Yes, this is LOOONG overdue. No excuses besides simply not being in a writing mood. *shrugs* What can I say? It's been a whirlwind month.
In Part Two of the Multi-Sport Athlete Exchange Program (Part One: Dam-to-Dam), Danielle came out to the east side of Iowa and joined me for the Lake Geode Challenge.
It should be obvious by now that recounting the minutiae of race day kinda bores me, and during this race I decided on a truncated form for race reports. HOWEVER, this particular day wound up being one of those turning-point kinds of races, so I actually have something to say about this one.
It was my first tri of the season (I couldn't get to the QC tri for the flood) and the first day back from strep. I was going to treat it like a long training day (I was only looking to finish somewhere close to my average paces without being too miserable and/or collapsing).
And then late on Mile 5 of the 10K run, I entered the race.
The Lake Geode run course is mercilessly hilly. I unapologetically walked all the hills -- until the approach to the Mile 6 sign. Here, I heard the footsteps of the two women approaching. I said to myself, "No free passes," and started to run again. They eventually passed me, but I kept them within reach.
I re-passed them as we approached the finish chute. And then, inexplicably, this gutsy broad re-re-passed in a dead sprint, and of course I gave chase! In the end, I ran out of pavement and lost 2nd place in our age group by one foot.
The irony is that she and I were easily 8th and 9th from last in this race overall. I had no illusions about where we were in the pack, and figured placing/hardware was out of the question. But, dammit, neither one of us was going to let the other get a "free pass" especially not that close to the finish line. And even though I "lost," I am so grateful to that woman -- that gutsy broad -- who made me dig deep and enter that race, if even for the last moments, because she lit a fire in me that I had almost forgotten about. We high-fived on the other side of the line as I gave her heartfelt congratulations. Forget Inner Ass-Kicker, she helped me rediscover my own Inner Gutsy Broad -- who is way tougher, hands down.
When I got home I watched this clip a few times, reveling in my renewed competitive, yet appreciative spirit and shed a few tears of recognition at the final voiceover:
To be clear, I don't put myself on the same level as these elite athletes, but stripped down to the least common denominator, their moment was our moment writ large. For me, this drive is part of what makes me an athlete. Yes, triathlon is sometimes about going the distance, other times about the competition, but at its best about digging deeper after you thought you had nothing left.
So thank you, Stephanie May of Somewhere in Iowa for making me dig deep that day and energizing my inner athlete. But thanks especially for helping me re-discover my Inner Gutsy Broad, who admires yours...and is hot on your heels! :D