Monday, June 6, 2011

Rev3 Quassy Olympic-Race Report Part I

This race report is going to have two parts because something in me was sparked and I need to write more than just a race report.  This should actually be called "Triathlon Brattiness" but just stopping short of calling myself a brat, i'll keep it as "race report" but.....i'm really calling myself out. 

I started to write this race report about three times before Quassy even started.  The first time was when I had to call my friend to come watch Soren so I could load up the car on Friday morning.  Sounds ridiculous right?  Well, living on the 3rd floor of a building, I knew I was going to have a heck of a time loading bags and a bike with towing a toddler beside me begging to either A: hold/twist/drop/throw my keys or B:stop to twist all the door handles on every door of our building. 

It could've taken me easily two hours.  Friend came, I was rescued.  The next time was when I arrived at Quassy and I realized that walking my bike and pushing a stroller was going to be an interesting turn of events.  Luckily I had some awesome teammates to help me out!!  The last time was when I realized that the only water I had drank all day, the day before my race was the two glasses of water I had drank during dinner, other than that just one caffeine-free diet coke.  Excellent race preparation.

I should quit my whining, because honestly, I had a lot of time to think this weekend, I have some people on my mind that don't have it going so smoothly right now or people who are struggling and worried about "real" things in their lives.  When I start to talk about how many things were odd or wrong with my race preparation or the things that I struggled with, it sounds really really lame to complain about.  Seriously.  Who cares if Dave had to rent a car to come watch me race since we're down to one car in Boston and he got to the hotel at midnight the night before a race, we got up at 5:00 a.m. to head to transition and I woke with a headache realizing I was indeed, dehyrated, but even worse, I had nearly nothing to eat for breakfast, and my fast shoe laces I had bought were missing pieces to them so I was going to have to...gasp....tie my running shoes during the race instead of slipping them on.  gasp.  Boo Hoo. :)

Perspective are my thoughts: sure, racing is MY time, it's what I love, it's someone else's time when they read a book or paint or see a movie or they shop alone.  I race, it's one of my most favorite things in the world.  Dave and I are opposites, I train because I love competition, the thrill of a race.  Dave..he loves the training and the race is just the reward for all the training.  In my own "mommy" world, racing has become a part of my identity, something that I look forward to because it makes me feel like "me" and I can focus on each of the sports and challenge myself.  So, I guess I get frustrated when things don't go smoothly before a race because I want to feel good about myself in a race.  But.....come on, seriously, when you think about it, most people I know are working either full or part time, they're juggling having time for their kids, themselves, juggling finances, struggling to even visit family, and if my biggest worry is that I was dehydrated before a race---I need to kick myself in the pants for even considering that a "worry."

I'm not saying Dave and I don't have any struggles, please don't take what I wrote as that, i'm merely saying the fact that I have the time in my life to train and race and enjoy that time is a gift in and of itself.  Each race I do should be seen as a gift and be grateful for that opportunity, not dwell on all the nuances that may go wrong.

What prompted me to write all this out exactly...well, I realized that I was getting a bit into of a frenzy with how things weren't going smoothly and I've come in contact with people at races before who I actually felt like they were so obsessed with what was going on in their race preparation that I thought to myself "do they even realize how lucky they are?"  People who spend HOURS away from their families training for races and their families come to support them, only to have them get all irritated because they didn't "PR" in a race.  How annoyed would you be if your family member spent hours away from you and then complained of the one teeny tiny nuance that didn't go perfect.  Perspective people. 

I'm not saying people don't deserve time to themselves, but....realistically there is time to yourself and then there's the guy on the run this past weekend who I was talking to who was complaining about not getting a PR on his run and he mentioned his five-week-old baby.  I couldn't even wrap my head around that, I just thought "Dude, you have a freaking INFANT and no doubt your wife is sitting on a rock around here in the heat, in the transition area after getting up super early no doubt on zero sleep and you're complaining about not having a PR".....what a jerk.  And I hate to say it, he's not the first one to make comments like this, I hear it quite a bit throughout the triathlon community and it drives me insane. 

It just really made me think about perspective.  I started my race being grateful to have my first open water swim of the season, ride my bike for the FIRST TIME SINCE VINEMAN (yes, i'm finally admitting, it, I didn't do any trainer rides or rides outside before Quassy, it was all spin classes, huge admittance, but whatever it's my blog), I teared up riding my bike, I love it, it's fast, fun and I had a great ride, and the run, I was so grateful to be running in the shade, and best of all, being greeted by my awesome husband and son at the finish.

