(did not finish)
A beautiful day does not necessarily make for a beautiful race.
The first 5K never felt right. I felt I was working way too hard for what it was. I was already a little peeved when I got to the first transition area. I started to gulp down my clif bloks and got on my bike. I don't know what my T1 time was because the results and timing (and overall organization) of this event was all messed up. People were taking the wrong chips, body marking was not consistent and due to a "malfunction" in the timing mats, we don't have T times...the only thing that halfway mattered to me when this was all said and done. Oh well.
The bike starts up hill, and I was having a hard time eating my bloks and breathing up the hill. I waited to finish them after I got on Rte. 73, the first main road outside of the park. Then, I turned right.
I wasn't supposed to turn right.
After about 6 miles, I was 100% sure I took a wrong turn and was doing the Olympic distance course (25 miles) instead of the Sprint course (12 miles). The course wasn't familiar (I have done it before) and I only saw "OT" on people's legs (olympic triathlon). No S's for sprint. But at 6 miles, if I turned around, I'd be doing 12, then the 12 I was supposed to do? I didn't know what to do. I thought about just asking a cop at an intersection for the quickest way back, but I didn't want to ride roads not on the course that might not be bike friendly all by myself.
So I went back and forth between being highly highly upset at myself for ruining my race, and trying to just be happy to be out there and enjoy the weather and just do a long bike ride. But a HUGE hill was the final crusher of my spirit. At that point I was deep in thought about when-where-how I had taken a wrong turn. I wasn't paying attention and then all of a sudden there was a wall of asphalt in front of me. I wasn't in the right gear, wasn't prepared and almost fell trying to unclip before I fell over. Walking up a hill in bike shoes isn't fun. Plus so many riders passed me huffing and puffing and I felt like a loser. I'm not competitive enough to race, but now I wasn't even doing it at all. One girl asked me if I was OK and I said yes. She kept looking at me so I felt a need to explain and said I just couldn't make it. She said, YES YOU CAN! YOU'RE OUT HERE, AREN'T YOU! So I got encouraging reprimanding. At this point I figured I could get back on my bike, though the hill wasn't over. So I did. And then the back and forth being mad being sad continued.
Suddenly I was on Oregonia, which is the final road of the loop I should have been on. Not only did I miss a turn right in the beginning, taking me on the Olympic route instead of the Sprint route, now I (thankfully) missed the turn that would have kept me on the Olympic route. What was wrong with me today??!! It was a good mistake though. I only ended up doing 19 miles instead of 24. The Olympic and Sprint distances share part of the course. Apparently I did one of their extra loops, but missed the turn for the second one. So all the people that had passed me before...were passing me again. Kind of surreal. That's how I figured out I missed the 2nd offshoot loop.
Greg was worried I had wrecked and was all done by the time I rode into T2, head hanging low. I was so mad. I started the final run but decided there was no point since I was feeling like crap mentally and physically and my times would be SO off after having done 19 miles when I should have done 12. I stormed over to the race tent and handed in my chip. They still have me listed as just last place instead of DNF.
So, lesson here is to pay a lot more attention on the bike. I'm always worried about cars, but I should have been more concerned with following arrows I guess. I still don't know how I did it. I'm done with du's the rest of the season because I'm just not in good enough shape for them to be very fun. I'm just going to focus on running, and bike for fun/cross-training.
I should also mention that Greg did really well. I felt bad tainting the day with such a horrible experience while he did so well. It really sucks that their timing was so messed up and we can't see his splits correctly.