Iíll go first.
Before a night race this year I spent the day outside in 90+ degrees with 80 % humidity refinishing furniture. Nothing too stressful, fun even. Of course, sweating like a pig. And because Iím stupid sometimes, didnít think to drink any water.
I got to the race and had a warm up. No problems. The *** went off. Still no problems. A racer whose talents and strengths I know well took off. I can match him effort for effort most all of the time. I went with him. 50 meters into the break something went wrong. My heart rate shot to 200 bpm and I had nothing in my legs. I rejoined the pack, figuring Iíll take a rest and save a bit for later.
My heart rate wouldnít come down no matter what I tried. I couldnít catch my breath. My legs still had nothing; a very different kind of pain. My head and thoughts started spinning. I fell to last place in the pack. Theyíd accelerate and leave me behind. Oh man, to close that gap was a curse. Just stop and rest, I heard myself say. Just stop.
But I didnít. The gaps kept opening and Iíd struggle to close them. Almost quitting each time. I usually get lost in the moment of the race and let it all go, not this time. This time I was watching the clock, praying it would go faster. It never did.
I managed to roll across the finish line with the pack, in last place. I had finished, but just barely. From the very beginning I told myself to stop. Never before had I been that miserable.