Well, even though after Kona 2011 I said it would never happen again, it did – another DNF. This was definitely the hardest fought day of my triathlon career, ending not with a triumphant cross of the finish line, but with another IV and a couple hours with the very nice medical staff of Ironman St. George. I guess at least this time I made it almost to mile 19 of the run (before passing out) instead of mile 100 of the bike.
First up a quick run-down of the day:
Pre-race – I hadn’t felt great that whole week, but I know that’s almost always a good thing. Unfortunately I wasn’t just feeling the typical flat, I was also feeling a little lethargic and the pre-Oceanside achy feeling was back. WHAT? I decided this race was too important and I was going to put that feeling out of my mind because I WAS GOING to have a great race – just like last year.
Swim – This was the craziest swim of my life. The way out was calm but after the turnaround the wind kicked up and turned that sweet, innocent looking reservoir into an angry body of water. At first I thought “I can’t believe they let boats out here during the swim, that’s annoying”. Unfortunately it wasn’t boat wake that was throwing me up into the air and slamming back down. All I could do was keep swimming and do some breaststroke every time I needed a buoy check. After what felt like forever, I was out of the water in 58 minutes, about 5 minutes slower than I was hoping for. Oh well onto the bike.
Bike – Like Oceanside I felt pretty rough from the beginning. Over the past year the bike has become a strength for me, unfortunately I feel like I have yet to prove that in a race. Coach Matty D told me to ride aggressively to get away from the strong running field. I was mentally prepared for that, but it was clear after the first 5 miles, my body wasn’t. It didn’t help that about mile 25 we hit the craziest winds I have ever had the displeasure of riding in! The head wind was terrible and the cross winds were way stronger than anything Hawi could throw at you. I felt like I almost got blown off my bike about 30 times. I knew it was going to be a rough day when I hit mile 50 and was already over 3 hours into the bike. Yikes! Luckily the 2nd loop wasn’t quite as bad, but it was still over 6 hours and 20 min on the bike before I was able to get back on my feet. (compared with my IMAZ bike of 5:07…ouch!).
Run – once I got to the run I was cooked. My bike was terrible, but I had to dig super deep just to make it through. That left me with pretty much nothing for the run, not a good feeling when you have 26 miles staring you in the face. I came out of T2 in 4th, but was immediately passed. Oh well, at least I still had a mountain biker with me…for now. Every time I had to walk I felt so bad for the guy – he had to bike so slowly I was afraid he might fall over! I kept apologizing for holding him up! The next 19 miles was a mix of running, jogging, walking, early negative thoughts, followed by anger and a determination to finish no matter what. I was doing everything I could just to stay on my feet. I was playing games with my watch – okay jog for this amount of time, then you can walk. Okay, try to walk faster. Then I hit mile 18 and it was like I hit a wall. I have never felt like it was so difficult just to keep moving in my life. I started to feel dizzy and I couldn’t seem to walk in a straight line. Then all of a sudden I was waking up in a chair with a guy starting an I.V.
So what happened? Well, it was definitely a tough day on the course. Even if I had run well, I still would have finished over the 11 hour mark, or more than 90 minutes slower than my last Ironman. But it was a tough day for everyone. Why my failure? After chatting with Matty D post race, it’s clear that I went into SG over tired. I lost sight of one of the most important “Pillars of Performance” – recovery. While my training has been dialed up significantly from last year, so have my work responsibilities. Despite WANTING to be able to perform at race time with 50-60hrs of work, 10 hours of commuting, and 20+ hours of training each week, it’s not happening. While it’s my coach’s responsibility to design a program to optimize performance and build in time for the necessary recovery, it’s my responsibility to give regular HONEST updates about my state of mind and body so he can make informed decisions. How does my coach know I’m tired unless I tell him? This is where I have been failing. It all goes back to WANTING to do it all. I expect that I should be able to excel at work, sport, and life so I don’t feel like I can admit when I’m tired, run down, or too stressed/busy at work to fit in another workout. I sometimes don’t have a choice but to work extra hours. The only thing that could give would be my training and I haven’t been willing to let that go – out of fear I won’t be able to achieve my goals. A year ago I listened to Matt talk about the importance of recovery and life balance to performance. I have struggled with this over the past year, thinking that I could turn things around without making any real changes to my life. I finally realize that I have to take an active role in my training AND recovery if I’m going to be a balanced, successful athlete.
So how do I get back on track? I’m not 100% sure. I have spent this week doing a lot of soul searching. The status quo isn’t working. I have had to decide what I really want out of this sport and what I am willing to do to get it. I’m looking at some pretty big life-changing options and will definitely share once I figure out what my new lifestyle is going to be. I am very lucky to have a boss and company who are extremely supportive of my goals and are willing to work with me to reach them. (Thank you Kate and Williams-Sonoma, Inc!) I’m NOT quitting my job and I will still have a hectic schedule – but one I KNOW I can handle. It’s all about putting things back into balance. How’s that for vague?!? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned… In the meantime a big thank you to my amazing sponsors for your continued support and my coach, Matt Dixon for helping me turn this around!
While the race wasn’t at all what I expected or was hoping for, I do have to say the weekend wasn’t a total bust. Not only did I get to shack up with one of my favorite triathlon couples from Team Sheeper – Lennard and Sumi, but I also got a little QT with my hubby.
Sunday after the race, we headed out to Zion National Park. We didn’t do any aggressive hiking, of course, but being able to spend time together, especially in such a breathtaking location, really put my life, and my recent disappointment into perspective. How can I ever REALLY think I have had a bad day when I remember how lucky I am to be married to such an amazing person? Even on my worst day, my life is pretty great.
Even though he’s listed as my VIP#13, my hubby, Mark (aka The Markster) knows he’s really #1 in my book. I can’t imagine my life without him. He is my best-friend, my biggest fan, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support. He has made a lot of sacrifices over the past few years – letting me take on a coach, using race trips as “vacations”, putting up with my never-ending triathlon babble, and of course standing outside for hours on end during Ironman. I have attempted 7 and he hasn’t missed one yet! Thank you for all your support Marky Mark. I love you and I couldn’t do this without you!