Week 16: So I Did This Race

Wrote this week’s recap on my phone at the airport, because my life right now is a never-ending trip to the airport.

When I ended up at the med tent for a bit after the race on Sunday, my official medical diagnosis was: “Has a cold; raced anyway.” Which is pretty accurate.

Thursday morning around 3 a.m. I woke up and thought, “Shit.” Sore throat, hard to swallow, stuffed up, ears popping. This is definitely sick. That commenced three days of trying to turn this into the rare 24-hour cold with no lingering side effects. Hillary said to pound the Whole Foods wellness pills and water. Sara was all about oil of oregano and zinc pills, once I got to Victoria. Leslie said to do one of those neti pots and Vitamin A (or maybe it was C). I really just wanted to take something that first night to make sure I could sleep, which launched a whole set of questions about what cold meds you’re allowed to take under WADA rules. Which is definitely what you want to be trying to figure out while packing your bike and sneezing and laying on the couch and freaking out. All at the same time.

I made it to Victoria BC, which seemed like a lovely place in between my daily multi-hour naps, and had actually convinced myself by Saturday evening that this really wasn’t going to be a problem.

That lasted about 20 minutes into the race and then the group I knew I should be with pulled away and I couldn’t do anything about it. I spent the next three hours trying to talk myself into a race I was in the middle of. It went like this:

“You’re way behind where you should be. This is pretty terrible. And it can’t be good for you, you’re going to get sicker. Why are you even doing this, this is so dumb, you should quit. Definitely quit. Except you’re doing OK I guess, maybe. It’s not that bad. Just forget everything, just start over here. These five minutes, make them good. See you can do this. You’re not doing that awful. Except, actually, it’s still pretty bad.”

Photo: The Sara Gross

Spoiler: I finished. Much slower than I expected, but not as much slower as I was starting to expect while it was happening. I even pulled off a decent run just by sheer force of continuing to run, and I ended up 7th.

I still don’t know if it was stupid or smart to race. I don’t know if the pro thing would have been to call it when I added Costa Rica to the schedule (in two weeks). I don’t know how I feel about the whole thing, good that I pulled off a mediocre race or pissed that I used a race card on such a shit performance. I do know I’m no good at ‘seeing how I feel’ once I start. I always feel like I’m in pain, sick or not. So it had to be all in or nothing, and I guess we’ll add this to lessons learned in Being A Professional.

4 thoughts on “Week 16: So I Did This Race

  1. For the sake of an ignorant age grouper, can you explain what you mean by “used a race card.” As a professional are you allotted a certain number of free/discounted race entries?

    1. Ah, no, I meant it metaphorically. Like “burned a match.” You probably only have so many super hard great efforts in you in a year, give or take?

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