Conquering My Inner Demons… aka – Shamrock Ten Penny Duathlon Race Report
“I’m not going to get a call from you asking to be picked up again am I? Because if I do, you are going to have to rethink this bike thing.”
Yup – that stung. But he spoke the truth and I chalked it up to a whole lot of tough love. You see, he had picked me up, not once but twice from two separate 70.3 races during the bike portion.
When it comes to my bike, I begin to freak out. I am uncontrollably scared to death of riding to the point of having a panic attack and I have had panic attacks just thinking about riding my bike. I feel once I’m clipped into the bike, I am somehow going to fall over into traffic and die. And, yes, it has happened before and yes, I do have a scar on my leg. Every single time I take out my bike for a ride in traffic, I have to will myself to remain calm and focused.
So when I registered for the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s, Shamrock Ten Penny Ale Duathlon, I threw up a little in my mouth. The Shamrock Duathlon is a 5K run, followed by a 26K bike ride, followed by another 5K run. I made myself register. I knew the duathlon would be a great start to getting myself back into triathlon – especially since I was allowed and encouraged, by the doctor, to ride. Not to mention, I want to be an Ironman and there’s a 112 mile bike race smack dab in the middle of an Ironman.
Yesterday, when I picked up my race bid I was silently praying Hartford Marathon Foundation switched my bib down to the 3.3 mile Run. Alas they did not and I drove the course with my daughter to try to visualize myself riding my bike without dying. My daughter was cheering me on, “You can totally do this hill. You are strong. Yes, this is going to be tough, but you can do it.” My 11-year old was talking me off the ledge.
I spent the entire night agonizing over the bike part of the race. I didn’t sleep well.
Today was beautiful. Just beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day – temps in the 50’s and bright, sunny and dry roads. I got to transition early to set up my bike. I went to the bathroom at least 3 times. I had my breakfast. Everything was perfect and it HAD to be for my psyche.
My plan was to take the first run easy running 30-second intervals and 30-second walk breaks. I lined up in the back of the pack taking my time. The run went off without a hitch. I tried to remain calm. I reached transition with less than 10 bikes stacked – not good.
I got myself together and headed off on my bike. The first 4 miles of the bike course was a steady climb. I was doing great, even PASSING other bikers, until I came to a steep part. Now a reasonable person would have come out of the saddle and peddled, but since I was going slow, starting to wobble and beginning to panic I got off my bike and began WALKING. Yes, WALKING in cleats. And now, those bikers I had passed were passing me – the moron walking her $$$ bike up the hill. After I got passed by 4 bikers, telling me that I was doing great, and realizing nope, I was not. I got my $#%@ together and got back onto my bike.
Yes, I got back onto that bike and I peddled. I passed these 4 bikers again and I caught up to one lady and I followed her up the hills. I did what she did, until I had the strength to pass her up another hill. Then I passed a few more until I made it back into lovely transition were I got off my bike, laced up my sneakers and ran a 5K into the finish line!
The best part of the day – calling my husband to let him know I had finished!
Have you ever had to conquer your inner demons during a race? How did you overcome them?