No, its not a type of Eastern European beverage.  A Slovakian Fizzle is what I did on the track during my 1500 yesterday.

trasport to slovakia

The 2.5 hour bus ride from Vienna to the hotel...lotta Russians up in there.

It wasn’t the finish necessarily.  Though while we’re on the subject… I held my ground over the last 150 to finish 6th, but in a normal race, I’d have taken down the two or three girls within one second of me with a strong kick.  The gear was there, waiting to be used, but for some reason I couldn’t summon the will to use it.  I got stuck at 90%.

Finishing that way overwhelmed me with disgust.  I suppressed the steam coming out of my ears long enough to sign a few autographs, but as soon as I got outside the stadium, I became a tense ball of muscle ready to start a fight.  I am a competitor, but I didn’t feel that I competed.  Nobody else could tell, but I knew the truth.

My best friend Malindi came around the bend just as I was jabbing buttons on my phone in frustration, unsuccessfully trying to get ahold of my coach via text message.  She came over and put her hand on my shoulder and the fire in my eyes slowly receded.  In a way only possible with a few connected souls in your life, she got me to open up and confess my sin: not doing my best.

forest outside the hotel

Running with Malindi in the forest outside the hotel.

Malindi was also in the race.  She finished somewhere ahead of me, but I can honestly say I don’t feel competitiveness towards her.  Not one ounce of it.  I usually finished ahead of her in college when we were teammates at Stanford, but I didn’t care about it then either.  I always knew if she stayed healthy long enough, she’d be world class.  There was never any pride in beating Malindi or pain in being beaten…there is room at the top for both of us, as far as I’m concerned.  Through college, we became extensions of each other in a way, forming a friendship that rivals sisterhood.  Even though we haven’t kept in touch much over the past couple years, when we saw each other in the meet hotel in Slovakia, it felt as though we had spent the past two years as room mates.  By the time I got on the plane to go back to Ireland after the meet, I had literally lost my voice from talking to her so much.

We talked over the race as we cooled down through the streets of Dubnica, passing by post-communist developments sandwiched between enormous cement abandoned relics.  After 10 minutes, we had dissected not only the race, but the entire season as well as modern politics in Eastern Europe, and were again ready to conquer the world.

the strip

The "Strip" (and a random Charlie Chaplain statue)

Basically, my track season is fizzling, and when that happens, it becomes increasingly difficult to push my body to its limits.  That’s what a “peak” is all about.  I’m just sliding down the other side now, which is fine.  Its part of the deal.  After talking to Coach, I realized that what I felt in Slovakia was expected, and at some point in the season it starts to feel like your hanging on by a thread.  Whether its emotional or physical doesn’t matter…its never one or the other in sport.

After 2 years away, I guess I just forgot what this part of the season feels like.  Now I’m lucky to make it far enough to fizzle.  It isn’t much fun, but its certainly better than having your story taken away right when you are in the thick of the plot.

Two weeks of competing left in Europe, culminating in a road race in England.  Based on how this 1500 went, I’m definitely going to withdraw my name from Rietti and focus on recouping in Ireland to prepare for the road race.