Today was supposed to be a 5 mile run and 16 mile bike biathlon down near the shore. The weather was pretty overcast, which was good, but very humid and windy- which was not. They had predicted possible rain showers but we were fortunate that other than a few drops during the race we were dry until it was over. We got there about 10:30am for an 11am start. The transition area was still pretty empty and we found a spot for our bikes together. We weren't too worried about being able to find them because we were pretty sure that we would be nearly the last bikes out of transition so they'd be easy to find. I ate a vanilla PowerGel about 10 minutes before the race began and realized that I don't like vanilla PowerGel, yuck. We walked to the back of the start area, Paul started the race in last place and I started second to last. We figured the day could only improve from there. I managed to run a full 3 steps before a large bubble of vanilla PowerGel rose up in my throat, along with some breakfast, I think, and I thought of how embarrassing it would be to throw up at the starting line. I managed to not throw and things improved from there for a while. Paul immediately moved up ahead of me and I realized how impractical it was to think that we'd end up racing together. It's not as if we were going to spend the time talking or anything, so what was with me thinking we'd just run together? I figured if he was feeling stronger he should go with it and I was hoping maybe I'd catch up later.
My intention was to try to maintain 10 minute miles for the whole 5 miles. I have not run 5 miles in many, many years. I ran 4 miles once this summer, but that was it, so I was sort of going on faith that I could add on another mile and be okay. I was running along and checked my watch somewhere around 13:47 and then I nearly panicked. I hadn't seen the first mile marker yet and I didn't think I had started out that slow, so I asked the woman next to me whether we had passed a mile yet. She told me we were at 1.5 miles or so, so I was glad to see that I was actually about 9:30 miles. I was even more excited when I was able to maintain that for the next few miles. I hit 2 miles at 19:02, 3 miles- 28:29, 4 miles- 37:58 I was going to come in under 50 minutes!! Right about the 4 mile mark I heard the first grumblings from my digestive system but I figured since I took my Immodium I'd be fine, just 1 mile to go, I just clenched a bit and kept running. Paul was only about 10-15 steps ahead of me and I was thinking I'd catch up before we finished the run. I had seen him walking ahead of me a few times and I was wondering how he was feeling. I looked at my watch with 0.5 miles left- 42:50 and I was psyched. Not two steps later my itestines sent an urgent message to my brain. The nearest intestines-to-English translation would be "if you try to run any more, the entire contents of your lower intestines will be evacuated onto the street immediately". The running clench was no longer working so I had to slow down to the walking clench. My hopes of a sub-50 minute run started to fade and 6 people passed me over the next half mile. I ended up with something like a 10:15 average but I know it could have been 9:30. I almost felt like a real runner for those first 4.5 miles.
I came into transition as Paul was leaving. I told him not to head home without me jokingly and then I headed off to the bathroom. I did reach the bathroom in time and the nice part was that I could sit and untie my shoelaces more comfortably than if I was sitting in the transition area parking lot. I felt much better after the bathroom break and I headed back down to get on my bike. I went through the big puddle and took a left off into the headwind. My legs felt surprisingly good and I was at about 15 mph, I figured if I could maintain that into the wind I'd pick up when there was a trailwind. I was looking forward to that 16 mile course and then I heard a very loud pop. I have not had a flat tire on my bike before and I've heard other people describe a hiss sound or thump sound, I heard none of that. Just pop. Loud enough that for a second I thought a car had backfired near me somehow. Then I felt the dragging of the tire and realized my day was over. First, it was a rear flat and I've never changed a rear flat. Second, I had no bike pump. I took off my helmet, shoes and socks and pushed the bike the 0.75 miles back to transition. Paul came by a little while later, I told him I'd had a flat and wished him luck on his next lap. I went out to the beach side for a few minutes to sulk and look at the water. I'd felt so good heading out after the run, and the run had been a pleasant surprise so I was annoyed that my season ended with a DNF.
Official results: 75/83 on the run.
Paul- 67/81 overall finish, 67/83 on the run. Total time 1:55:57
He was disappointed with his race but he finished and it's been aout 16 years since he last raced so I think he did really well.
We went to pick up the kids and now we're hanging out, watching football and I'm wondering what I'm training for now. Guess I'll give myself a couple weeks to just go to the gym and work out and then I'll pick my next goal. There's something out there for me, I'm in no big rush to decide.