Well not every race day is perfect.  It rained with sub 50 degree temperatures.  The race director came on the loud speaker with a warning that the bike was “traitorous and go slow” – never heard that one before during a race - lots of water on the road, steep hills and descents, road construction, moderate rainfall, fog, wind and freezing temperatures, not ideal conditions for me in fact every condition that I feared after a bad crash doing hills in rain left me with both arms in casts.  I can say now that I survived it and had a great bike, 11th out of 140 in my age group, and I had the opportunity to conquer those fears.  My swim was strong too but then there was the run. Borderline hypothermia from being wet and freezing temperatures and extreme dehydration from almost a week of the stomach flu that continued throughout the race led to the most extreme body cramps I’ve ever experienced.  My entire body shut down bit by bit about 100 yards into the run.  It started with a severe side stitch, then muscle cramping that felt like a boa constrictor tightening from my waist up my back and chest into my neck.  I couldn’t breathe, I stopped and looked for medical, started walking, stopped again, took a few jogs, walked then my knees and ankles once I could feel them cramped.  I finally began to feel my feet at mile 6.  Every step was torture; I can only liken the pain to drug-free childbirth only it lasted 13 miles with no end in sight.  The turnaround was at the finish chute, cruel punishment for those in pain and a tease for those trying to PR.  I just wanted to go home.  The most grueling punishment was watching everyone I had worked to hard to stay in front of in the swim, bike and transitions run past me, it felt like I was the last one on the course. Even a pit stop on the run course did nothing to ease the pain, I just kept saying to myself “suck it up” and eventually finished. The funny thing is it was a friend of mine who was medical that day and met me at the finish, she just kept saying her name and telling me I and needed oxygen and to go to medical.  Then I could see the image of the clock as I finished.  I had forgotten it was a running clock only remembering the time, “6” something.  I started saying the time on the clock, “6 something, there’s going to be a 6 after my name and it’s only a half!”  That’s when she looked at me with my face in her hands and plainly said, “Diane, you’re going to be alright, it’s just mental now.”  And, for me, I finished well under “6” despite an over 2 hour jog, walk, stop, so thankfully there is no ‘6’ after my name…not this time! Oceanside 70.3 a great race, a challenging yet fun race, can’t wait to do it again next year!

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