Monday, July 9, 2012

Mentally Regular

I am good at long term suffering and have the track record to prove it.  Out of the 8 'endurance' type events I have done I have taken a top 5 in my class every time dating back to 2007.  40 miles, 60 miles, 6 hour solo, 2 man 12 Hour and a 12 hour solo.  Heat, rain, mud.....didn't matter.  I always went far enough to get a top 5.  But three years I have waited to get back to this race, the Stony Marathon.  Last time I did it, it was 60 miles for Experts but now it was 50.  Hell, I did 112 miles in 10 hours on roughly the same course back in May.  After that I knew I was on track to fight for a podium in July.  To be honest I had plans to finish in the top 3.

2009 I took the year off because Sue and I had our third child.  2010...well that was out of my control.  2011...same thing.  But in Nov of 2011, I had my eyes on July 7th 2012 and my break out race.  Any race before that was just a warm up to where I wanted to be.  Then in 8 weeks, 7 months of preparation was destroyed.

After the 112 miles in May I developed tendonitis.  I took 3 weeks off to heal up.  I told myself if I could ride again by June 4th I would be okay because I wouldn't lose much of my base.  June 4th came and I was able to spin again.  So I took a week to spin lightly to make sure I could still ride without pain during or after rides.  The week went well and so I went back, revised my training plan and went to work.  So I was able to train well again for a solid two weeks.

And then the bomb dropped.

June 23rd I couldn't talk. By June 25th I was at the doctor being told I had an ear and sinus infection.  I would need 10 days of antibiotics and rest.  Seriously?  I just started riding again!

Do the math and 10 days meant I would be taking meds until two days before the race . . . THE RACE!

One of the three races I had marked as A+ races.  One of the five I marked at A or above.

Another week was taken off the bike....doing nothing on the bike.  Seven weeks passed and I only been able to train during two of them.  One week was 3 light one hour spins.  That doesn't count.  The week leading into THE RACE, I rode once with Brain at ILRA for 2 hours but at a recovery pace for most of it.  I also did a 2.5 hour road ride but again with a race coming up and still on drugs and feeling 65-70% I knew I had to take it easy.

3 weeks rest + 1 week weak spins + 2 weeks hard efforts + 1 week sick + 1 week of drugged up weak efforts = 5 more pounds for me to carry around every where I go.

I almost canceled.  To hell with this.  No, I need to make an effort and get back out there.

I raced but spent my fist two laps seriously considering taking the DNF.  But as I came around to start lap three that inner fire that had seemed to burn out was bellowing smoke now.  And when there is smoke there is fire.  It was near 100 degrees out and I had only had one ride in decent heat to prepare for something like this.  But I was going to see it to the end.  I had never taken a DNF and I wasn't about to now.

4:06:33 the official card read.  8th out of 14.  22nd out of 50 in the entire Expert Category.  But more important to me, I finished.

But what meant even more to me was that three guys who I respect highly congratulated me in person at the results table on showing up, giving the effort and finishing the race despite the past 8 weeks.  You know who you are.

The lack of training, still being sick and the immense heat made this one of, if not, the most hardest races I have ever done.  Both physically and mentally.

Last, there is one person who helped me finish this race without even being there.  My wife, Sue, was smack in the middle of the virus I had and still wanted me to go and do this race even though I would be leaving her home sick with 3 kids.  She knew I was less than ready for this race but she knew how long I had been waiting to go back to do this one.  She sat home and worried about me the entire time because of the heat and my lack of health.  Most of all I wanted to finish the race for her as I feel the day would have been a failure after all she had sacrificed for me to be there.

So even though I wanted to be able to dedicate my long awaited return to the podium to her, all I can do is dedicate finishing of one of the hardest races I have done mentally in a long time.  And some times that's more important.  This one's for you baby.

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