It happens in every race — there’s a moment. A single moment when you realize that either this is the race you’ve been waiting for, everything is coming together and you know you’ll hold on until the end. Or, it’s the moment when you realize this is not going to be your day.
For me, Boulder unfortunately fell into that second category.
And even more unfortunately, the moment when I realized that came about 1 hour and 10 minutes into my day.
So, what do you do? What do you do when you realize that it feels like you’re trying to ride your bike through syrup and it’s not even 5 miles into the day? And that its taking all your effort to ride at a level which is usually on par with a recovery ride.
This is what you do:
You smile for the camera, because maybe fake it till you make it will work.
You tell yourself it will get better. Hillary said it might take 56 miles to feel good, after all. Maybe she meant 75 miles. Or 90. Or 111.
You stay in aero when the camera passes even through you’ve never felt pain like this in your back before — because hey, you’re going to make the triathlete.com gallery.
You fuel up as much as you can and remind yourself that often bad bikes lead to great runs.
You get distracted by the fact that your feet are burning. Yep, literally burning on the ground as you run through T2. (note: I have, in fact, seen many pictures of blistered feet from having us run on the black track on a 93 degree day. Pro tip: if this is the case, sit down when you get your run bag (yes, right in the middle of the bags) and put your shoes and socks on right there to run into the changing tent. You can do the rest of what you need to do in the tent, but put your shoes on before your feet are burnt!!)
You tell yourself to run for 2 miles. After 2 miles the cement blocks that are allegedly your legs will disappear and you’ll be given your normal legs back.
You smile at your support crew and friends despite the fact that on the inside you know this is about to be a long day, for the both of you.
You take the water at the aid stations. And the powerade, and the coke, and the ice. Because one of these things will make it get better.
You take the salt from the random tent on course – because maybe this will make it get better. (huge shoutout to Matt and the BASE team for being out there).
You run as much as you can. And when you can’t, you walk. At least until you get a message from Sonja that Hillary said to run more
Because eventually you’ll make it to the finish line. And that, right there, is what you came for.