This is my first RR of the year. I’ve done a few races & had some great experiences. I figured I’d write a RR for my first 70.3 this year, but that race has come & gone. Nation’s was more challenging to me in ways than any of the others were, and for this reason I decided to finally put pen to paper. It’s a little long, but here goes…
I really didn’t want to get out of bed yesterday. I mean, I was only really in it for 30 minutes before the alarm went off for the adjusted, later wake-up time to drive to DC for Nations. I did everything wrong before this race – no sleep, hadn’t gone swimming since Timberman, hadn’t biked since the bricknic.
Emotionally, I knew I had to do it. As many of you know, my sister passed away unexpectedly on Sep 1 from complications of the flu – she was only 31. I had not really thought much about the race since then – priorities had changed slightly, but I knew that the usual release I get from triathlon would be good for me. A colleague was covering for me at the hospital until after the race, so there was really no excuse.
So back to yesterday. I had gone to sleep around 11, only to get a call at midnight that one of my private OB patients had come into the hospital in labor, and would I be coming in. Of course, this patient’s husband is deployed, and she had no family with her. I went in to work, and somehow she delivered a baby boy in a record 3 hours of labor (1st baby!). The nurses saw my wristband & stamp from the race & asked which club I had been to…
In what seemed like a blink of an eye after I got home, the alarm went off, and despite everything telling me to roll over & forget it, I dragged myself out of bed, into the car, & headed on autopilot towards Haines Point. By some act of God, there was a parking space at my late arrival of 0600, and I actually parked & trudged down to transition with a surprising number of other latecomers.
Got bodymarked, pumped air in my tires, picked up my chip, ate something, and headed towards swim holding with what felt like a mosh pit. Found Casey & Lindsey (who graciously zipped me into my wetsuit) & hung out till our wave took off.
Swim: I’ve done this swim twice before, and knew that I could do it without goggles & backwards (don’t ask), so I knew I just had to get in, put my face in the water, and swim. It took me awhile to get into my groove, and I don’t know if it was exhaustion or the flailing limbs around me which made it more of an obstacle course than a regular swim. About halfway to the bridge I found myself alone and settled into a good rhythm & had a decent swim the rest of the way. Swim time: 34:15. Not my best, but not my worst.
T1: 3:07. 1 word after swimming in the Potomac: mouthwash (thanks to Ed for that tip).
Bike: I started to wake up a bit on the bike a few miles into it. Saw Kim cheering on the side which was great. I was booking it until I got to Clara Barton Parkway where it got pretty packed and a lot of people didn’t get the memo to stay right. Multiple near-misses took place out there & it wasn’t worth it to be a part of that. I got a little confused as there were a fair number of fast-looking age grouper men passing me and I was pretty certain that all of the mens’ swim waves were before the womens’. I started to think that maybe there were 2 loops on the bike course like last year & ITU. Ran into Lindsey & she assured me that it was only 1. Enjoyed the end of the bike & ran into T2. Time: 1:20:43 (18.4mph).
T2: a leisurely 2:31.
Run: I had done minimal running since Timberman, since my L hip had been giving me mischief. I had gone for a few short runs to clear my head the week before, but ended up feeling worse than when I started. I knew I just had to put one foot in front of the other, and that ultimately, what’s a little hip pain in the overall scheme of life? I saw a lot of DC Tri out there which was great - both volunteers & people competing. I thought of how some friends from the club said that they were racing for Katie, and at one point I got pretty choked up thinking about it. Q 1 mile aid stations were key - loved the cold PowerAid, good music, and the mile 5 DCTri stop - Stephanie handed me the best tasting water of the day, got a high-5 from Toby and a cheer from Hugh. It felt like home. I half ran, half loped into the finish chute & finished in a slow hour plus.
Run: 1:03. Finish: 3:05.
Ultimately, the numbers on the results sheet didn’t matter. I got out of bed & swam, biked, & run because I could. I’ve been faster in races, and I’ve been slower. Ultimately, when I look back on this race, I won’t remember my time. I’m going to remember the incredible support of friends who have gotten me through much more than a 1.5k swim, 40k bike, & 10k run. Tri club friends who raced for Katie. Tri club friends who reached out to me, sent me e-mails, phone calls, went for a walk with me so that I didn’t have to be alone, made me eat when food didn’t sound palatable, sent flowers, let me cry, made me laugh. I will not forget how it was all of you who got me up, who helped me race, who got me across the finish line. Thank you.
Great job out there at Nations! Glad that the crew at the mile five water stop gave you the extra push to the finish. Too bad you didn't make it to Cantinas after, good time.
Great job, as always! And no flats or hiccups. I don't know how you do it on such little sleep. Why are all babies born at 3 a.m.? :)
Amazing race Mimi, both at Nations and Timberman!
So good talking with you after the race.
Still haven't run into you at the hospital!
Chuckled about the arm band...we all look like we've been clubbing, or we're escaped mental patients.
Most would argue the latter.
Great write up Mimi, you made me cry at work!
That's a pretty awesome time for no sleep and the swirl of emotions you had going on.
DC tri peeps are the best!
The loss of your sister is terribly sad but she would be proud of you for honoring her memory by pushing through a difficult race. Doing so with too little training is a good metaphor for life and a good reminder that no matter what, the support of your friends and peers will be what always pushes you through.