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CONFESSIONS OF AN AGE-GROUPER
I Want to Vomit
BY HOLLY BENNETT
LIKE MANY TRIATHLETES around the globe,
I was riveted to coverage of the second annual Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March, the professional ﬁeld being the fastest, ﬁttest, throw-downingest crowd of elites ever assembled outside of Kona. I watched with special attention and pride as my pal Julie Dibens led the women’s ﬁeld from start to ﬁnish, solidly backing up her 2010 victory. Having Julie as one of my Boulder home-girls is great—I heard the full behind-the-scenes race recap, including vivid details of her ﬁnal push down the ﬁnish chute, highlighted by nonstop vomiting over the ﬁnal 50 meters. Though a bit gross, the Technicolor drama was proof positive that Julie had laid it all out there under the shadow of the Emirates Palace, racing full-throttle and leaving nothing to chance. That girl is dang tough. I’m writing this column the evening following my own 2011 racing debut. The venue was not quite as exotic or challenging as the UAE, but rather a local 10K run. Yet I, too, had a title to defend. I was last year’s age-group champion, netting a nifty little trophy, as compared to Julie’s $50,000 prize. I felt compelled to toe the line. Prior to the race, I tweeted: Warming up for 1st race of season. Goal is to run hard enough to hurl (in honor of @juliedibens)! Later (sadly, much later than I had anticipated), I updated my Facebook status: Perhaps the slowest 10K of my life—and actually almost did hurl! My mind & spirit were competitive, but my body’s not there yet. Still had heaps of fun—and there’s nowhere to go but faster from here. To which
Julie added: I am disappointed Holly. Almost hurling doesn’t count. My reply: Dibs, the failure just made me even more steadfast in my #1 goal this season—to ultimately produce an eﬀort that induces an Abu Dhabi-worthy puke-fest at the ﬁnish. Only then will I be satisﬁed. Because although I had not achieved the desired land-speed record in my race, I had gained something more signiﬁcant: a goal for the season. I want to vomit. Truth be told, I’m a tough nut to crack when it comes to ralphing. Although I’ve been classiﬁed a “picky eater” by more than one boyfriend, and I lose my appetite at the slightest mention of wormy, squirmy things, my tummy regularly remains right side up. Sure, I spilled my cookies here and there as a child, but as an adult I can’t recall a single instance of upchuck. Even during a bad bout with food poisoning, the toxin’s exit route was not through my mouth. Not that I’m totally keen on dousing my Newtons with regurgitated race fuel, but I am hell-bent on pushing myself that hard. I came close today, a ﬁnish line belly-lurch signaling certain spew. But alas, my tummy’s twinge was a mere tease, almost a mockery of my less-than-all-out eﬀort. This year, I’m determined to leave it all on the course (aside from the bit that hits my shoes). I vow to dig deeper than ever, to push my body to the far end of exertion until I’m happily heaving, unloosing a stream of electrolytes, retching with the regal glory of a seasoned pro. Then, and only then, will I feel worthy of pledging my devotion to the one known as the porcelain god.
TRIATHLETE.COM | July 2011