Sunday, May 15, 2011

I’m Not That Tough

Sadly, it seems that I’ve gone from bad to worse, so I am raising the white flag and surrendering. 

Yesterday, I gathered up the broken shards of my confidence and set off for another WTH course preview training session.  This time I was all set to tackle the bike course:  Race day outfit?  Check.  Hill climbing gears on my bike?  Check.  Hydration and fuel for a 60+ mile ride?  Check.  One full page of complicated turn-by-turn directions?  Check.  IronHubs as biking buddy?  Check (and thank goodness for that)!

bike ride 004Ready to ride.

Let me back this truck up for a second and tell you how nervous I was.  Not about the ride, actually, but just about the race in general.  For weeks now, I’ve had anxiety about whether or not I was going to be capable of doing this race.  Like over-the-top anxiety, which is not really typical for me.  Oh, sure, I get nervous about races, but not this kind of hyperventilating and sick to my stomach stuff.  Last week’s swim certainly didn’t help matters.

On the drive up, IronHubs and I talked about me switching over to the long course duathlon option and I felt really excited about that.  I’ve never done a du before and it would totally relieve the swim anxiety – perfect!  So, off we went with my heart full of hope again.

Of course I had obsessed read over the bike course description, so I knew the first 6 miles included 1200 feet of climbing.  I was prepared for it to be tough.  I was prepared for it to be technical and challenging.  I was not prepared to FALL OFF my effing bike at Mile 3.  Well, not “fall off” so much as “struggle so hard to climb a really, really steep switchback hill where I am actually rolling backwards in between pedal strokes, desperately attempt to unclip my foot so I can walk my bike, then tumble ass-over-teakettle fashion into a ditch full of brambles when I can’t get my stupid foot out of the clip.”  Oh, and don’t forget the part where I screamed like a little girl.

As I laid there in the ditch with my right foot STILL attached to my damn bike, it occurred to me that I can’t do this race.  Not just that I don’t want to, or it’s making me dry-heave with anxiety, but literally.  As in, this is a physical challenge that I cannot meet because it is outside my skill set.  Ouch.

As for bodily damage, there was very little.  I am grateful for the relatively soft landing because it could have been much, much worse.  My helmet didn’t hit the ground, my seat only needed a little readjusting and most of the blood came from the thistle scratches rather than road rash.  I’ll spare you the pictures of my scratched and bruised butt.

bike ride 005Doesn’t look like much on my elbow, too bad I can’t take a pic of my sore ego.

After I picked myself up out of the ditch, I walked my bike up the hill a little further, thinking I had to be near the top.  Not so much.  IronHubs was all set to soldier on and complete the bike course, but I had nothing left in me.  We turned around and went home, another epic FAIL in my logbook.

So.

Where do I go from here?  My head is pretty much a swirling black hole of thoughts and feelings right now, ranging from complete despair and worthlessness to relief to bitter, crushing disappointment, and wanting to sign up for another race next weekend or never wanting to do another race again for the rest of my life.

Odds are pretty good on the “getting over myself and signing up for another race soon” bet, though.  Even though it wasn’t enough to get me to a Half-Iron starting line, I don’t want all my training to go to waste.  We’ll see what I feel like in the next day or two, when I’ve cleaned up after my pity party.  I just got an email about a 5K on Memorial Day…or there’s an Olympic on June 5th…

20 comments:

Matthew Smith said...

I wish I could say something to encourage you... Sorry about you spill into the ditch. That's got to be painful. I just went back to see your post where you did some crazy bricking and had your transition zone set up in your garage. You do so well with all the training. I think you're pretty awesome whether or not you do this race. Keep your head up!

bobbi said...

This has to be so hard! I'm so sorry that you are feeling over your head. But I KNOW you'll pick yourself up and keep on, you'll figure it all out, the best way for YOU.

misszippy said...

Aw, so sorry your confidence has been shaken like that. It probably is a big sense of relief to let it go, however. You'll find the right event for you and when you have conquered it, you'll have your mojo back.

Jim ... 50after40 said...

I know it's trite, but it's not finishing, it's that you even had the courage to begin it. You have my respect ... I wouldn't have. Here's to you feeling better.

Michael said...

I know this is a bummer but better to figure it out now vs. race day. You'll get there soon enough!

Kristin said...

Oh bummer!! I have done the same thing on a hill!! Maybe trying to switch out your gearing or try a compact if you dont have one wo get up that hill..If at first you don't succeed try again! :)

Johann said...

Not fun at all but that's what makes us strong. I'm sure you'll be back soon with confidence to tackle the challenge. Stay positive!

ratherthecouch said...

Is the original race definitely out then? I still think you can do it. You're such an awesome (definitely above average) athlete! It seems like your head's just getting in the way. That you are physically capable. But I suppose no sense in doing it if you won't enjoy it.

This makes me think of your marathon journey. It's only a matter of time before you nail one of these big triathlons.

ajh said...

Take care. You are one tough lady and this is just a blip. Hate having you lose your confidence. You will find the right race for you now.

Whitney said...

Hey P, hang in there because you are much tougher than you are giving yourself credit for. Whatever you decide on the race will be the right decision!

Running Ricig said...

Aw, I'm so sorry! You'll be back out there soon!

Alma said...

I'm sorry about the bum bike experience. You've accomplished so much in training and in previous races, though, you can get through this. Work out those nerves & get back on that pony.

Heather said...

Ugh, so sorry about your rought swim and bike experiences lately - that sucks. Sounds like pulling out of this half is probably a good choice (maybe you can find one later in the summer with a less scary bike course???).

Lancer!! said...

Sorry to hear the training run went so poorly. :-/ Glad you picked yourself up. Next year, you will -own- this event!

-L.

EatRantRun said...

Have you considered the Big Kahuna Half in Santa Cruz or Barbs Race in Sonoma? Both are great HIM. Barb's Race even has a really non threatening swim. You could keep right on training.

Teamarcia said...

Oh gosh those switchbacks sound horrible, don't look at it as weakness or defeat, just that you have the wisdom to know you are not ready for that course YET. I truly believe you will be. I'm sorry your confidence was shaken. All in good time though. I know you'll be killing it up those nasty hills soon! Hugs!

The Green Girl said...

::big big big big hugs::

Colleen said...

Sounds miserable... you aren't a quitter, but if you are not enjoying things, it's not worth it. Those hills sound brutal. I think you CAN conquer them, but don't let them intimidate you!

Mike said...

I'm sorry to hear about your rough patch you are going through. Hang in there!

TutuRunner said...

awwwww. dang it. so sorry about your fall.
what is the saying?
fall down 7 times, get up 8.
don't fear. you're a strong woman. u can do anything!