Right before I left for Charleston, I was hit with some very unpleasant news. As it was fresh, I was able to ignore it in SC. However, that wasn’t the case in IN two weeks later…
As in past years, I was in Hammond the day before with Dare2Tri, and helped out at their Injured Military Camp. In the afternoon, I had a chance to get the bike set up and practice with Lee. During the swim practice, the tether (newly created in SC) kept slipping. As it had stayed relatively stable during the SC race, I was hopeful that I’d have better luck the next day.
Race morning started off as usual — watching the motorcade bring the Dare2Tri camp in, getting transition set up, and seeing Leon as we all went down to start. While treading water prior to the start, I felt good about the race. If only it had gone that way…
During the swim, the tether slipped several times. I also remember having to stop a few times because of breathing issues. While all of that was going on, I was having a ‘me vs. me’ struggle in the water. Since a guide is my eyes, I’m focused on just proper breathing and proper stroke / position. This gave my mind a lot of time to wander. And unfortunately, it wandered to what had been going on outside of racing.
When we made it out of the water and towards T1, I tried to push all of that back down and refocus on the race. In the period between swim out and entering T1, I managed to succeed. But as I made it into T1, the dam broke and a massive panic attack hit.
While I tried for 15 minutes, I just couldn’t get past it. As much as I wanted to continue racing, I just wasn’t in the right mindspace. I knew how unsafe it would be to try and get on the bike in that frame of mind, so I eventually threw in the towel.
As we were walking equipment back, Lee and I were stopped by a photographer. She said that she’d been photographing each of the finishes. Even though I had a DNF for the race, we found a way so she could get a photo of us close to the finish.
I don’t know what the rest of the season will hold. There are some things bigger than racing that I need to deal with before the next race.