Black Flagged (Naperville Sprint) (8/4/18)

“Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people too.” – Jimmy V

While he was talking about his battle with cancer, this seemed an apt quote to start this blog with — Just replace say and said with do and did, and it’ll all tie together. For me, the time clock has been and always will be related to my vision. As I’ve said before, I was told that I’d be completely blind by 30. Coming close to 40 and still having a decent amount of vision sometimes makes me ask the question of ‘when will it run out?’

But the overwhelming majority of the time, I’m able to shove that question back. It’s in line with what I was telling a neighbor earlier today. I can either be disappointed with what I don’t have or make the most of what I do. And I clearly choose the latter.

However, earlier this week, I wasn’t able to do that. I had Naperville on the schedule for tomorrow, and we were doing pre-race fit/practice Tuesday night. As we were going to work on turns, I put on the flat peddals instead of the clips. And as we continued to ride, I was getting more comfortable without the ‘safety blanket’ of the clip there. But as we made one of the final turns towards home, my left side pedal fell out. Initially, I thought it had just come unscrewed. But when Natalie looked at it, she confirmed that the threading was stripped.

At that point, while I was disappointed that it had happened, I was confident that we’d be okay. In my head, I thought ‘it’s just a standard crank; every bike shop should have it.’ But that thought was soon prooved wrong on Wednesday when every bike store, including CoMotion licensed dealers said they had to order it and I wouldn’t get it until after the race.

At this point, I started looking at plans B, C, D and E (as usual). While I really wanted to race, what it ultimately came down to was safety. I’ve got so much left in this season (Triathlon and Running along with other sports) that racing just wasn’t worth the potential risk caused by rushing a fit or being uncomfortable on a quickly borrowed bike. So I scratched it before end of day Wednesday.

What I struggled with most of the day was losing a race and the ever-present uncertainty of length of vision. Long story short, the underlying theme of the interal thoughts as I tried to salvage the race was ‘How many more of these will I get before the vision disappears?’

Not a fun day to say the least, but I did have friends helping me throughout. Even still, it took until after football practice before I finally got perspective. What caused it was the parallel of being upset about missing football games (medical) in the moment that it had happened and seeing things in the larger scheme when I had come back.

If you’ve gotten this far, you may be saying ‘that’s all well and good, but what’s the point?’ Well, there are a few:

1) Regardless of what the endeavor is, you’ve got to keep perspective. And quickly get it back when you lose it. Something’s going to hit the fan periodically; how you deal with it determines success.

2) Being proactive as possible will protect you from yourself. After this happened, I committed to purchasing extra parts. It won’t stop a crank or derailer from wearing out or breaking. But having extras, especially on remote races, will help ensure that it’s a quick fix.

3) It’s okay to keep thoughts like I mentioned at the top in your mind. Just don’t let them control you. Beat the chimp; every time.

I am grateful that I was given a deferral for 2019. That also helped with the entire process, knowing that the race wasn’t fully ‘lost’.

Finally, for those of you wondering why I would share something like this, the answer is simple. When I started the blog, I promised to share openly throughout the journey– warts and all. This definitely falls into the ‘warts’ category…

Naperville Tri – 8/6/17

Since I started competing in races in 2014, a beer has always followed the race. Whether it’s included with part of the post-race party or it’s the first thing I grab when I get home, I’m celebrating the finish pretty quickly after the race. This routine changed after Naperville though – more on that at the end.

Naperville was the first official Triathlon that I did, and has become my favorite since. Not just because it’s done really well (between PEM and ET), but also because it gives me an opportunity to publicly thank the local businesses that help / have helped to support me. I would not be at this point without the support from ALL of them, and I’m extremely grateful to them.

As in years past, everything got set up so Terri could guide for me. We got some practice in on the ‘new’ tandem and with the new gear, and were set to go for the race. On race morning, when we set up in transition, Terri noticed someone had majorly misracked (it goes 17, 18; not 17, xxxx). We headed to the beach start believing that an official would notice it and handle.

We started after the elite racers and got into the ‘full contact’ swim melee. So many people trying to climb over / swim over us like every year in Naperville so far. And I could swear that near the final buoy that another athlete physically pulled me upright out of the water. This is a perfect example of where rule K.48 would have been very helpful. Even with these extra obstacles, the swim / 100 was right on target.

After transition, we headed out onto the tandem for 12.4 miles (two loops). Things went well, although it’s apparent that I need to get the saddle addressed before 2018. My lower region keeps falling asleep / getting uncomfortable mid race. And for a sprint race, I’m not going to add another 10 minutes for on/off of bike bibs.

Up until we headed out on the run, it had been cloudy and cool. But as we started out, the sun broke through and it heated up. The first 1.5 miles wasn’t too bad, but I did have to stop at about that point to stretch out. I also had the same feet tightening up issue I’ve had all year. Even though it wasn’t a great run, still better than several from this season. We finished about 5 minutes faster than 2016.

A few notes from / post race —
1) The new nutrition program worked out well, including the ‘emergency’ capsules. I will continue to use that going forward.

2) That the Karma Police always gets their man (or woman). Looking at the results, it appears the person who grossly misracked was DQed. Moral of the story is play by the rules…

3) I’m not sure which part of the race did it to me, but for the rest of Sunday my body was in pain. When we made stops headed north, I think my limping shuffle probably imitated that of an 80+ year old…

So back to where I started this blog – post-race beer. The timing just happened to work that we were headed up to WI that afternoon where a pony keg of local beer (Tribute Brewing Company) was waiting. So instead of having the standard PBR at home, I waited a long time for the Tribute pint. Yes, the beer is that good, and yes, the wait was well worth it!

Early bird registration is open for 2018 if you’d like to join us next year! Register on web site.