Talk about a belated post.
I've avoided this blog for well over a month, because I don't like to dwell on the negative. Also because shortly after Wildflower I had a two-week marathon binge of tutoring work for the end of the semester crush, and also was pretty horribly ill for a spell, so there wasn't really much time for a race report.
Report I must and I shall: briefly... so again, as not to dwell on the negative.
In many ways, I didn't want to blog about Wildflower because it's embarrassing. Embarrassing to, yet again, have to document how man drama interfered with my race performance... how my hydration was thrown off by bouts of sobbing, how psychologically I went into a dark spiral during the run that made the race, already hard and hot as hell, even more horrendous. But yeah, once again, Nikki got dumped... this time at an even more astonishingly poorly-timed life moment, namely one day before race weekend. It was one of those "we don't have a future, so we should probably stop dating" conversations that could have easily taken place later, say, when I didn't have a 70.3 followed by multiple deadlines stressing me out, but poetically, I suppose that illustrated just how profoundly this guy a.) did not give a shit about me and b.) had no idea about anything going on in my life. So there you go. Yes, it was going nowhere, but good God, it could have continued to go nowhere for a week and that would have made my life immeasurably less difficult for that weekend. But whatever. Adversity!
It's embarrassing to be sad about someone who doesn't give a crap about you, but you know, it's hard to not, and you certainly have to feel bad for at least one day after dating someone for five months. Unfortunately that one day was race day, and I can't alter the laws of space and time, so as much as I tried to not think about it, of course it was all I could think about. And when you're trying to be all "Eye of the Tiger" and pumped for racing, "why does nobody love me" isn't exactly a resounding refrain of motivation. Having slept one hour and cried a lot, I was all dehydrated and nasally, and by race day I felt actually sick... it appears all the stuffed head marinated overnight and became a delicious sinus infection. DELIGHTFUL! Being proud and of the "it will be a cold day in hell before I abandon this my FIFTH YEAR doing Wildflower and triathlon anniversary because of some asshole dude" mentality, I still raced... of course. Swim was all right, about matched last year's time a little over 36 minutes, which is good because the water was shallow and almost everyone was slower by 2 minutes, so I guess that actually means I was faster. I was determined to crush the bike course, and did so pretty moderately, I believe-- by at least 10 to 15 minutes (can't find the actual numbers, but I think it was 3:18 as opposed to last year's 3:35). My HR was soaring with the efforts, though, and being sick wasn't helping. I stayed in Zone 4 (170s) the entire ride. By the time I got off the bike, all kinds of things were coming out of my sinuses, and I felt woozy. It was also in the 90's by then, as it tends to do (hot, heinous trail run) and I was NOT feeling my legs. Super bummer, because I should have totally nailed it. The toll of the exhaustion really showed at this point, and trying to struggle through the heat and against my brain was a losing battle: over and over again I kept returning to hurtful, negative thoughts ("why did he say that?" or "that didn't make sense" and so on and so forth, as woman-brain tends to do) which of course is disempowering and does not help reduce suffering whatsoever. It was, in fact, the hardest race I have ever done because of what a dark, dark place I was in during that run. It was the opposite of my zen happiness of recent IMs. I just couldn't get there... I tried and tried, but I was too stressed, too tired, too exhausted to mentally power away from the darkness. I had to take a cold medicine to try and get through the end, too, which probably made me slightly insane... with the bike and run combined, I averaged a 170 HR for a full six hours and change. Which is ABSOLUTELY INSANE.
I did finish, though shamefully slower than last year on the run (2:10, really ought to have PRed that split given my Cabo marathon time) but still miraculously PRed by 2 minutes in the end. I eschewed the bacon and bourbon handout at mile 7 from the Square One peeps, but it did make me smile, so I got a tee shirt later. "No thanks, I'm sick!" I said to the guy with a jug of Bulleit bourbon. "The alcohol will kill the germs!" he replied. Maybe he was right-- my other friend took a nip and miraculously stopped cramping afterwards. Perhaps it would have sunnied my disposition? (Probably not.) Naked man was there on the trail again, by the way: I said "I hope you put on sunscreen" and he replied coyly "wanna help me put some on?" and then smacked my butt as I ran past. That was memorable.
Of course the worst part of everything is, with my head in a fog from the sinus infection (I blew my nose after-- it was green-- oh Lord) and all emotionally wrecked, I was so focused on holding it together and not unravelling publicly that I, in turn, came across as aloof, unthoughtful, and ungrateful to my friends who had come to cheer me on. And that's nearly unforgivable. After being dissed, I dissed those who actually WERE there for me. And that's another reason I didn't blog, because I felt ashamed of hurting my friends' feelings. Happily, they have forgiven me. And I'm thinking the whole scenario was such a perfect shitstorm, it shouldn't happen again, but I am still extra mindful to always be thankful for the love and support of my friends, because they're the ones who've always been there for me when I needed them most. I'm looking forward to a time when I can return the favor.
I wound up with a fever the next day, and a bunch of papers on fascist and political rhetoric to write. I did make all my deadlines (A's!) and I did get medicine, and ten days after that, the worst race I've ever had to do mentally, I went out on a date with an amazing man who, yes, is now my boyfriend. (Say what?? Yes, I know. Crazy.)
Reflecting on the absurdity of that weekend seems all the more surreal, coming, as I now am, from a very calm and happy place of being in a real relationship with someone who DOES give a shit. And yes, he does know what I do with my life, and my training, and supports my dreams and would never unintentionally or not sabotage an important race. So it looks like that sort of emotional crap should be squared away for races of future dates. Hooray.
I wish I could say that my fifth anniversary of doing triathlons was a joyous celebration, instead of me being depressed and acting like a dick to my friends. But I can at least say that it was a one of a kind experience NEVER TO BE REPEATED. I've decided to look at it this way: May it go down as the worst race in Nikki history so that every other race may be a wondrous celebration of the friendship and community this sport has come to mean to me in my daily life.