After about fortyish miles of Colorado countryside at an 11 miles per hour pace, I found myself nauseated in the heat and staring at another big-assed hill. It was 12:39. I had 51 minutes to get 17 miles, which was highly unlikely. The guy that pulled my chip apologized, but it was inevitable. They pulled my chip and those of the four people ahead of me. One of them, like me, was happy to take the ride. Another one had been in a bike accident with another rider, one sat silently trying not to cry at having failed her first attempt at an Ironman, and the fourth stewed silently, angry that they had pulled her chip,after she failed to make the cutoff by more than 10 minutes.
I asked the girl next to me, who is very young, if she would try again. She nodded. "Good for you," I said.
It was a new experience for me, being pulled. I've never been pulled. I've always just squeaked by with those cutoffs, but let's face it, it's an Ironman. It's all about the bike. Considering I haven't really trained for it, I'm surprised I got as far as I did. The ride back, in the shuttle, was a tense silence. The driver kept apologizing. I felt bad for him. I've been in races where you didn't get a ride back, or worse, you sat in the back of a pickup for the ride back. I thanked him for providing this service.
Now, the only way to get to where my bags were was to walk the same walk as the triathletes who had just gotten off their bikes. Hoards of people shouted at me as I walked by. WHOO! Good job number 1180!
That was a long walk. Yep. Awkward.
I loaded up bags and bikes and went to wait for Baboo to finish. I got a little lightheaded doing that.
During the ride back, and while I waited, I had pondered this experience, this 'being pulled'. I came up with some great truths.
1) this is a natural consequence and a lesson I needed. I didn't train. This is what happens when you don't train. You suffer, or you don't finish, or both. It's a miracle that I finished the swim.
2) Being pulled is not the end of the world. I've been anxious about it before, but it's not that bad.
3) I've said it before, when you try extraordinary things, things outside your comfort zone, sometimes you will fail.
4) Having said that, I have completed two iron distance triathlons. Hard ones. I'm good.
Oh, and one more thing:
5) I really, really, really really hate cycling.
I accept that we have roles to play. Mine is not necessarily to always win but to try. If someone tries something extraordinary, something outside of their comfort zone, because I did it, then that's a good thing.