Sweet, tangy sauce. Tender fall-off-the bone pulled pork. Lightly toasted white, fluffy, potato bun. Decadently rich smoked gouda Mac’n Cheese, all polished off with an ice cold root beer and punctuated with a generous piece of the sugar crusted cornbread cake, smothered in butter. As I was eating this meal, a monthly treat provided to us by our wonderful boss for a job well done, the passing thought as I slammed a second piece of cake, “I wonder how this is going to affect my race tomorrow?” Oh well, YOLO. I should have said no. I should have stuck to the plan. I should have been a good boy but the inner glutton screamed out for more and I gave it to him. To the point that I felt a tumultuous battle being raged in my digestive tract the rest of the day and even my patented pre-race meal of safe sushi sat like a layer of bricks in my stomach as I laid my head on the pillow. Would I recover in time to push myself when I needed to? Short course racing, unlike the Half Ironman I had done two weeks prior to this race, is a whole different animal. You are basically battling how much pain your muscles, digestive system and fatigue your body feels for the whole 2-ish hours. You are never relaxing, constantly pushing the envelope to your max sustainable effort. I warmed up well for the swim, something I am trying to do more often when I race, as I have seen much better results when I do. My hands cut through the waves like that butter that I had generously piled on top of the cake. Swimming felt good, it sounds weird saying it even now, but swimming has been feeling good as if it is the start of a wonderful relationship. I find myself looking forward to the swim. A chance to put some time into Stuart. A powerhouse on the bike and a very good runner but slightly slower swimmer than me. The air horn blasted and the water frothed with the windmilling of arms of the 50 fastest swimmers. My position was good, heart rate and effort was high but it was only for 12 mins, I just needed to hang on. My hands hit sand and rocks, beautiful dry land. The rest happened like a blur. I jumped up sprinting to transition. Helmet, socks, glasses, take off. Shoes on the bike, strap in and go, go, go. Power to the pedals up the hill, ugh what’s that feeling in the stomach? ignore it. Faster, harder, burning in the legs, stomach pain again. Take some water, a little better. Damn, there goes Stuart! Tried to stay with him for a little but everything hurt too much. Legs, stomach, chest, back off a little, Brent. Save something for the run. Off the bike, feeling ready to hurl. Sprint out of transition, maybe that will cure the stomach pain. Nope, breathing rhythm off, pain growing, legs were not responding. I felt like I was running with jello for legs and lead in my shoes. Not a great combination. At that point my focus changed. Just finish. Make it stop. The rest of the run was a fight to not lose whatever was left rolling around in my stomach. I crossed the line, 4th overall but disappointed in myself. This was the only race where I had not improved on my last years results. I knew even after Victoria only being two weeks before, I had a better race in me than what I had just done. I knew I had not done my best. I knew I only had myself to blame. Some lessons are tough to learn. Diet and nutrition, the fourth discipline, had been ignored and I had paid the price. Never again.
PS my Calgary Half Ironman story is in the works and hopefully some actual content worth reading. Thanks again for your time.