What I learned from my Celtman Xtri debut. Is it really only all about the blue t-shirt?
It was one of those races when you plan to go fast and furious to be quickly humbled and forced into the full survival mode.
The only 40min into the swim, my both legs went into the spasm. Big time, hamstrings and quads, the proper lock down of the muscles.
From now on the question was not ”what will be my finish time”, but ”will I last another 5min?”
I don’t want to sound overdramatic, but it was bad. I mean, awful. I had to go on my back, grinding the teeth with the pain. Few silent tears have been drawn.
Very quickly, I realized there is nothing I can do to ease the pain. So I forced my head back into the water, screamed a few bad words and carry on swimming.
The race was on. It’s called extreme for a reason.
Legs have never fully recovered after the swim and the bike leg, historically my favourite bit turned into the struggle. The headwind didn’t help. Around 4 hours into the cycle, my spirit was so low that I have started planning a controlled crash.
I could not just quit, but if I crash, I would have a perfect excuse.
I have played with this thought for at least 20 km, going against it only because of my support crew. They did so much for me already, I could not disappoint them!
After 200 km on the bike, it was time for a hilly run.
The first 16 km wasn’t fun at all.
I had plenty of time (2h 30min) until the blue t-shirt cut off, so I knew I’m okay, but still, it cost me a lot to push through the pain.
I know, it all sounds bleak, but it is getting even worse. Sorry, but this was the reality. If you wanted an easy pick-up story, you will not find it here:)
Back to the race.
After the quick stopover at t2a, refuelling and a short chat with Joanna and Richard, we started an infamous climb.
There is a moment, recorded by Grzesiek – my support runner, when I walk with a puzzled face, head down, mumbling something, unaware of surroundings.
A moment later, I had to sit down and recover. There was no more racing in me. If the spirit wasn’t killed by the cold water, cramps and the bike and the headwind, I definitely left it on that bloody hill. And we still had 22 km to go, on very heavy terrain. I know, poor me. I was broken.
On the positive side, the atmosphere on that hill was phenomenal. Everyone was tired but happy, cheering others competitors and soaking in the fresh air, blue skies and bagpipe music (yes, there was a bagpiper on the tallest peak!).
I have finished on 69 place, and as Richard said ”what a great position to be in” 😛
Looking back, I don’t know where did I find extra energy to finish the run. I was digging deep, paying for my uncheck ego and it’s unrealistic time goals 🙂
The race has confirmed that my body is more capable than I give it credit for. I have also learned that when you think you are done, there is a whole new level of pain below. And when again you hit the button, you quickly realise there is another one below, even darker. And then another one.
I am scared and fascinated by the idea of digging deeper.
Let’s stop on that positive note.
Till the next time.
PS. I would not do this without the support of many close to my heart people. Thank you so much for your help, you are real heroes!