One of the most frustrating things about being an athlete with Addison’s Disease is that sometimes you can do everything right leading up to a race, taper, stay hydrated, take your meds, and yet somehow your body chemistry still drifts off and you end up with a performance that is less than your best.
This is exactly what happened to me this past Sunday during the Old Fashioned 10 miler in Foxboro. I went out a little fast but not completely crazy, yet by mile 3 I was fighting an intense internal battle not to pull up and stop completely.
So you want to do a triathlon? Funny the crazy ideas that pop into your head in January, but kudos to you! Triathlon is a fun and exciting sport that can help you train in different ways, get you out of your comfort zone, and lift your fitness to a new level.
Maybe I lack confidence, but in my head I still think of myself as a new triathlete despite doing them regularly, even placing in my age group a few times, for the last five years.
When you sign up for a race in New England, you really never know what you are going to get. It could be mid-40’s in June or mid-60’s in January. It keeps you on your toes. It wasn’t quite 60 degrees, but it was way, way warmer for this New Year’s Day 5k versus last year’s version.
Last year, I struggled to pin my bib through six layers of clothes and had icicles hanging from my ears by the end. This year, I was quite comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt. The hill in the first mile? Yeah, that didn’t change.
This past weekend was the Angel Run, one of the big annual 5k charity races in our town. It brings out all kinds of runners and walkers, but a majority are kids, families, or the unlucky ones pushing sleighs (strollers). It’s a great atmosphere and a lot of fun.
I realize for some people the word fun and run don’t belong together. Not me, but I’m sure they are out there. If you’re one of those people, here are a few more reasons you might consider entering a local 5k fun run.
I realized later in the day that it was almost three years to the day that I last won my age group in a triathlon. Three years ago, I thought I was perhaps in the best shape of my life. I had just had a great race at the Rev3 Poconos Olympic distance. The plan was to step up and absolutely crush a 70.3 the next year before taking on the full Ironman after that. I had no idea that I would actually end up in the hospital instead with a tumor, a chronic disease, and the mandate to not do much of anything for six months.
It was a long and winding road back (hello, arthritis), but last weekend I finally felt like the old 2015 version of me as all the preparation came together in a great race and I once again climbed up on the top step. I have no plans to do a half or full iron anymore, that shipped sailed with the cartilage in my knee, but it felt really good crossing that finish line knowing I put everything I had into the race.
But let’s back up and start at the beginning.
You can only do the race on race day. Trying to make that my older and wiser mantra. There’s no use wasting energy in stressing about the weather, or the course, or if your child comes down with a stomach bug the day before that has her throwing up and moaning on the couch. You race or you don’t. The alarm went off at 4:30. I got up, it was race day.
One silver lining to being limited to shorter distances is that you can race more. You might find yourself racing four times in five weeks. I love racing. I love the nerves and possibility of the start line. I love suffering and pushing myself, at least after the fact.
But even I’ll admit that four in five weeks might be a bit much. And I have two more weeks coming up of races. I’m going to need a break before I get injured or burn out. But back to last weekend. This one wasn’t my fault. Really. I hadn’t scheduled this one on the calendar. A friend who is not quite as obsessed with running and racing as I am suggested we try this race and, to support him, I agreed. Turns out the Trillium 5k is pretty popular and parking is pretty limited at the brewery so entry is a lottery system. You know the end of this story. I was selected. He was not. Therefor, four races in five weeks.