At every race there is a rabbit that everyone chases. Sometimes the rabbit changes, other times one rabbit dominates from start to finish. Today at White Sands Triathlon, there were a few rabbits. When I found out the swim was cancelled for rough waters, I couldn’t decide if I was happy (because the swimming is my least favorite) or if I was sad because I knew there were a few really good runners about to pull the line… Many of the participants from the Freedom Sports Clinic (I put on the transition segment – flying mounts & dismounts wweeeeeee!!!) were at the race getting ready, so I stopped and chatted some to ease pre-race tension. As the start approached I tried to separate myself from the transition area because I get so nervous, I start making my other friends nervous too...Chloe! HA! I was ready – but was I going to execute or make excuses to hold back yet again. Marshal started us off all at once. The first 1.5 miles went by fast, but not fast enough for me. In the first ¼ mile I tripped and Hadley asked if I was okay. Hadley is a FAST runner in the area I knew I needed to try to keep with on the run. My legs felt heavy and slowly, the rabbits pulled away. My left calf started tightening as it has been – then starting to go numb. It was only 1.5 miles – why so quick? I kept telling myself it would go away when I got on the bike – I just need to get this leg over with as soon as possible. My mouth got completely dry – this has never happened! I like to refer to this as “constipated mouth.” Unfortunately, I fell back to 4th female in the first 1.5 mile. I could see the top 3 rabbits rounding the corners as we re-entered transition.
I knew I had to put on a lot of distance on the 16 mile bike leg or they’d catch me in the 2nd run. I didn’t see 2 of the rabbits as I exited transition, but I did manage to see one leave on the bike, Hadley. I fumbled around with my bike as I left but tried not to let it bother me like I had last week when the Velcro on my new shoes pulled completely out of the loop. (I decided to go back to my old bike shoes after several frustrating issues with Velcro and numb toes in my newer ones.) I couldn’t see Hadley on the bike when I started. I still didn’t know if the other rabbits got out ahead already or if anyone else snuck by when I wasn’t looking. I knew the best chance to catch Hadley and possibly the other 2 rabbits was to hammer it with the tail wind we had on the way out. I immediately felt better on the bike and had a chance to hydrate. I managed to catch Hadley by the turn around and she yelled words of encouragement – I love great sportsmanship among competitors! As I was heading back, I didn’t see the other rabbits. I actually saw a guy that I thought was a girl, so I started hammering harder on the bike – were the other’s ahead of me still and was this new “girl” catching me? Finishing the bike, a few spectators yelled I was the first female. Great! But by how much? The other rabbits were GREAT runners!
I headed out of transition feeling pretty good, but could hear the water sloshing around in my stomach. Listening to the sloshing was entertainment for the first ½ mile – those who know me know I have a strong stomach… I’ll leave it at that. The tailwind felt great! I past a few guys early in the run and was then alone… Alone with thoughts that the original rabbits might catch up but that I can’t give up. As I approached the turnaround, my legs felt heavy again. Knowing the entire way back would be into a heavy headwind, I was discouraged. I kept repeating to myself that everyone has this headwind…we all are slowing our pace…I CAN hold them off… but then my legs would tell me otherwise and the process repeated itself until I saw the La Vela sign! It’s amazing what we can do in the last stretch to the finish. I wonder if rabbits are like that too – when they are being chased and about to reach a safe-haven.
My husband was waiting for me just before the finish! It was good to be back! What took just 1 hour and 20 minutes felt like an eternity! While some rabbits can move up to 45 mph, they cannot hold it for long. Luckily, I held my pace just long enough today! Great race Freedom Sports!