Just deleted a long post about my first DNF yesterday at Kansas 70.3 listing what I did wrong. There's not any one thing that explains why I quit at mile 45 of the bike – it was windy, I had some equipment issues, my mind was not in it, etc. – so I thought it would be good to write it all out so I remember it next time... as if I'm going to be able to forget it.
But, what I really need to remember is how I feel today.
How it felt to sit under that aid station tent watching people go by in the same conditions that I'd just quit.
The ride in the SAG van with two guys who had quit too.
Having to surrender my chip and walk the last half-mile of the course, dropping my bike at my truck before heading to transition to collect my gear, still in my bike shoes.
Watching people struggling on the tough run, seeing the speedy finishers, hearing the finish line sounds.
The text I sent my husband.
The drive home.
The painfully awesome "YAY IRONMOMMY!" banner still up when I got home (not about to let that little girl think it wasn't appreciated).
Having to pitch the race shirt (damn, this one actually fits).
Yeah, I'd like to avoid everything on that list from here on out. The conditions were tough yesterday, but any race will have something tough about it. The real lesson for me here isn't that I need to toughen up in strong winds, or train differently for the swim, or admit I need a cheering section, or plan my pre-race better, or invest in a functioning bike computer or a new helmet. Those are all things I do still need to do, but they aren't the answer. The simple and difficult answer is that I need to find some mental fortitude.
I should probably contribute to that mental fortitude by mentioning that not everything about yesterday sucked. I got through a tough and wetsuit-less swim. I handled the ride's hills better than I'd expected. I have no complaints about my bike saddle. My husband is awesomely supportive. I'm eager to redeem myself.
So, the lesson's weren't all fun, but they are all useful. Moving on now.