Monday, August 18, 2008

A Perfectly Acceptable First Race Back

Over the past couple of weeks, I've had a lot of mixed feelings about the DINO Logansport race. It's exciting to be riding and racing again, but I was also scared because my few "post-return" attempts at hard workouts have not gone so well. It appears that a getting a virus in June and then riding about 4 hours total for the entire month of July has whittled my ability to ride hard down to about 5 minutes at a time. That's not a good sign going into a 20+ mile mountain bike race.

I've been hearing a lot about this whole "positive self talk" thing lately and decided it was worth a try. However, going into the race I was having a hard time determining the line between positive, negative, and realistic. By the time I hit the starting line yesterday, I still hadn't figured that out.

I opted to just start the race and see what happened. I went out at a conservative pace and put little thought into who was in front of or behind me and by how much. I knew I just needed to get through the three laps at the best pace I could and I would be happy. Somehow during the first few miles, those thoughts turned into my mantra, "A Perfectly Acceptable First Race Back", which I repeated over and over to myself. I had no concern for my place or time, I just wanted to finish without slowing down, quitting, or crying.

I managed to avoid the last two, but the last lap did result in a spectacular bonk and the loss of power in all but about three muscle fibers in my body. It hurt so bad and by the time I was done the beginner race had started and I had to battle the onslaught of men in baggy shorts with their Fruit of the Looms peeking out trying to get around me. Pretty embarrassing, but sticking it out seemed imperative after all the mechanicals and DNF's this season has brought. So I finished, and I was satisfied.

When it was all over, I was the hungriest and most tired I've ever remember being after a race, even the Ouachita Challenge. My sugar-ban was temporarily suspended as we stopped by Adam's hometown where we got ice cream and then went to visit his parent's house. That's okay, though, since it was all very necessary for restoring my brain and muscle function and it may go down in my mind as the best ice cream/Ritz crackers/salad/pizza/pie (all in a two-hour span) I've ever eaten.

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