This past weekend finally brought the beginning of the tri season to the Northeast! I had signed up for
the Devilman Half Lite 50 Triathlon, and could not wait to finally begin the season after a cold winter. I
prepared all week for the event: I got a tune up and a new derailleur on my bike, broke out my wetsuit,
Speedfil Hydration System. I was told that Saturday morning I looked like a kid in a candy shop, and my
living room looked like a locker room. Early Saturday afternoon, I was ready for departure.
My friends and I arrived to packet pick up just prior to closing on Saturday afternoon. We were stoked
and could not wait for Sunday. After a good dinner and a couple of drinks we headed back to the hotel
for some last minute preparations and a good night’s sleep. With transition bags packed, bib numbers
pinned, and our nutrition prepared, we all hit the hay and eagerly awaited the alarm.
At 3:30 am I awoke with an all too familiar feeling. “F***!” I felt like I was going to puke. Forty-eight
hours earlier, my Petri dish of a toddler contracted a stomach virus, and by Saturday evening I was
pretty sure I had escaped the illness. Clearly I had not. I vomited once. The 5 stages of grief
immediately kicked in. 1. Denial. I thought, ok that should be fine. I can still race. One time is nothing.
It’s like being hungover, and I did Placid hungover. No big deal. An hour later, more vomit. It’s still ok--I
can make it through. It’s not that far. 2. Anger (or in my case bitchiness). “F****** F***!” I
immediately shut everyone else out, and became a whopping bitch. I already had my phone open
looking for acceptable races to do in the next two weeks. 3. Bargaining. “Well, maybe I can do the
sprint” I said. As we drove to the race I came up with a plan to drop my friends off, go back, get the rest
of my things and still race. I had plenty of time, and I had not vomited in an hour. As I pulled away, my
friend who knows me all too well says “So you’re going back to the hotel and getting your stuff, and
we’ll see you at the start line?” I smiled and replied “I’ve already thought about that.”
As I drove back to the hotel, I calculated every move in my head. I could race. I was feeling much
better. I had just enough time. Then it hit me. I pulled over and more vomit. “Grrrrrrrrrrrr! Ok I guess I
really cannot do this,” I thought to myself. 4. Depression. As I pulled pack into the hotel, I was crying
like my toddler when he does not get his way. I hopped in the shower to ease my own mental anguish.
5. Acceptance. I got out of the shower, decided that I was being a huge baby and that I should go
support my friends. I got dressed, packed my stuff and began to drive back to the start line to meet up
with them. On the way back my hard headedness took over, and I got a wonderful yet crazy idea in
my head—if I couldn’t race, I definitely could take my bike out for a quick spin.
As I wished my friends good luck on their swim, I planned my attack. I would wait until they both came
out of the water, snap some pictures, cheer them on out of transition, and then grab my bike and go.
As they both grabbed their bikes and sped out of T1, I headed to the car, being sure to vomit one last
time prior to clipping in. I would make sure to be back before they finished their bikes to cheer them
out of T2. And with that thought I was off. As I hit the 5-mile mark, I hit all the rumble strips along the
side of the road, and pulled over to vomit again. Ok. Well, I have a 20 mile goal today. I can totally do
15 more. So I did--at a pace that I cannot even bare to put on paper.
I made it back just in time to cheer my buddies into and out of T2. I now really felt like shit. Severely
dehydrated, I puked again, and decided to sleep on the grass while awaiting their finish. Before I knew it
they were done, all with strong finishes. Though still mildly bitter that I was unable to race, I was proud
of their performances.
Although not the kick off to race season I had hoped for, at the end of the day I learned a few things: It’s
ok to sit and cheer your friends on if you are unable to race (once you conquer the 5 stages of grief).
They appreciate having you there. A 20-mile ride with a stomach virus is not a good idea, no matter
how hard-headed you are. That said, severe dehydration from vomiting and no fluids during a ride can
quickly put you at your ideal race weight (not recommended). I really cannot wait for my first race now. Two more weeks!