Operation Annexation of Aviators and Ambulances: Wildflower

This weekend will be my second race of the season, Wildflower. As I go into this weekend looking for redemption, I am reflecting back on this race last year.

The day before the race last year, I got a pinch flat on the way down to transition. Then, a second pinch flat a few feet later. There was a hole in the rim of my tire which would have meant infinite pinch flats until the end of time had I not found it. The guys at the Specialized booth at the expo took pity on me and fixed my tire.

For the race start of Wildflower, all the pros go, then all the MEN go, and then us poor females are last. A later start means more time in the dry, rugged heat which the race is known for.

During my swim, things just didn’t feel right. I was feeling sluggish and like I wasn’t going anywhere.

Going up the first hill, I was greeted by a topless girl. If you didn’t know, Wildflower is the Woodstock of triathlons and let’s just say this wasn’t the only time I was flashed throughout the day, or even the weekend. I shoved a Larabar in my face desperately trying to get some energy, but nothing happened.

Going up an itty bitty little hill on the bike, I switched gears too quickly and dropped my chain. I had to hop off my bike and with all the adrenaline pumping, I couldn’t get the dang thing back on. Only after numerous attempts and getting bike grease all over myself and my bike was I able to get it back on. (This included my chin and face but I didn’t know this until after the race was over.)

By the time I got to the run, I was about to burst into tears. My stomach had been killing me most of the second half of the bike and I hadn’t been drinking or eating anything. It felt like someone had punched me in the stomach and it had just turned into knots that were in a vise in my stomach. I saw my wonderful Team in Training coach, HB at the first mile. I stopped and talked to her briefly. She told me to keep going and if I needed to, that it was ok to quit. None of my coaches throughout my swimming career or other athletic endeavors had ever told me that.

Then, one of my teammate’s Chrissy came running up. She tried to get my mind off the pain in my stomach. We joked about cats and laughed. She made me start drinking a little bit of water at every water stop. I felt terrible that she was ruining her race sticking with me and around mile 5 told her to go on without me. Somewhere around mile 8 I finally snapped out of it and began running again. I started passing tons of people (maybe where I originally began chicking people). In an effort to cool off, I began throwing water on myself at every water stop. So much water that my shoes started to make squishing noises. Running down the infamous Lynch hill or as it is known as “The Pit”, people turned around in terror as I flew past them.

I’ve never been so happy in my entire life to finish a race. One of the most valuable lessons I learned at this race is that it is ok to quit sometimes, but it is also ok to push yourself beyond your comfort zone to finish something. (This does not apply when you can physically hurt yourself). So this year, despite my knee injury and some inconsistent training since Ironman New Zealand in March, I’m going to do my best to make this a better race than last year, whatever that means. If I begin the run without debilitating pain in my stomach, if I can even finish the run, or if I finish anywhere below a time of 6:59.59, I will consider it a win. And only when my best friend Julia crosses that finish line, will the day be complete.

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Julia and I at Wildflower last year!

#redemption #operationannexationofaviatorsandambulances #wildflower2014

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2 thoughts on “Operation Annexation of Aviators and Ambulances: Wildflower

    • Don’t be afraid! The Olympic is a lot easier. Plus, the weather is looking a lot better than last year! 82 for Saturday and 72 for Sunday and overcast! Keeping my fingers crossed! You will do great 🙂 maybe I’ll see you out there!

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