I didn’t really have anything to say about this race right after it happened because I didn’t want to think any more about it. Or rather I was thinking about it a lot, but trying not to. And I was trying to let my brain recharge and rebuild, and the internet is not conducive to that.
But also: there isn’t a ton to say. There’s a reason when pros write race reports that are basically ‘I just didn’t have it today’ it’s SUPER boring to read. Because that may be fascinating to the person in the race but it’s boring to everyone else. So here’s my boring race report: I didn’t have it, and it was fiiiine I guess overall, but I’m 100% putting out paces and efforts in training that made me very, almost irrationally, disappointed with my race.
We started as the first age group, six minutes behind the pro women, which made for a tough (but informative) day. My swim was solid. I got on the bike. And then I saw six people the whole ride — four of whom were 40-44 men passing me in the last 10 miles as I had a meltdown. Or, rather, I saw all the people in the later age groups headed out as I was headed back, but I only passed or was passed by six. For all that this race is supposed to be a fast draft fest, my race was lonely as fuck. I did OK on the way out, into the crazy wind, but then I fell apart on the way back. My watts were Ironman numbers, and unfortunately this was a half-Ironman. I was not dealing well with the crosswind and was sitting super weird on my bike trying to stay low or something. I dunno what I did, but my seat was digging into my hamstrings to the point that it was debilitatingly hard to pedal. Whatever. I just wanted off my bike and none, NONE, of the mental tricks I’ve taught myself were working.
I still knew it might come back to me while I ran around a parking lot for 13.1 miles. But it didn’t really. Lap 1 was not great but good enough. Lap 2 I was so hot I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out before or after the finish line. Lap 3 the only thing that kept me moving as I shoved ice down everything was that a 44-yo woman on her first lap passed me and I figured I really should stay with her.
I finished in 4:43 and was a hot mess. Sitting under the med canopy (not quite a tent) every other one of the girls around me said it was also tough and windy and miserable and hot for them too. So I figured we all were suffering and I felt OK about that. And then 15 minutes later I started crying. And I kept crying randomly all afternoon and evening. I cried in the Denver airport after I stupidly had to leave straight from the race, as I dizzyingly nauseously looked for food during my stupid layover on the stupidest flight decision I have ever made. I cried the next day when a police officer turned me around at an intersection because the road was closed. Basically, I cried a lot. So, no, it’s not exactly a mystery that I was clearly a little in a hole, a little emotionally and mentally and physically beat up. I mean, for fucks sake, I literally thought at one point during the run, “Why am I even spending so much time training if I’m just going to suck like this? Why the fuck have I been wasting my time? I’m a joke.” And then, because I’ve grown enough as an athlete that I didn’t just quit at that point, I thought, “I think my brain is fried. If I get through this, it really needs a break.”
People have given me a lot of pep talks. And, I get that it was still a solid race, a PR, I dealt with it and we figured out some issues (like don’t race an 11-speed cassette on your 10-speed bike, which honestly worked fine enough; it’s not like that’s what was holding me back). But I also know that Hillary probably summed it up best when I did my first hard workout since the race on Tuesday, she said, “These were great, more like your normal files instead of whatever the fuck that was in Galveston.” Which is now how we’re referring to the experience. Whatever the fuck that was in Galveston.