This post is about a great day, that was rained on because of a cheater that prevented me from a podium finish.
I had a great race on Sunday August 21st by a great organization Element Events. It’s the only local race I really had a chance to do this year due to my race schedule. They remind me of the quality and attention REV3 puts into their races. I arrived in the morning and began setting up my “space”. I loved that I kept getting asked by probably a good couple dozen people on how nice my bike was. It’s always easy to talk up your sponsors (Kestrel Bikes) when you know it’s a good product. As per the other races this year, the bike held up extremely well and proved itself out on the course for this race. But I’m getting ahead of myself already. The race was SUPPOSED to be a C level race. For those not familiar with A,B,C levels, a C race is pretty much a workout race, not competing against others or really pushing it. Many say they are just going through the motions. That WAS my intent, but my ego got the best of me.
I made the turn at the ½ way point for the swim and checked my position relative to the others… crap, I’m in 5th place. I say this because the discipline for a C level race is to not compete against anyone else. This is where the ego enters and says “come on you can move to a B race and still be fine… which I did L OK, F grade for not being true to my discipline and workout plans, A for seeing a window and being Carpe Diem. I came out of the water in 3rd place for my age group, a good 5 minutes ahead of another X athlete that will enter the picture soon. Took my sweet time in transition because I was not racing right?
Got on the bike segment and was feeling incredibly good, so the ego said once again, go for B level and pace yourself. I came in 6 minutes ahead of the X athlete again! Enter the run…
I was not feeling fantastic, but solid on the run so I just kept a steady and even pace throughout the entire 6.2 miles. A very consistent pace and good energy. This course was a two lap event for all three sports (swim, bike, run). On the second lap I see this X athlete in my age group bracket look around in the tunnel where there were no course officials and when I came out of the dark tunnel… I’m all alone! Ok, where did this guy go? I checked his number before the tunnel just because I was a bit skeptical of his behavior. I never saw the guy again. I was looking for him on the way back (out and back course) to see if he was injured or took a break or something… nothing, oh well I hope he was ok.
Come to the finish line and I’m glad to be done, it was quite humid and warm for me (I’m a sissy, I hate the heat). I go over to the computers to check the results after a bit and low and behold… I took 4th place! Not bad for taking it pretty easy, but not too easy. But WAIT, 3rd place beat me even though I beat him by 5 minutes in the swim, 5 minutes in the bike, and somehow a miracle happens that he beat me by 10 minutes on the run AFTER I watched him personally disappear in the tunnel? The guy went from 9th place after the bike to beating the 1st place age group in the run? Come on!! Folks, if I haven’t drawn you a clear map by now, that’s what we call a cheater. It just so happens that the 3rd place winner was the exact same number as the guy in the tunnel that disappeared. So, technically I took 4th, but I’d like to think I earned a podium finish.
So, the title is how do you cope with a situation like this? Let’s face it, nothing will change about it, the results are in and I CHOSE not to make a big deal about it. I did talk to the head race owner and let him know that he might consider posting a course official in that area next time. The reality is you can’t place officials at every location, and if someone wants to cheat… they’ll cheat. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it, and to be frank about it, I have been in several races where I was just spent and was tempted to cut the course myself… BUT I NEVER HAVE! I guess the ego is really the primary culprit in this for me because it was the difference of a podium finish which would have been really nice to report to my sponsors, and I have to say all of my sponsor’s products made a difference in this race. I switched MID-SEASON (that’s a no no by the way) to a different AVIA model shoe. I went from the shoe with the most support down to the least support (a minimal) shoe. That’s another story, but the end result has been extremely positive! The bike as I already said was great, the fuel from First Endurance was a perfect mixture. No blisters or chaffing because of my Tri-Slide, and the wetsuit by TYR certainly led me to a great swim result. In other words, it’s really tough when everything goes well and performs as expected and you SHOULD have taken a podium finish, but
didn’t because of some (insert expletive here!) cheated.
- Yes, it sucks, admit it! It’s a personal decision whether to fight it and report the person.
- Focus on what YOU did well and can celebrate for your race.
- Recognize that the only thing you can control is your attitude and belief about the race, so choose to believe you did exceptional.
- Offer some grace to yourself and the other athletes, there were a number of athletes out there that did everything properly too, only a few exceptions who have to contend with their poor decision.
- If needed, ask for someone to listen and not solve your issue and just let it out, then let it go.
- Recognize your potential of how well you did and train for the next race ahead, because you now know you are within reach of that next level of greatness!