You have to take the time to be grateful, life isn't always about YOU and your PR's and lining up races and flying around all over to get in as many races as you can.  Life is about juggling and sometimes juggling a lot of things at once, makes you appreciate being able to have time for yourself more...I got my pants in a bunch initially when I was trying to make my race logistics work, but i'm glad by Friday evening at dinner I had sorted out my selfishness and kicked myself in the pants and got to focus on the fun part, finding myself lost in the fun of a race!

Stay tuned for play-by-play of was a good one :)


Jilian said...

Great blog :) The good news for you is that letting go of the little things means you get to enjoy the race!

I'm excited about my TRI's coming up but my mind does keep thinking 'I wish I had time to REALLY train' and being a little bummed my times might not be great. I AM enjoying every swim, run, and ride I get in - thankful for my husband working his schedule to allow for that - and just looking forward to the FUN and doing a real TRI for the first time. All with a < 1 year old. I'm pretty lucky!

Colleen said...

Great post... It is all about perspective!

Can't wait to read the rest...

Meredith said...

I'm sure glad I read this before writing my race report from the weekend. You might have called me out!

Shan said...

Mer, you are simply an amazing person, and you totally rock for bringing this up, calling yourself out, and being honest. I totally agree with you 100% on this one, and I know we've had this same conversation in the past.

When it comes down to it, triathlon is just a hobby, an expensive and somewhat (ha, what am I saying? VERY) selfish sport where it is so easy to get lost in all the details. Because there are a million of them! It is the only sport where you tend to pack more for one race than for an entire month-long holiday.

I think you totally hit the nose on the head with this one, and I commend you for being able to turn it all around and race YOUR race and make it fun, all the while being grateful for your ability to be out there and do this sort of thing.

You know, this was my first time being a race sherpa for a triathlon - I've always raced alongside Stephen, and never appreciated what it took to be the sherpa. NOW I KNOW. It is a hard job - having to deal with a cranky, tired athlete, all the while you just stood in the hot sun for 5+ hours, hungry, tired (because YOU woke up at 4am too and did a long run while the hubs was racing) isn't easy!! After that experience, I will never take for granted the people who support me and come to watch me race, and will continuously be grateful for my ability to be out there on race day, because it is a LUXURY that most people cannot afford.


Pedergraham said...

Love this! I have to tell you that I tore a ligament in my ankle at IMLP one year...the only way that I could ma ke it the last mile of the run was by pushing (leaning on) my 14mo daughter's stroller. The only only time that a stroller and a swim/bike/run race went together!

Melissa said...

I love this post! Can't wait to read about the actual race too.

Kiersten said...

It was so nice meeting you and your family this weekend. Even if they aren't life-changing, all of the little stressors can still be stressful. You looked great out there, and I am very thankful to have you as a teammate. (Plus I had a little buddy to hang out with!). Congrats on your race :)

ADC said...

Mer, awesome, simple awesome post. It was actually on Saturday whilst at this training weekend in Wales that Shaun and I talked about it. You look at people and they are so focused on all the training and racing and they deprive themselves of so many things (and I am not saying that is a bad thing) and that is perfectly fine but so often I look at all of us and all of the stuff we are doing for this sport and think Gosh, this is just a hobby, relax and enjoy. Few months ago when we moved and I had to juggle my family life, long hours at work every day and 4 hour daily commute AND training, I was gettign really stressed. And Shaun and I wuold feel so bad if we missed a workout. And so often we had to stop ourselves and think that this is indeed what we do for fun, it is a hobby and we are meant to enjoy it and not get all stressed about it.

Kacie Darden said...

Awesome post. It is SO true. We need to take time to think about how lucky we are that we get the chance to have these experiences!!

Caratunk Girl said...

Hey great to meet you!! I can't wait to read the rest of the post!

Velma said...

I can't wait to hear the second part!!!

No worries on the bike training :)

tribirdie said...

Great meeting you this weekend! Balancing training, racing and family is always a tricky business. You are doing it fabulously!

Marit C-L said...

Awesome post Mer - I loved it! Can't wait to read your race report.... and BTW - Diet Coke is the preferred choice of Champions. Just saying.

Love to you, Dave, and Soren :)

GoBigGreen said...

I was just going to say AMEN, but i have to say more. Bc I think many of us ( well ok I know i have been there) have lost perspective, and it takes a gentle nudge or a harsh reminder, that we are lucky to even toe the start line. So i am glad you had a great race, and i really do beleive that nobody has it perfect on race day, or even before hand. Maybe the pros do I dont know, that life is so removed from what i would even want for myself and my family.
But whenever i hear an athlete going on and on about this and that i usually pause and remember that we all have "this and that" going on and if we can still get out and race and do the best we can? well that is a win in my book!