“Fall seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams
“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb
“Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never.” – Winston Churchill
One Steop Back, Two Steps Forward was what went thru my head as I crossed the finish line in the Columbia Triathlon in a very disappointing time of 2:11. This was the message Doc was trying to get thru to me while in Subic Bay. He stressed that I was going to have to be patient this year and that I might go thru a period of adjustment. Tinkering with the swim stroke, adjusting to the raised volume on the bike and run, might prove to be a trying first half of the season. Boy was he right once again.
Race morning brought us cool temps with light rain but with the water temp over 68 degrees that meant no wet suits for the pros. One of the main reasons I wanted to do this race was to get some more experience racing in the pro division with the hopes that I can work on swimming in the pack. As the group of 25 or so of us were treading water in the cool water I kept thinking about how aggressive I was going to be in the first 400m. Gun goes off and I try and get on Michael Lovato’s feet, slowly I find the pack drifting away I see that I with my good friend and training partner Jacquie Gordan. I settle into the pack with Jacquie and 3 other women. Not sure if it was due to the cool water or still adjusting to the new stroke but I just didn’t feel quite strong enough to hang with the group in front. It seemed like the swim took for ever, I was anxious to get the swim over and see how my cycling legs felt. Finally we approached the finish shoot and I saw the clock tick over to 24:00, “Man that was crap”, I thought. I quickly exited transition and began chasing the riders in front of me. At first I was feeling pretty good, then it started to rain and the wind picked it up. With some pretty big descents and tight turns I found myself holding back quite a bit trying to avoid going down. As the bike carried on, I started to feel a bit tight and cold, legs were not feeling like I had hoped. But I pushed on hoping my run legs would carry me to higher finish.
Coming out of T2 my back was very tight and it took me about 2 miles to find my rythem. I could see the leaders coming back on the run and I began to realize just how far back I was. I must admit, I was pretty disappointed but reminded myself that I needed to still get in a good workout. So I pushed on, finally by mile 5 I was starting to feel stronger. The good thing is I crossed the finish line and I thought, “well, can we do that again?” This is a good sign that I am very strong from all the training the past few months, but my swim and bike are still far behind where they need to be if I want to be racing with the big boys.
I wanted to wait a day to write my thoughts because the usual 12-24 hour period of depression after a bad race is not very condusive for thinking clearly. The learning continues and I will carry on. One thing for sure, I will not be racing another International Distance race for quite some time. I will chalk this up to take my lumps and and gaining more experience.
As I woke up yestery morning, I had very little fatigue from the race. I got back in the pool, with Jacquie once again swimming next me, feeling fresh. I know I had way more in the tank but I did not play the cards I was dealt very affectively. I have been home for 3 weeks and I am now ready to get back to camp because I have a ton of work to do if I am going to have a good IM come November. I have 2 1/2 weeks to continue the Cam and Reinaldo Bike Program Doc has put me. Must get strong because the Swiss Alps are approching in a hurry!!!