Monday, October 02, 2006

I only walked for about two minutes when I decided I'd try and run. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I COULD run. No muscular pain, no heavy legs, just a little fatigued which I'm thinking is normal. The best thing was that I was in really good spirits. I was smiling and talking to people passing me that were on their second loop (of the two 10km loops). It was a beautiful route that went along the lake. I ran from km mark to km mark and then I would walk for about a minute with my arms above my head to stretch out my back. The first loop went fine and when we headed into town and up some stone steps through a small pathway Giorgio and Linda were waiting for me while sitting at a patio restaurant. They had instructed all the patrons in the restaurant to yell my name as I went by - that gave me a real boost! Up a hill and down a dirt road, I drank some coke at the turn around and then went passed the finish area and straight on for my last 10km loop. Now I was really really all alone. Then the strangest thing happened. The 10km loop/route was roped off but people were just milling around. I dodged people and asked others to move out of the way so I could get through but then I got to a wall. There were six (SIX) triathletes that had finished the race that were walking back to their car. They were walking side by side with their bikes and big bags thrown over their shoulders. They were talking and laughing and walking slow and there wasn't any room to get around them. "Excuse me..." but they didn't turn or move. "Sorry, can I get by..." didn't work either. I had to sort of yell "let me through!!!! I'm the last one anyway!", meaning no one else should be wanting to get past and they can hog the entire road up after I passed. The girl, about 26 years old said "Oh Ho! The last one! Well, let me just bow down to you! I didn't realize there were people that slow!". This last comment won her friends approval and they all started laughing. So now they're six years old and I'm four and the best I could do was show them a couple middle fingers as I ran off. Now I was really excited about running those last 10km all alone...NOT! I did have a small breakdown moment but I just talked myself out of it (I swear between the bike and the run I must have looked like some crazy lady!) and started the countdown to the end. I did a lot of walking. I think if there had been somebody else out there with me I might have run some more. One of the volunteers ran with me for a kilometre and then I headed back to town. I couldn't really see my watch without my glasses but then when I realised that I could break six hours I ran the last kilometre without stopping. When I turned the corner and went down the shute there must have been at least a hundred people at the finish line. They all cheered...actually they were all waiting for the winners ceremony to begin, but I got the benefit from it.

Final time: 5:57:03

The next day I was up and about and feeling fantastic when I got a call from the President and organizer from the Mergozzo race. He called to apologize about the bike turn around snafu and let me know they were taking 25 minutes off my final time. He justified ten minutes for the lost time and another fifteen for the "demotivation" that occured in being so far behind. I told him it didn't really matter to me. I don't race, I participate. Besides, I'm already thinking about what improvements I can make for next year.
This last photo is me and Giorgio's daughter - she's so sweet! She watched the whole race too.


dg said...

wow julia! i am in awe. such determination. you really are a legend :)

i cannot believe those bitchy triathletes... where's the comradeship? unbelieveable!!!

thanks so much for writing about this, i have loved every post. congrats :)

kathrynoh said...

What a story. Congratulations for such a great effort and for taking all those obstacles in your stride.

As for those six triathletes, how immature are they! It's pathetic when you have to make yourself look good by putting other people down.

Good luck for next year :)

anji said...

Did you get their names?? I sure hope you recognise them in the future and be sure to point them a finger or two in their direction! (and maybe a foot to trip them??)



Donalda Bint said...

Hey Julia, I like it!

That is such a pity that the people don't seem to enjoy it just for its own sake, lead the way, girl!

Seeing as the race organisers are calling you anyway, point out that bitchy triathletes wandering about hindering other people is BAD - could they not threaten to put 25 minutes onto hinderers' time...?

Nic said...

Hi Julia! I just read all five parts of this amazing story (as linked by DG) and I just couldn't leave without saying how absolutely amazing I think you are! WOW!

Sal Gal said...

Congratulations, Julia! Your story is very inspiring.