Race number three in week number three. I guess this making up for the race withdrawal I was having between St. A's in April and Pawling in June. I have a love/hate relationship with this particular race. I love the course. The bike is on country roads in South Jersey. The run is mostly on shaded paths meandering through a park. Also the bike is relatively long for a sprint. 16 miles and still only a 5K run. So for the charter member of the ISARTC (I Suck at Running Track Club) this is an ideal race.
So where does the hate part come in? Getting to and from the race. Anything that involves going over the George Washington Bridge on a Friday just sucks. When it's hot as hell and there's been an accident closing down an entrance to a major route, it doubly sucks. At least this time I managed to get out of the house before 1:00 PM. I might have made it earlier if I had the same sort of checklist for what needs to go in the car that I have for what goes in my triathlon bag. After several trips back into the house I get the car started and double check to see if I have my cell phone. I don't, so another trip into the house. How did I ever go to races without a cell phone?
Rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike are a mass of humanity in every shape and color. It's always bedlam so there's nothing restful about them. But when it's hot and I've gone through 48 oz of water between my house and this rest stop it's time to do something about the water. Not to mention the need to get more water! I walk in there and the smell of Cinnabun is overwhelming. I swear I can gain weight just looking at those things. It smells good, but I'd rather blow all those calories on some good chocolate. I have the bike locked on top but I don't get crazy worrying about someone stealing it while I'm in the ladies room. Probably 90% of the people in there wouldn't know the difference between it and a bike from Walmart. They'd take one look at the aerobars and ask themselves, "How the hell do you ride with those?"
This year I managed not to get lost. Last year I had the Map Quest directions from hell. I spent 3 hours driving around south Jersey trying to find the hotel. Stupid desk clerks couldn't even get me there. I missed out on having dinner with one of my friends from Team USA. This year I used Google Maps, and had no trouble getting to the hotel.
This year I actually got to have dinner with my friends and share triathlon war stories. I thought I had been anal last week scoping out my competition, but I'm not alone in this pursuit. One of the people at dinner was talking about how she "Googles" people in her age group who she doesn't recognize. Never had thought about that one! So what did I do tonight when I got back to the room? Yep, I did a Google search on the other women in my age group. Damn I can see what I'm going to be doing before Nationals. Based on my search I like my chances in the race tomorrow. One woman runs fast but does everything else slow. I can't get at the list with the bib numbers so I'm not going to be able keep track of her like I did last week.
I don't know why I'm getting so obsessed over my competition in these little races. I guess because it takes my mind off the big issues in my life that I'm having to deal with. I spent enough time in the car ruminating on what has happened in the last six months, and what may happen in the next few months. Focusing on my racing and doing my best has kept me in a more positive state of mind. That will help me cope.