Sadly, my race didn't go to plan today. It was never going to be a particularly fast one today as I've not trained all that much recently, but, acht, I'm frustrated. The morning started well, early up, picked up Craig and then off to Stirling Uni to register and rack up. I did the normal faffing in transition and ended choosing to leave the shoes out as I haven't done much shoe in mount practice this year and the last couple of races I tried that, the heel got hooked in behind my heel & stuck there the entire race. Anyway, that done, it was time for the race briefing then into pool side to get ready for my heat (heat 3). I started doubting the wisdom of my swim time that I'd put in when looking at the people who I'd be swimming along side.
Somewhere in amongst that activity, I started burping. A lot.
It didn't go away. I got in the pool, got the 50m warm up out of the way fine, then when we set off, I needed to burp. I let one go at the far wall after the first length, and it was like a switch went, making me feel nauseous and that my power output was significantly cut. But I was never going to give up (even though the thought did run through my head several times), so I soldiered on, getting lapped twice by 3 swimmers and once by the other, burping away at numerous turn points, finally crawling out of the pool long after the rest of the heat were on the bike route. An unspectacular T1 followed (the less said about running past my bike the better), onto a lackluster bike leg. I couldn't get properly comfortable on the bike and just toiled. I saw someone in the distance heading towards Tullibody, and used him as a target to reel in which helped me to keep pushing on, and I caught him in Alva. After that it was just more of the same, struggling through, unable to stay tucked onto the aero bars for long before the rough feeling in my stomach made me sit back up. Heading through Menstrie I started to actually feel a bit better, but climbing up the hill to the back of the University, my stomach started to churn and I was back to square one.
Dropping down towards T2 I eased my feet out of my shoes, intent on nailing the running dismount, and finally something went right for me. I dropped off the left pedal into a run, and it felt good. Bike racked, helmet off, shoes on then off out of transition, with a shout out to Craig who'd finished (my first of many complaints to friendly GTC faces about my shocking swim and stomach) and then a flagging run, where a number of competitors from later waves over took me. Every time I tried to push on out on the course, I could feel the nausea pressing in on my stomach again, so just left it with a plodding pace, until the last stretch, I managed to wind it up for a fast finish.
So I'm left thinking, was it something I ate, or was it in the head? Did I have too much pasta last night or something? Nothing I ate last night or this morning I haven't eaten before a race, so did I have a bad batch of something, or did I psyche myself out poolside and get some a dose of anxiety fueled gas? And why 10 hours later am I still burping like a fiend? Is it really just indigestion? Or does the fact that I still managed a fast finish without the urge to puke point more to some kind of anxiety, that I had talked myself into a negative state, and the finish line relieved that? Or all of the above?
So back to the drawing board with diet and my head, and a lot more training for me. Bring on Aberfeldy Middle Distance in August!