I unquestionably did very poorly at the A&M Criterium, having been pulled 9 minutes into a 30 minute race. It was a bit discouraging, to say the least. As a rather analytical person, I have trouble with judging myself in a kind light after a failure that must be attributed to me in one way or another.
Well, what went wrong? Daylight Savings, waking at 5AM, and my natural propensity for insomnia got me a full two hours of bed sleep, so that could have definitely been better. Also, when we got there, I had trouble registering, since the guy doing that didn't show up until about 20 minutes before the race; and I accordingly spent a lot of the time leading up to it running around instead of getting ready or mentally prepared, and then ended up on the starting line while hearing nature's call. None of those situations are ideal.
I suppose a lot of skill in dealing with this will come with more race experience. Either I will become better at preparing for races, or I will become better at mentally dealing with that sort of physical and mental stress caused by those sorts of pre-race conditions. (Hopefully, both of those skills will develop).
Outside of that, my leg (the injured one, which has atrophied a bit and has a calf full of scar tissue) is bothering me. I dunno why, it comes and goes. I hate wondering if I'll be in pain like that forever. Additionally, today I felt more strongly the emotional problems in our team structure, which isn't always super supportive. Sometimes I feel like I could just hang up my jersey indefinitely and some people wouldn't miss me. I know that's not entirely true, but a more psychologically developed team would have devices in place to prevent those feelings from occuring. I wish I had the resources to change our team for the better in that respect, but the saying "it takes a village" has validity. One person can't make a team. Regardless, I definitely appreciate the support from people like Sean, Michael, Jacob, and Miguel. (Update: also guys like Clay and Kenneth. I feel compelled to complete a name list when I start one.)
On the Upside, I really enjoyed meeting people from all the other teams. I met some nice guys from MSU, and I really enjoyed meeting the Texas State team; which is full of friendly, laid-back people. I'll enjoy seeing them again, and as always the A&M guys were great. Also, I met one of the photographers shooting the race, and I look forward to seeing his work from today. (Update: I found some pictures of me.)
I should chill out on judging myself so harshly, but it is discouraging to see teammates who have been racing and training as long as I have meet with seemingly immediate success. Then again, most of them haven't been injured, don't have maladaptive physiologies, or have come from more athletic backgrounds. All I can really do is note the things that prevent my success and attempt to overcome them. Hopefully experience and time will make me fast.