2018 Eagleman DNF. 20 years now of triathlons and this is my 3rd DNF. 1st was when I walked out of the water at Columbia tri back in maybe 2008/9 when I had bronchitis and the water was like 60 degrees and my chest just got so tight I didn’t know if I would die. 2nd was not running at the 70.3 Savageman in Deep Creek, MD- this was during a time I had a huge amount going on internally in fall 2011, making big family decisions and I needed to be alone, quiet, and the lake honestly just looked so inviting to sit by. (I seriously stopped, bought an ice cream cone and sat by the lake trying to clarity on something big). And… this weekend is #3.
So, I swam well, biked well, and ran about 2.5 miles and couldn’t gather any positive ness in my heart to continue. I was like “bored” with myself/ worried or fearful of the impending pain? Not even sure…
Here are some thoughts.
I feel like I quit due to maybe 5 things that were overwhelming my brain with negative daggers.
1. I’ll get it out of the way and I’m sorry, and I know some people don’t want to hear it and it sounds petty, but… it is my truth. I am “chunky” for me this year and I had nothing to wear. Not joking. Seriously. I’m never a FAN of my body, but I’ve had a few years where I gathered resolve and let go of inhibitions and wore a 2 piece because of the heat conditions and it worked well and I was proud of myself for being brave. This year, I detested the rolls that I saw coming out and was horrified by myself. However, the one piece swimsuit I could have worn- I don’t like that as much because when I throw a cup of ice down my swimsuit, it doesn’t have the bra top to hold the ice, so then it slides all the way down and doesn’t work. I seriously spent so much annoying time trying to figure out what to wear. I had nothing. I ended up wearing a 2 piece and was fine until the run and then it was just horrifying me to run through people who were able to see my stomach. Plus, my fuel belt was annoying me and I had to hook this stupid pouch onto it to hold a car key since I was by myself and while I was running the part I ran, everything was moving around- my fuel belt didn’t feel attached right and the bottles were moving and the damn pouch and on top of that I just had too much negative energy going towards being embarrassed.
2. So… backing up….. Eagleman has always been MY RACE I LOVE to set goals for. Last year, I was extremely disappointed after I trained and was at my VERY FITTEST EVER… and… I didn’t stay for the slot rolldown to world championships and ended up missing my spot. I was a bit devastated, so I was all negative on doing Eagleman. I didn’t register for awhile, then decided, no I love Eagleman and it is tradition and I’ll just do it as a long training day in the sun!! WITHOUT TRAINING FOR IT! So I won’t be emotionally invested, etc… Then about 3 weeks ago I thought, omg, that really isn’t SMART to do this race without fully training, but I knew I could do it…. I did a ½ marathon last weekend and felt AWESOME and enjoyed it and was so hopeful to just continue channeling that this weekend….. HOWEVER…. Something I’ve realized maybe after DNF’ing today was… I don’t really think I do well when I’m not FULLY FOCUSED. I do much better BEING invested, I enjoy it more. I don’t like to be out “in a race” “having a long training day”… I just don’t find myself motivated by that….. I think also in the past few years, I haven’t been RACING the bike portion which I used to. Yes, it used to tear my legs up even more, but I used to LOVE and be so motivated by being fully 100% IN the race- racing the bike, fierce and flying… I used to love that feeling. Now I’m like “riding safe.” Ewwwww. Just doesn’t “thrill me.” I honestly feel like I turn into a lazy mental mush pile. I know that sounds silly, but I just feel blah. Like I’m just toodling around and unmovitated. Playing it careful.. not fully 100% MENTALLY IN… just “waiting”, “surviving” half-assing so I don’t die on the run? Thinking about the run before I’m on it?
3. I really have no idea WHY…. But I was just frankly ANNOYED at little things that I needed to let go of today. I got to race site early/parked, transition was still closed and a bunch of us (crazy early people) were lined up WAITING at 4:30am to get into transition. I’ve always been there this early and it is always open. I like to get stuff in before crowds, then go back and chill for a bit in my car, mentally focus, then go back for last minute transition area stuff/bathroom… so I was “annoyed.” I felt annoyed by the change in the swim start as well- it was ROLLING start—meaning- no age group waves. Instead, you position yourself where you “think” you are going to swim at a certain pace and then like it was just people walking down there and going! So, it was so many more people going at the same time - I just cannot understand why they think this is better—this way, you have like 50 people who think they are all swimming the same pace for 1.2 miles… so then you are BUNCHED UP at the same pace?! THAT IS NOT SAFER! And I like how normally you are all in your age group- full of very fast all the way to very slow and then people just naturally spread out. In addition- this way- you get to know during the race if you are ahead of someone- it is because you are ahead- not just because you maybe started earlier than someone in your age group etc….I lost the kind of mental attention to: everyone in my age group started at the same time, so if I’m behind someone, they are currently beating me.
