I signed up for the Cactus Man Sprint thinking it would be fun after doing the California half ironman. Sprints are short and fast--go hard as possible, then collapse. Then I got injured in training and as a result ruined the half iron. Who the hell gets injured on a bike ride without crashing? The goal became to just hold off collapsing until AFTER finishing.
After the California race, even a three mile run was questionable, because it hurt. A lot, as in being barely able to hobble. How fast I had gone from fit to pathetic. Having a low opinion of people who merely walk for exercise, I was a now a failure at even that. Was I getting weak and old? Just doing a aquabike might be an option, but it seemed pointless for a sprint. An Olympic aquabike would cost more at this late date, so I just settled on risking a run with the regular sprint.
The Tuesday before the race, I managed to run three miles at a blazing 14:38 per mile pace. Two miles had been my maximum all month. My hips, groin and gluts hurt constantly, but the pain was manageable. It was do or die, so I did it. The worse time it could be in the race was a forty-five minute run or an hour walk. I would finish eventually, somehow.
The night before the race, I couldn’t sleep well, because the moon was full and rudely shined too much light in my bedroom. My brain would make any excuse to keep me up, talking incessantly about things that might happen. Shut up, already!
At the race site outside Tempe Center for the Arts in the pre-dawn hour, my mood was cranky. I was tired, nervous and irritable and all the people made it worse. They were everywhere, along with their dogs. I was stuck in a long porta-potty line behind a man, his son and a hyper dog. If a dog can’t act properly in public, why bring it? Dogs are like children. They are cute to look at, but the frenetic behavior is irritating--dashing all over the place, sniffing butts, barking and being generally obnoxious. Please just go away.
To get into the lake, we were supposed to hurry down a ramp and jump in. I wasn’t having any of that. The ramp ended in shallow water with hidden rocks and any step in the murky water was treacherous until the ramp was cleared. It was hazardous to toes and other body parts. I got in slowly without incident.
Since a sprint swim is only 750 meters, I assumed that the swim would be “easy.” Usually I am in the last wave and everyone is ahead of me. The first half was fine. My full wetsuit was a little too warm, but wearing it beat drowning. Swimmers clogged the lake, zigzagged and occasionally one would get in my way, but for the most part, it was nonviolent.