A Sorta Wildflower Race Report That’s Really a Life Report

After Wildflower I was going to write something about my race and how I had a therapy session for myself out on the run course, but then it was hard to explain and long and I never quite got to it and I started it and then I didn’t finish and now it’s ages ago and who even cared in the first place anyway. So. This is sort of that story, but sorta something else. And it’s self-involved and diary-ish. But you know, whatever, if you don’t like it there are other parts of the internet I’m sure you’ll enjoy instead.

It’s not totally a secret that I’ve had a rough 5-6 months. But it’s not totally well-known either. And it’s definitely not well-known exactly how rough it was. So. This is me saying it’s been rough. One bad health issue after another, some of which were my fault and lots of which weren’t. Uncertainty about if I even could race at the same level, which would be one thing, but then also leads to a whole other series of personal crises about what I’m doing with my time and my life if I can’t even do this thing I spend so much of it on. I have other skills and interest, you know. And am I waiting for nothing or waiting to be better or just waiting? And, oh god, the personal crises. Like, I’m making it sound light or funny or not simply soul-crushing, because I don’t know how else to explain it, but it wasn’t really any of those things.

And then a week before training camp I started having heart episodes again. Bad episodes. And no, I’m not taking questions on the topic. And no, there’s nothing to do about it other than the same things I could do about it back in December. The only thing we know for sure is there’s a correlation between the frequency/occurrence of electric tachycardia episodes and extreme physical stress. I almost didn’t get on my flight to camp. Then I did. I had to bail on one (and a half) workouts. I mostly didn’t take it hard. I had two bad days. I decided I couldn’t do the Olympic distance race I was going to do in Huntington Beach the following weekend because I couldn’t keep my heart under control from day to day. I freaked out about skipping it. I felt terrible. Then I actually, physically, started to feel better. Then I felt fine again. Back to normal?

The weekend before Wildflower we decided I needed to do something to race prep, though, since I hadn’t done a race. So I was going to hard trainer in the parking lot of a local 5K and then race the 5K.

And then, the Friday night going into it, I had my total complete five-months-in-the-making meltdown.

It was partially the allergies. I couldn’t function or breathe. I got home from my ride and fell asleep, got up and ate, and fell back asleep. I barely slogged through half my workouts on that Saturday. And I cried. Because I knew, logically, I had built up too much of a mental barrier in my head about getting through this that I had to just get through it one way or the other and then I could re-evaluate my life after. It’s like when in the middle of a race you think, “I’m quitting the sport,” and then you think, “I should really make that decision later.” Still, even knowing logically I’d be fine, I couldn’t imagine getting through a 5K, much less a half-Ironman distance race.

I got through the 5K. It was fine. I almost PR’d. And then Leslie and I drove down to Wildflower and it was 50-50 on the way down if we’d just quit the sport or if this would go great. It went fine and we had fun.

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(Photo: Kaori Photo)

But out on the run course, when it feels like you’re running through the desert, when we were in 10th and 11th, it was at that point that every bad thing, every question and doubt and uncertainty, every time I’ve had my ‘what are you doing with your life’ crisis, all of it came rushing back. And there I was, trudging up a dusty trail losing time to Leslie, starting to show the signs of heatstroke, not sure if I’d make it to the finish, pretty sure I wanted to just go ahead and drop out now instead of later. Move on with my life from triathlon. And somewhere in the back of my head I knew — I FUCKING KNEW — if I didn’t finish this, I was probably done. Done done.

So, guys, I finished.

And, I ended up 10th by virtue of other people DNFing. And it wasn’t amazing — like it *really* was not amazing — but it wasn’t awful either. And I was kinda heatstroke-y for a bit, probably from the allergy meds I forgot I’d taken, and I sorta fucked up my calf. But it got done.

And I don’t think that race solved all my problems. When I got home I still had most of the issues I had before I left. But I also had a few less. Which is, maybe, the point. I think the reason we do all this in the first place (right?) is to dig deep down and see what we find there, to grind away some of the extra weight until there’s only whatever is left. We do it because the highs, man, the highs are worth the lows — even if that’s partially because they’re so rare. Also, you know, sometimes it’s fun.

Thanks to the sponsors people who have been sticking by me, btw. Dimond Bikes, Smashfest Queen, Xterra Wetsuits, and Clif Bar.

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(Photo: Kaori Photo)

One thought on “A Sorta Wildflower Race Report That’s Really a Life Report

  1. You seem to have more questions than answers. I think the cost of living in the Bay Area is a ton of stress probably. I in my aged years am pretty much against big city living.

    Your heart thing is a concern I am sure, not to mention you juggle a lot of stuff anyway.

    Can’t even remember how long I’ve read your blog, and the variations they have taken.

    Best of luck. I am in your corner.

    Later.

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