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(Photo: Wagner Araujo via IM Costa Rica 70.3)
There’s a lot to say about Costa Rica and the country’s first Ironman brand race. At least, I hope there’s a lot to say because I have to write a story about the trip and you’ll have to read most of the details when it publishes.
So I’ll just say this one thing now about the race:
I didn’t want to do it. At all. (The race, not the trip.) I was tired and overbooked. I wanted to sit on a beach. Hot and humid is not my thing anyway. I was covered with poison oak. Then we got here and it was even crazier than I expected: Transition was a few inches deep of mud and water; it pours every day right now; you had to run through a shallow creek at one point; and remember to watch out for animals and chaos.
Plus, one glance at the start list confirmed I might be spending most of my day in last. You don’t make this trip unless you think you can win — or you’re me, I guess.
But the thing about all that is it’s a little fun and it means you never know.
I was last out of the swim and last off the bike and it was a crazy race. And then I started running and it became clear very quickly the run was going to be total carnage. It was so humid and so hard. When it’s like that, it becomes a race of survival. I wanted to quit too. So much. I was ready to drop out. Instead, I kept repeating: Just keep running, you don’t have to run fast, you just have to survive better, eat a gel, you know how to do this. Also I sang the same two lines from Hamilton over and over.
I ran myself into 4th at one point and then got re-caught and nipped close to the end and finished 5th. And I need to work on my biking still. But when we were running hot, humid, hilly loops around the town at Coco Beach, there was a point on the out-and-backs when I looked at the girls ahead of me and they looked at me, and we knew each other. And I knew, in the haze, that we were all struggling. We were all the same right then. There was no secret, no magic that makes it not hurt for some of them. And for just a second I was just as good as anyone.
Now I need to work on being as good for the other four hours.