Expectation is not the death of Determination
It was my first experience in an Ironman sanctioned 70.3 event held in Boulder, CO August 5th, 2017.
I had excitement. I had worked hard. I had expected to showcase all of my effort with a personal best. Yes sir, this was going to be my day. FORMULATE.
At 5:00 am, I can see thousands of bikes, cars, people. I see the movement, hear the announcements, the music. Queue the nerves.
As always with events, the nerves arise and these feelings stem back from as far as I can remember. This isn’t necessarily my job; however, I feel the weight of my 21 days of 70.3’s. I feel the weight of “being integral to the mojo racing team.” And finally, I feel the weight of the social persona that people see of me, possibly expect of me. All this compared to the real me, the human me, the worker bee, the father, the husband, the friend.
I’m just a normal dude. I don’t feel special. I don’t feel elite. In some ways, I start questioning why I showed up? Do people know me? Do they recognize me? Why am I even thinking of this?
What I do today is exposed. No social persona to mask me. People can see me, the real me. Stop me. Say hello to me. Or maybe worse, criticize me, judge me, dismiss me.
Like it or not, this plays in my head. These are my raw emotions on playback.
But I shift. “Ah who cares?” I’m going to crush this course. DEPLOY.
The swim was okay. I stayed extremely wide on purpose. My division had as many people in it alone, as had been in entire races that I had experience with in the past.
I checked my watch on the water exit, and noticed my swim time was quite a bit slower than I had expected. My head said, never mind that, get to the bike.
This discipline has always been my weakest link. I had thought coming into this sport that running would have been, but nope, it seemed the bike was my Achilles heel. But, the weakest link with the largest potential impact so I gave this sport the discipline it needed and I was looking forward to seeing the output of that effort.
The bike felt good, and the course seemed fast which made me feel good. I was back on track.
Coming into transition for the run, I started to feel a little something in my stomach. Seemed like the beginnings of a side stitch (cramp). I wasn’t too worried in the moment, as I’ve been there before. Little grab of the side where the stitch was, and endure a few miles, should be good to go. Or so I thought.
Within the first half mile, the stitch arrived. I grabbed the affected area, gripped it tight and continued on. By mile one, the stitch intensified, my pace began to become burdensome. I checked the watch, backed my pace off slightly, and continued on.
Slight worry began to surface as the feeling that this stitch was here to stay. By a mile and half, the stitch had taken over my entire stomach, locking and leaving my body wanting to curl up, ball like, to relieve the pain of being extended.