I competed in the Atomic Man Duathlon held a few days ago. While the event itself was fantastic, I didn’t come away feeling my best. As a matter of fact, I’m only now able to face my performance and reflect on the race.
The day started with a bit of uncertainty; although I had tried to register, the registration website wasn’t working each time I logged in. Therefore, I wasn’t even sure I was going to compete. I arose earlier than I needed; I wanted to ensure that I was at the race site in White Rock, NM with enough time to fill out forms and warm up. But as I drove, this nagging doubt nipped at my thoughts and sapped spiritual energy that I wasn’t even sure I’d need. Thoughts like, “Do I really want to do this?” And, “Maybe it was a sign that I wasn’t able to register” flooded my mind and distracted me from focusing on the race ahead.
What was worse was that I hadn’t even looked at the course. Basically, I was driving up to run a race with which I had no familiarity. This lack of “recon” would come back to bite me clean on the proverbial and literal butt. I arrived at the site, registered, and began warming up. Because I’d never done a duathlon, I entered the smaller of the two (2) races: A 2.4 mile run, an 8 mile bike ride, and then another 2.4 mile run. I studied the course map and felt pretty comfortable. I’d been practicing that exact distance and liked my chances.
However, once I completed the first run and hopped on my bike, I realized I had severely miscalculated the course. See, although I had ridden more than 8 miles as a trained, I hadn’t accounted for hills nor had I accounted for riding on a highway. What awaited me on the first 4 miles was a high grade climb along the highway to the famous Bandelier Monument for which I simply wasn’t prepared. Had I done my homework, I would have ridden extreme hills, probably in the mountains, such that I would be ready to ride the Atomic Man course. But I didn’t prepare in the mountains and before long, people I had passed on the run were zipping passed me while I pedaled within an in inch of my life. Cars and vans also passed me and I was often shaken by their drafts.
Eventually and with my leg muscles burning, I reached the top of the climb where I would turnaround and head back to run another 2.4 miles. Though it was a race, I paused before heading back and guzzled from my water bottle. I had never been as tired and scared as I was, but I pedaled hard and made it to the transition point where I would run the last 2.4 miles. Though I completed the bike course, there was a point at which I wanted to quit. When I crossed the finish line, I was relieved, elated, and really flippin hungry.
In looking back at the race, I realize that I should have prepared and done my homework. Really, I am not pleased with my performance and I learned that I have to get my diet and training in better check before my next planned event: The Duke City Half-Marathon. I will not be as unprepared for that event as I was for the Atomic Man. Lessons learned….