So, about Sunday - I was probably not in the best mental frame of mind as I headed into the race, stressing about other crap that had to do with the race (somehow I was still helping out with volunteers while also planning on racing). Also, on Saturday, I hoped to go for a ride - I figured that it would be nice to actually ride outside for the first time in a few weeks, and we even drove to Malibu with both bikes strapped to the car, only to discover that while Pasadena was pretty calm weather-wise, Malibu had crazy winds. Yes, I am still a wimp at times, but biking on Highway 1 with winds coming from the west and blowing at 30 miles an hour down the canyons - no thank you. I'll do it if I'm seriously training, but I just wasn't there on Saturday. So, I decided that it would be a great rest day. Ha!
Sunday, then, was a wake up and get ready to race morning, but at 7:30 am, I decided that I wasn't going to race, even though I was at the venue and had all of my racing gear. However, I didn't have anything racked, I hadn't checked in, and, more importantly, I just wasn't mentally 'there' to start racing at 8:05. I've never thought too much about that mental thing and how I need to be in the right state of mind to race. To be honest, when it comes to running, I probably don't think about it all - things usually come together, but I still find the PROCESS of doing a tri to be somewhat daunting (as a teacher, I would label myself a "false beginner" - I have experience, but it doesn't really get me where I would like to be). And I couldn't imagine getting ready to race in 10 minutes. So, I decided that I wouldn't race. Fortunately, I could postpone the race entry until spring of 2014, so I didn't feel that I had lost out in a major way. I took the attitude that it wasn't meant to be.
Then, right around 7:45, 2 people materialized for a relay - a swimmer and a runner. I happened to have my bike, so I thought, "Well, hell, I guess I'll ride today". The swim started at 8:05, so we managed to get our shit together in time for the swimmer to be at the beach and I got my bike and arrived in transition around 8:10, after the swim had started! Talk about a total mess. The swimmer happened to be wicked fast, so I got on the bike and the realized that everyone was going to pass me on the bike. Fortunately, on the 2nd and 3rd loop, I managed to hit the slower people and could pass them - yay!
I was sort of hoping that I would be somewhat fast (for myself) on the bike, so it's funny that I was just about as slow as I was last June when I did this race. And on that bike leg, I swam before and ran afterwards AND my chain fell off twice. Obviously my bike training has been sucking in recent months! On top of it, I just saw these pictures posted on facebook (I hate it when that happens) and all I could think was "Jeez, I look really silly!".
(Photos courtesy of CalTri; I'm really not a vain person and I'm posting these silly shots of me, but I really look like a dope here.)
At the end of the day and of the season, I'm sort of okay with the fact that I did not have the race that I wanted - obviously not as swim/bike/run or even as a bike. It was a good wake-up call to focus on bike fitness if I really want to get faster. But, going into this race, I knew that Vineman, back in July, was kind of "it" for me so I focused on that and I had a good race. But since July, I haven't been very focused, so it doesn't surprise me that the race on Sunday did not materialize. Yes, it feels like somewhat of a disappointment but not the end of the world.
So, I'm not sure how to categorize Sunday's experience - yes, a DNS for the olympic distance tri which kind of sucks, but a decent effort on the bike, despite the rather pitiful outcome. And, since I'm SO not a spontaneous person, I'll give myself 2 thumbs up for the impromptu decision to join a relay, even though I did lose the nice lead that our swimmer gave me.
In the meantime, I feel that my thoughts have already turned to 2014 as I start to think about the 'What's next' question.