THE MOST ANNOYING thing was a change to the bike to run. OMG this race has gone on for years with a simple transition that is totally fair- you bike in one corner of transition and run out the other. No issues. This year, they said to make sure no one has to run any further than anyone else (which was never an issue so not sure if it is new race director?) BUT: we got off of bike and had to RUN our bike like almost an entire loop around transition- it was killing my wrist/arm/shoulder to be holding my bike up and just honestly was the worst ever. (and unnecessary). I should have easily been able to “let this go” however.. and I couldn’t. I was just annoyed…. (I do honestly have a problem being annoyed by stupid things… I wish I didn’t, but if something just hasn’t been thought out well, I do not understand why it happens). IN ADDITION- there has been for at least 10 years- a bathroom on the way OUT of T2 to begin the run. I had been waiting and planning on this, but when I run out- it was on the OTHER SIDE OF THAT STUPID LONG UNNECESSARY run with our bikes! So I couldn’t like HOP the fence to go to the port o pot and then hop a fence back… (plus, remember I am now running and trying to not draw attention to myself in anyway just blend into the atmosphere since f am not feeling great about myself and jut want to get back out into anonymity.) In the first 50 steps out of transition, I am running and look down to see my energy stingers flying across the road. Yep. One by one. There was a hole in the freaking ziplock. Great.
Possibly the biggest kicker was when I get to mile 1- yea yea yea- the port o pots were here, yea!! So I go over to them, and one is like totally slanted downhill on this incline part of the grass and I quickly congratulate myself for taking notice of that detail and choosing the other one, so I step in and HOLY FREEAKING MOLEY- this one also must not have been stabilized… I am literally going like swinging inside of this port a pot thinking I’m going to tip, I GRAB this side wall and somehow knock one of my fuel flasks out of the belt, and then freak out thinking it was my pouch with my CAR KEY IN IT and I think “my key is going to be in the middle of the… well…. HOLE of the port o pot”!!! (which it wasn’t, but in doing this, I sway the port a pot back the other way apparently.. and I’m in there literallyl screaming/kind of laughing/curse words…. Omg. It is ok though.. I go to the bathroom, kind of annoyed when I get out because (on top of a port a pot nearly falling on me) I now I have to repass all the people who I had already passed. I think a few times over in my head, I’m not in this, I can still walk back, still close. But then I know to just shut up and keep running. I need to go to the bathroom again at mile 2. So, I go again. (these port a pots are stabilized better by the way). In there, my stomach starts not feeling great (but I’m not sure if I was halfway making it up in my head because my mind games were really being strong). I get out and start running, still wishing slightly to quit and be done. My hips and back are always in the back of my mind, so I worry also that they will not hold up for the 13. If they do… not sure my stomach will hold up. feel one of my hamstrings do it’s little slight awareness pull which reminds me to not push too hard. I just honestly have these visions of years past and the 100% mental fortitude it has taken to continue and slog through survival to the finish. And I think, I’m not having that 100% today, and then I am (again AFRAID… fear… fear is a theme here I notice) going to have to get through rest of my week feeling like crap, back and hip acting like I am 94 years old, trying to have energy to get through my work week, etc. I just realize, I don’t have it. Or I’m not willing to be tested today?
4. I’m also alone at this Eagleman. Again… And it is getting old- I’m tired of not having my family theren I’m not trying to make excuses, but it is so nice to have them there. I also am not coaching anyone doing the race this year, didn’t travel with anyone, and it seems like I’m just alone. Always on my own. I know I should have more fierceness and focus on my own, but I miss the big excitement of togetherness- family, friends, etc. I’m just alone. I can quietly walk back to my car, put on a tee shirt, and return my chip.
5. Overall, I think I just failed to focus. Focus to me brings meaning, heart, passion, it isn’t tiring to me, it is exhilarating. It is my WHY. I think by not GOING FULLY FOR IT like I usually do, I lost MEANING. I think I physically could have done well, I WAS doing well, but I cannot do something without my heart attached. I realized the night before, I didn’t even go over some of my “race info” meaning--- really break it down, go over my “mantras” that I had set, my intentions. That is unlike me, unfocused, something I would never want any of the athletes I coach to do.
Finally, the final thought that I am realizing the day after:I feel EXCITED for my upcoming races this summer….. which are shorter!! (oly. Distance).. and maybe this was part of it also. I usually finish Eagleman and no matter how fit I was going in, I am essentially wrecked for 4-8 weeks after- NO speed in my legs. I am hopeful that Eagleman this year was just a blip and I can stay excited, even MORE excited about my upcoming races. Maybe in the end, it will be a blessing to remind me to train with heart, race only with heart, and to be honest with my mind and body always.