My new theory on training: spend 8 nights sleeping in a chair in a hospital room, eating fast food, cokes, and cookies, and do zero training.
Karen forced me to go ahead with my one race of the season on Saturday morning. My heart wasn’t in it at all; I just wanted to stay with her and Izzy. She urged to me to go ahead and race because it was the only race I was signed up for all year – I normally do 7 or 8. When I left Karen’s hospital room on Friday night headed for my parents house in Hendersonville I was thinking that I wouldn’t do the race. My mom encouraged me to go ahead with it just to relieve some stress. I didn’t bother to set an alarm because I didn’t really want to get up. To my surprise my dad woke me at 5:45am.
We headed out for The Old Hickory Lake Triathlon, but my mind was still with Karen at Baptist hospital; I was trying to figure out how to manage my life and my 4 year old daughters life for the next four months without Karen. I went about my prerace stuff very casually. I hardly warmed up. I just stood around staring off towards the lake. I wasn’t thinking the tradional “rah rah” stuff…”come on dude, do it for your family!” That wasn’t there. I was just numb…and tired…and preoccupied.
I started 74th, which as usual, was too far back. I passed 40 or 50 people in the water. I was surprised to look at my watch when I exited the water at 6:19. I was about :20 seconds ahead of last years time despite having done almost no swimming at all in prep. I started the first 1.5 mile feeling a little slow. I wasn’t breathing well and started to think “ok, here it comes…the last 8 days are catching up with me now.” I kept passing people though. I had a smooth effortless transition to the bike. Cycling is the only thing I’ve done any race specific training in the last few months. I put the hammer down and passed more people, especially on the climbs. I started to think a little about Karen and Izzy. I wanted to get back to the hospital to see Karen. I wanted Izzy to always think that I’m “awesome”. I started the final 1.5 mile run feeling fine, but I was still unsure where I was in the race.
When I started triathlon 6 years ago one of my goals was to win my age group at the Old Hickory Lake Triathlon. My home town race. I’ve come close many times finishing 2nd a couple of times, 3rd a couple of times, and 4th. I normally hang around for the awards ceremony to see how I did. On Saturday we just packed up the car and left. A hug from Izzy was the only reward I needed. I showered and went straight to Baptist. Later in the day I checked the results to learn that I had finally won the Old Hickory Lake Triathlon. I finished 1st out of 47 in my age group. I was 1st on the swim, 1st on both run segments, and 4th on the bike. Overall I was 12th out of 450; another best for me.
This sort of thing happens in my life alot. I can train and train for things, constantly thinking about needing to win, but I still fall short. Something special happens when I compete with a burden on my heart or when I compete with some repressed anger. I can do anything. It’s the mythical “zone”.
Thank you God for this special day. My family needed something to celebrate for a day. Karen was thrilled when I told her. Izzy thought I had won anyway.