. So I am sure you are thinking at this point, “Oh this is one of those stories where the athlete feels all yucky and gross mentally and physically and then she gets out on course and sets a PR and wins the day!” Well, hold that thought…
T1 was a cluster. I mean seriously. The socks went on smoothly but completely crooked. Trying to readjust socks on wet feet isn’t exactly an exercise in speed. I slipped into my shoes just fine but forgot to velcro them. I tried to buckle my helmet four times before it finally buckled (did I mention my buckle is a magnet so you just have to get it to line up kind of correctly and it buckles without issue?). I went to mount my bike and realized that my bikes shoes STILL WERE NOT VELCROED! After spending entirely too much time filming a triathlon bloopers video in T1 I was off on the bike.
I will spare the bike and run details to simply say it was hard. My legs felt like cement the entire time. I never felt smooth with my bike or run cadence. And I felt like the harder I pushed, the slower I went. After about 0.75 miles into a 2.7 mile run I mentally quit and my body followed right in line.
I offer my race experience to you with full transparency. I’m not pleased with this race. I’m embarrassed by it. And no, I don’t mean the performance. I mean my attitude. At the end of the day we are adults playing triathlon. We are blessed to have bodies and financial resources that allow us to participate in this sport. I have a HUGE community of family and friends that support and encourage me. My race times and where I finished in my age group do not define me as a person. I know all of this. Yet somehow, on Saturday, I lost track of it all. I sat on a picnic bench with my head hung down when I should have been at the finish line cheering on those that were out there giving absolutely everything they had and crossing the finish line with a smile. I’m glad I raced Springbrook. I’m glad I had a bad race. Because it has given me the chance to reflect and re-evaluate. So for my final race of the season my main goal is to let go. Let go of expectations. Let go of fears. Let go of bad attitudes. I want to be like my friend Shameka. You will never catch a race photo of her without a genuine smile. It is a smile of a grateful athlete. It is the smile of someone playing triathlon.