It was a horrible day.
Before I get to my day of racing, let me tell you about the few days leading up to it.
My chest was on fire. It was somewhere around 2:00 AM on Tuesday and I couldn’t stifle my coughing. Amanda rolled every time I had an onslaught of deep, coarse, and grizzly coughing episodes.
I am sick. My head is stuffy, my nose is runny, and my lungs are full of fluid. I had a week off of vacation and I was looking forward to relaxation and sun. Instead, I get sick.
I was able to train until Thursday, but after that I was really in a bad spot.
Friday arrives. I leave Florida, where I go on every 4th of July to spend time with my best friend from college http://www.nku.edu/ and his family. Hurricane Dennis is on our heels and there are lines out the wazoo trying to purchase gasoline and the interstate is bumper to bumper. It takes me much longer than usual to get home. I am tired and sick. I take a 20 minute nap and reload for my drive to Dallas Texas.
After a nap that was entirely too short, Pat’o, my friend riding to Dallas with me arrives. We load his gear and bike and “On the Road Again!” as my friend Willie puts it.
From Baton Rouge to Dallas was 6 hours. We arrive around midnight. Straight to bed after a half bottle of Nyquil . . . I’m a big guy!
I rose from my deep, Nyquil induced sleep around 9:00 AM. Pat’o had already risen and was running around the hotel. I showered; (visual) hacked up my lungs in the steam and prepared for the day. I realized I was in trouble and didn’t know what to do. The next day I had to swim 500m, ride 20 miles, and run 3.1 miles. Today I couldn’t breathe.
Pat’o went swimming with Denise, Johnnie, Kristen, and Susan at the local YMCA. I opted out, thinking I would save energy.
At noon we picked up our race packets and then scurried off to lunch. IT SUCKED.
I am attempting to establish a pattern. The pattern is how messed up the days leading up to this race were.
Denise, Pat’o, and I went to a local bike shop to get a computer for me. This bike shop, SUCKED! The technician there blatantly lied to us and if it weren’t for the ingenuity and creativity between Pat’o and me, the $50 computer would have been useless.
We went to dinner, it was ok.
Night time. Sleep time.
I decided to take a sip of Nyquil. Big mistake. Partly for me, more for Pat’o. I knew I had taken a wrong turn when I woke at 5:00 Am. The walk to the bathroom was long and wobbly. I tried to go to the bathroom, no luck. Shower produced more of the previous days hacking.
My stomach was abnormally twisted.
Side story: My favorite TV show is America’s Funniest Home Video’s. I love it! I enjoy laughing and boy do I laugh during this show. During vacation, my friend Mike’s wife Becki brought me the uncensored version of AFV. We watched it together and one of the video’s is a school teacher reading to his pre-school students. It goes like this . . .
“Then the young girl wrote in her diary, I had such . . .” and the teacher is interrupted by a young child and he says, “Diary?” The teacher pauses and says “Yes, she wrote in her diary tha . . .” The child interrupts again, “I remember when I had diary, I had to sit on the toilet for ever.”
OH MAN!!! I just LAUGHED!!!!!!!!
Side story over: So my stomach is twisted. We get to the transition site. I am sweating like a mule. I am not just a little sweaty, I am drenched with sweat. I prepare my site and head for the john. There is a line twenty deep. I was struggling. Then it hit me!
I have Diary!!!!!!!!!
Oh no. Oh no. OH NO!
I get to the front of the line the port-o-let door opens up and I am in there before the poor girl is out. I am sure she was in fear for her life.
I do the pull down and flop onto the seat. Now, most of those close to me know my fear of public pooping. I can’t do it. I have this horrible phobia and this whole port-o-let thing, it is unheard of for me, but right now, didn’t matter.
It is so hot inside of this plastic oven. There is an inch of my sweat on the floor by now. I am dying from my Diary. Oh man! Kill me now. I am in there for 15 minutes, no less.
Then I realize my biggest mistake of the day.
I must have scared the poor girl in here previous to me so badly, that she was unable to tell me . . . THE IS NO TOILET PAPER!
I sit. I think. I sit. I sweat. I sit, I think about yelling out to someone for assistance. I do this to my wife when she uses the last bit at the house and forgets to replace it. “Honey!” I will yell. “Amanda!!” she always knows the tone of that holler and a small hand slides in the bathroom with a fresh roll.
