Meltdown in Alabama – WTF????

First off, congratulations to both Conrad and Shonny for putting together outstanding races under pretty tough conditions. Shonny took her first ever XTERRA win and Conrad came back from a flat tire to continue his streak of XTERRA domination and perfect score in the overall series. Knowing how tough it is to be consistent in this sport I definitely look up to Conrad for continued awesome performances.

For me, this weekend was not just terrible, it was absolutely ridiculous. I have NEVER in my life, had to stop and walk on a run. NEVER. On two occasions I have not remembered the final three kilometers of the run, seven times I have been on an IV drip, once I was on my way to the hospital but never, ever have I walked the run. This weekend I walked the entire second half of the run course, unless it was downhill. Even so, my heart rate for walking the climbs was 190 bpm. Obviously I was not going to catch Shonny walking and of course most of the field was going to run past me before the end of the race. I went down like Big Brown at the Belmont…. And like that horse, right away I wasn’t right. On the bike I had average of 195bpm for a four minute slower bike split (than the last TWO starts on this same course… on what I felt would be a faster course) because I was trying SO hard to keep it steady with no luck. Just pedaling was sending my heart rate out of control heart. Obviously something was going on that I was not aware of. I was doomed from the start. How in the world did this happen? Well I will go through the list to eliminate certain theories…..

1. Apathy: contrary to some other people’s beliefs, I respect my competitors immensely and know that if I am not going fast, I will be beaten. I didn’t take my result in Temecula to be a foregone conclusion for Alabama and neither did any of the other girls. I took it seriously and came to the race with the best I could muster.

2. Mental breakdown. Come on! I have not been on the podium at EVERY event in the North American tour for the past six years because I am a mental midget.

3. Mechanical failure. I wish. It would not be so mystifying.

4. Overtraining. Probably not. If I was overtrained I would not have seen the heart rates I had because I would be too tired to get there.

5. Heat and humidity. Obviously this was the reason I was dizzy and screwed standing in feedzones pouring water on my head. That said, I have been overheated before but still capable of continuing. Something special was going on this weekend that brought me literally, to a standstill. That said, I had less acclimation than ever since it has been winter in Victoria and I really have been training in cool conditions. Last year I struggled the week before Alabama XTERRA at the BUMP race but not like this….As Scott from BMC put it… I had a flat tire. On the run.

Now all I can say is that is done and in the past. Moving on. Given this has never happened to me EVER in all of my years of racing I can be confident that it should not repeat and I will go into Richmond looking for some redemption. The last time I had a catastrophic race like this was Czech Republic in 2005. That was the year Kahuna was running faster than me into the finish (long story). That story does have a happy ending. I annihilated the same girls the following weekend in Italy. Given the swim, the bike and the run in Alabama were not what I am capable of, I am sure I can leave that crappy athlete behind and take the fast Mel to Richmond.

Until next week…. Drink lots of water in the heat 

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