Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That wasn't so bad...

Isn't it crazy how our minds work?

As I reflect on Sunday, my mind seems to selectively start omitting the worst parts. Suddenly that epic journey I was embarking on during the run almost seems...fun? No! REMEMBER, SARAH! REMEMBER THE PAIN! REMEMBER HOW YOU FELT!

Funny...I don't remember my brain being like this....!

Yeah, but...then I remember how proud I was at that finish line. How good it felt to put my arms over my head and shout YEAAAAAAAAAAH!!! at the top of my lungs with the biggest smile on my face.

The bike part almost seems nonexistent. It was so short. I remember getting to Chalk Hill (for those of you first-timers...you have to admit...it's really not as bad as they say, is it? It was done before you knew it!) and thinking "wow...this ride flew by." Could be because I know the course so well at this point I think I could ride it in my sleep.

But still, it was the run that stands out the most. The last portion of my three-sport event.

And yet...instead of getting stuck on the lowest points, my mind instinctively finds the highest points. Hitting La Crema winery. Mile 7...that was a good time. When Soda passed me around mile 7.5...another high point (I was so happy for her and it inspired me to not let her get too far ahead of me!). Mile 9 - realizing I wasn't crashing, even though my legs hurt. Mile 12 - the final stretch and I suddenly realized that yes, I was indeed finishing, and for the first time in this race I'd done 3 times, the only times I had walked were for (very) brief stints through aid stations - WOW! I realized right then and there that even though I'd gone slightly slower than I'd wanted, I really WAS stronger this time around. How ABOUT that!

So as I sit and reflect, I begin to wonder 'why?' Why was I swearing off halfs for the rest of the year? Was it really that bad? Why was I contenting my mind with the idea that I never had to do this again in 2008? Was it hurting that much? Maybe, but I can't recall!

Reminds me of how I call that run course a 'mostly flat' run with 2 hills. Loren said it was a big lie. When I posted my 'tips' on Slowtwitch.com the race director of Vineman and some other guy got all on me because they said it was NOT a mostly flat run!! So I amended my statements. But honestly...even after 3 times...I'm still scratching my head. I don't really remember many rollers besides those 2 hills. And over 13 miles...let's say 2 hills and 2 rollers? Still = mostly flat, right?

I don't remember. Maybe my mind is good at blocking out the pain. It endures it and then throws it away to make room for more important things, like desire and motivation and excitement and grammatical rules.

Whatever it is, I'll take it. I still am not doing anymore half-Ironmans this year (I signed up for the LA Triathlon today - Olympic distance, woo hoo! And Courtenay's birthday, yay!!), but I am thinking ahead to what I might plan for next year, after all...


Greg Remaly said...

so true, so true about the memory of the pain fading...

Wildflower '04, the really hot year, was my first ever half. I actually ended up doing well, but I was pretty much delirious for the last 7-8 miles of the run and didn't remember doing most of the course. That was almost enough to make me swear off of halves for all-time.

the vineman run is not flat but nor is it overly hilly. don't beat yourself over those overreacting chest-thumpers.

Kelly said...

i like that picture

Soda said...

let's just call the course VERY ROLLY, it just felt like one roller after the next coming at me but that is ok, it just wasn't the most fun at the time, especially the last 2 after mile 10... those one's really hurt.

Rainmaker said...

I do the same thing sometime - a few days later say "Oh really, it wasn't that bad, I needed to HTFU".

So now during the race I've been making a concerted effort to mentally remind myself to rembmer specifically that "Yes, I am giving it all I've got and yes it really..really..really..really...is sucking", just so later on when my brain tries to reverse it - I've got that bookmarker there.

That said...All of the races I've done I decide a few days later that...like you - 'it wasn't that' bad. ;) Well, except the run on Wildflower...that was painful - and I very clearly remember that (like Greg it seems).

rocketpants said...

It is our brain's way of 'protecting' us from trauma, but all of us athletes tend to use it a lot in race situations.In real life trauma situations i think it helps us so that we don't go crazy remembering the pain. If women *clearly* remembered the pain of childbirth I think the world would be full of one child families.

That being said, i'm with you. It always seems notsobad a few days later.

Alice said...

I think it is all painful, but all fun at the same time. There has to be some enjoyment or we wouldn't do it,right?! Congrats Sarah! I personally think it is true that the training is the hardest part, the event the victory parade (in all its -good and bad- glory).