But, I am at a triathlon, I don’t know anyone in line here at the port-o-let, I am in a really bad spot.
I sit. I think. I sit . . . Maybe I could . . . no, no, no.
AH HA! I always wear a t-shirt right up until the swim begins. BUT, I don’t want to walk around without a shirt from now until the swim! I also don’t want to sit in here for the rest of the day either. I take off my shirt. I got it, tear off a sleeve! RIIIP!
As I put my sweat soaked, ONE SLEEVED T-shirt on and exit the port-o-let, I realize this is a bad day.
“All athlete’s to the swim start.” Was blared over the speaker system.
Again, with the Blue Bermuda swim trunks, I head to the start. I am in the 3rd group. And that group start arrives quickly. Off in the lake of mud I go. I feel great. I am on a steady pace, passing a few people and hitting each buoy in stride. I was making great time and I had no fatigue at all. I exit the water and jog to my bike.
My transition is smooth and I am off. I get up the first two little hills no problem. Then after the first major turn I begin to see spots. My legs are like liquid and my shoulders begin to shake. I am 2 seconds from an upchuck.
I keep cranking. I make the second major turn about 3 miles into the bike. It is an uphill right after the turn. I am almost to the top and I know that there is a long downhill after this short hill, but my head is spinning and I am blacking out. I pull off, get off my bike and suck down some H20. I am in shade and I try to lean against the wooden fence that I eventually become well acquainted with, but as I lean, I fall because the fence is further away than I thought it was.
“Crap” is all I can think. I land in an ant hill. “Crap” again.
I stand, brush off, and drink more water.
I have done this before in my previous races. Take a break, walk the hill, get going again. This was different. I was dizzy and nauseous. I would see black for a second and then feel like I was close to falling again.
I tried to get back on my bike probably four times. Each time the same occurrence, dizziness and nauseous ness.
Once again, the participants of the race were awesome. I heard so many words of encouragement and many questions to see if I was OK.
Each time someone would ask, “You OK?” I would respond with a, “yep.” But, inside, I was like a drunken fraternity kid, playing that game where you put your head on a baseball bat and spin around nine times and then try and run across a field. I was struggling.
Finally, I sucked up my pride, since I realized I would not be able to go anywhere, and requested help.
Let me explain how I felt at this moment.
Everything I had accomplished up to this point . . . didn’t matter. The three triathlon’s I had completed before this one . . . didn’t matter. The weight I have lost (26 lbs so far) didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. I was in shambles. I was embarrassed. I was angry. I was sad. I apologized to the guy who had to drive me back. I tried to hide my face as we passed participants on their bikes. I looked down when we arrived back at the transition and spectators stared at me in the passenger seat of the van.
All I could think was that they looked at me and said to themselves, “he had no business even trying to do this triathlon. Look at him.”
I wish I was invisible or an ostrich. I wish I could have buried my head in the sand. I really felt like I had let so many people down. I really felt like I had set back all fat people trying to prove themselves and just get by without being prejudged.
It is about eight hours after the race. Pat’o and I are about 60 miles outside of Baton Rouge. I am still depressed and a little disappointed in myself. I keep thinking I could have pushed myself. I wonder if I could have pushed myself. I don’t think I could have. I am sick. I am on drugs. I have diary.
My friends from the BRtri club tell me to chalk this one up to a bad day. They say we ALL have them.
What I am doing now is attempting to stay positive and motivated to continue in the right direction. I am trying to get this thought out of my head that I am going to suck form here on out.
So, tonight I will suck down more Nyquil and go to work tomorrow. Hopefully I will get better soon. When I do, the next day I will wake early. I will run 3 miles to the LSU rec. center. I will swim 1200m and then I will run 3 miles back home. If I have to walk I will walk, but I will get back on track.
I am still a winner because I am trying. Ooops, tri-ing.
I am a winner because there were many other people that didn’t wake today and do anything to improve their health . . . I did.
Thank you to Pat’o for listening to me complain and beat myself up. Thanks for the words.
Thanks to Susan for telling me she DNF (did not finish) a race last year.
Thanks to Denise, Kristen, and Johnnie for being kind and picking me up by telling me how hard the race was.
I will be back next year. I will conquer. I will be healthier.
One step backwards, two steps forward.