Battle at Midway Race Report by Erin Collins
Warning: If you get weirded out by emotional females then this is not for you to read. JK it’s not that bad, just a little long.
When I signed up for Battle at Midway (BAM) I was so excited for it I could hardly stand it. I went up 2 weeks ago and pre-rode the course 2 times back to back. I fell in love with the course and am convinced it is the best bike course for a triathlon in Utah. It is a little bit hilly (hills suite my long skinny body best) and has some fast rolling down hills and is completely gorgeous! Anyway, somehow between 2 weeks ago and now I have fallen into a bit of a slump (physically). My muscles ache pretty much all day long the only time I feel okay is when I’m excersing…go figure. I literally will complain about feeling like I have the flue because of how bad my body hurts and then will force myself to go run or ride and WALLA! I feel better! Then once I’m done exercising I feel worse than I did before I went out. I also have had some really emotional disappointing things that I’ve been through this summer and I haven’t dealt with them. This week was the climax for my emotional roller coaster that I’ve been on. So with the body aches and the stressors I didn’t feel like doing anything all week. I swam once, which was a joke. I rode my bike for 20 minutes on friday and I ran once this week.
When I woke up this morning I’m not going to lie…I absolutely did not want to race, but since I paid a lot of money for it I figured I’d better get the best out of it. When we got up there at 6am I laid my seat back and just wanted to sleep. I forced myself to go for a run warm up.
I had a good first 3/4 of lap one. The last 1/4 I couldn’t tell which buoy I needed to go around so I sat up and called for one of the canoorers (they are there to be sort of course marshals) he canoed over to me…yes I was just sitting there in the water waiting for him to come over to me. I asked him directions and continued to swim hoping that it was the right direction of the buoy he had just pointed out. I’m telling you, when the sun shines and reflects off the lake you CANNOT see anything. I pretty much wanted to cry right there out of frustration. Then I heard yelling and whistling so I sat up again thinking I had chosen the wrong way to swim…I hadn’t it was just my cute husband cheering for me :). Finally I’m on my second loop. I totally veered off course and had to swim and extra 50-75 meters. Believe me, I need all the help I can get in the swim. Again, I just wanted to cry. I though “there goes my race”. Little did I know that this wouldn’t be the last time I went off course. I did it again on the final buoy. I know what you’re thinking, “aren’t you a professional off-road triathlon racer?” the answer is yes I am and no I’m not racing like one. I got out of the swim and my hubby tells me I’m the 19th female out of the water. “What!?” I ask. “19th!” I decide to ask again hoping I miss heard him and that this time he would tell me 9th. 9th I can handle, I have such fast times for biking and running that I can make up that time and many times end up in 1st. “19th Erin!” Oh flip, I heard right the other 2 times.
I luckily felt great on the bike! I passed probably 100 people and just felt like I was flying. My Fezzari T3 bike was amazing as always. Nothing much to report about the bike except that I came in 8th female, so I had passed 11 gals…not bad, but not good enough for me.
I started off and felt like a slug, a peppy slug, but non-the-less a slug. I started breathing so hard and loudly that the guys I was coming up on to pass actually turned to check me out and make sure I wasn’t about to die. As I ran past them I wondered if they were asking themselves how someone who was breathing this hard was passing them. I passed 4 girls on the first lap. Sweet for how crappy I felt. Then the emotional stressors that I’ve been going through hit me and I actually started thinking about them. Let me tell you what emotional stress plus exercise does to me. It makes me asthmatic. This is not good. I saw Leslie Howlett who was about 3 minutes ahead of me and thought to myself “you can get her!” Then these stupid thoughts kept creeping up and I had to keep warding off and asthma attack. “Erin! Focus yourself! I’ll deal with that stuff later.” What is wrong with me. My run slowed down and my breathing increased. I just needed to finish this race and start my road to recovering my body from too much racing and training. Then the last 1/2 mile a girl that I had passed flew by me. Literally I felt like I was walking. Bobby was there cheering me on which always boosts me up. But even still I couldn’t do anything but keep slowing down. This type of run course is my thing too. It’s hilly and hot. The more suffering the better for me. I can push through the heat like it’s nobody’s business. Well not today. I broke out in chills all over my body. Not good.
I crossed the finish line in 5th place. I’m definitely proud of myself for hangin in there and for keeping my emotions at bay so I didn’t breakout in an asthma attack and have to be carried off the course.
3rd, 4th and 5th (me) place were all within 30 seconds of each other.
My good friend Sarah Jarvis that I’ve known from racing for the last 7 years won the females race. I’m so happy for her especially because she’s the nicest racer any of us know!
Well I went home walked straight upstairs and took a shower. I forced myself to cry. Yes I have to force myself since it’s a pretty rare thing for this girl. I wasn’t crying over the race, the race was just kind of the breaking point. I just needed to let go and face the things I’ve been putting off for so long. I am excited to take this week off and chill. After I’m rested up starts my training for Xterra nationals. I can’t wait to start mountain biking and trail running I can hardly stand it! 😀 I think that this race taught me a very good lesson. Don’t over train and over race. I will get burned out. I always think I’ll be fine, but I end up paying for it. Balance is essential. A positive mind is essential for success, but sometimes you’ve just got to let it go and have a breakdown. Don’t hold things in! They will come out in some form or another…injury, fatigue, asthma attacks :), etc.
p.s. I’m sorry about the grammar errors. I don’t feel like going back and checking for them!