Here I am, sitting in a lawn chair, on the 18th fairway. The bugs are having a feast, 2 boys are enjoying a football being tossed through the air. I am having my doubts. It has been a tough weekend. Though some friends and family have pushed me through this temporary funk.
After seeing some old friends Friday night, I awoke and ate a good strawberry Yoplait to start my brain off. I dressed in some warmups and headed out on the bike. As a triathlete, cycling has made it easier for to warm up properly. I biked down to the bagel store, becoming slightly chilled from the morning dew air. I bought two plain and two everythings. One everything for my mother; one plain for my father; and one of each for myself. The bagels fit into my nap sack with the crumpling sound of the paper bad. The bag actually burned my back. My skin tingled through my zip up, but was a nice change from the cool air. I rode another fifteen minutes to loosen more of my legs. I felt my back was a bit tight but though nothing of it. I rolled into the driveway and made my way between the Buick and Dodge. I unclipped my right cleat and swung my leg over the seat preparing for a flying dismount. The moment my right cleat touched the driveway I unclipped my left. I put more weight on the right which slid out from under me. I found myself in a heap against the asphalt in front of the Dodge. I had landed on my shoulder with the Big gear digging into my hip but felt hot pain come through my knee. It was red, and scraped. I laughed, picked myself up and headed inside. Still lots of preparation to do for the race.
Two hours later I found myself on the starting line of the Great American Weekend 10k. God Bless America played as I took a few last deep breaths. Bang! Something just didn't feel right; maybe my back was tight? Maybe it was that my breaths were shorts? Possibly it was that my arm was sore from that morning fall? Whatever the combination, I didn't feel at all right. I followed the lead pack. We started out quick: Mile 1 5:03. Too quick, way too quick when I wanted a 5:30. I backed off. My feet began to burn. A familiar feeling began in my calves. Slowly, they tightened like a guitar string. My hamstrings started losing their power. I couldn't properly land on my forefoot so I switched to a heel strike to prevent injury to my calves.
Mile 2: 5:53
My calves started becoming sore. I really backed off. I needed to. I had a Half Ironman to worry about in 7 days. No Injury. No Injury. No Injury.
Mile 3: 6:10
I started to coast. I felt a comfortable pace, though my calves felt like exploding. They weren't getting any tighter but they were close to a breaking point.
Mile 4: 6:19
I felt like kicking myself. I blew the race, blew my calves, but hopefully didn't blow the Half Ironman next week. This was only supposed to be a warmup. A 34 minute warmup was becoming a 37 min disaster.
Mile 5: 6:25
I started loosening up. Trying to relax. I could push slightly harder through the last mile and hardest hills of the course.
Mile 6: 6:05
I felt better. My calves still hurt but at least I had relaxed enough to enjoy the last mile. It felt easier. I felt excited that the race was coming to a close.
I had finished 37:10 at the far end of a 1.5k swim and 40k bike 2 weeks before this. I had the potential, but potential doesn't produce results. I have to admit I was sorely disappointed in my performance and the way the race unfolded. I had adverted a complete injury though I knew I was going to be sore for the next few days. I needed to start a recovery program to set up for the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and half marathon run next Sunday. That begins today.
So now that I destroyed my calves, what should I do for the rest of the weekend. I felt a bit down but I got to hang out with my friend Nicole for a few hours. We got some ice cream (I deserved it for mental recovery purposes) and bought some fruit. We also went to go look at a potential car I wanted to buy. A Subaru Outback, Beautiful!
My Aunt Marian came over later on, which was so nice. She is really supportive. I cherish family and all thoughts of my bad race diminished.
The next morning I awoke stiff; a reminder of the events of that previous day; slightly annoyed. But my father and I went to church. A peaceful time. But a dark cloud lingered as I tried to relax at home. A 30 mile ride cleared my head and loosened my legs. My calves reminded me they still ached when I stepped off the bike.
I cooked myself some pasta and watched some of the tour on Vs. After a while, I found myself on the Wallkill Golf Course watching two boys play catch with a football. Carefree. Filled with excitement for the upcoming fireworks: I filled with a funk of cloudiness: wanting peace. A smile crept onto my face as I watched Christina with her family. They were happy, enjoying each others company.
The cloudiness will depart in time, my performance will enhance soon, and this too shall pass away.