Ironman World Championships
It took me a little while to write up this recap on the Ironman World Championship. Partly because I was enjoying some relax time with my family, and partly because I really wanted some time to reflect on the race. I thought I had a lot of emotions going into the race, but this was nothing compared to after the race. I was happy, disappointed and mad all at the same time. I had the best swim I could have possibly hoped for, coming out with some of the contenders for the win. I was riding with these girls until my bike decided to stop shifting properly, and then my race went downhill from there. Here’s a look at the details:
Going into this race, I had arguably one of the best training blocks I have ever had, showing solid gains in swimming and running. I made some small nutritional changes and was feeling super fit and strong. I kept the days leading up to the race as simple as possible and really felt I was in a good position to aim for a top 10 finish.
I checked in my bike early in Friday so I could rest and relax for the rest of the day. I knew they were calling for some rain overnight but didn’t think much of it. Well… I woke up around 2:30am to what sounded like a raging river. All I could think about was my bike and my shifting not being covered up. When I got to transition it had stopped raining but everything was soaked. I dried my bike off and prepped it for the day. Everything seemed to be working just fine so my stresses went away. I had lots of time and made my way over to the swim start area.
I got in when we were allowed to, did a short warm up and watched the men take off. I wasn’t too sure where to place myself on the start line but I opted to start on the outside. I honestly haven’t really noticed a difference with placement on the start line…. It’s just whose feet I can hang on to! When the gun went off, I quickly found some feet and settled into a group that pulled away from the back pack. I was by no means in the front with Lucy, but I was hopeful I was in a good position. I felt calm and relaxed and just concentrated on staying with that group. I was excited when I came out of the water and saw 58min on the clock! I was even more excited when I saw Daniela, Rinny, Lindsey, and Heather all heading out just in front of me! Mentally this put me in a great place! I knew if I could be patient and stay with these girls for the first portion of the bike and then do my work in the last half that my top ten goal might not have been so unrealistic after all!
The first section on the Kuakini HWY was crazy as we were all scrambling to find the right spot and stay out of the draft zone. This settled down when we got out onto the Queen K, and I was riding right where I wanted to be. Then about 30-40km in, all of a sudden when I tried to shift my rear derailleur, my front derailleur kept shifting back and forth and the rear wouldn’t move at all. I pulled over and frantically tried to fix whatever was going on. I swapped the batteries around and it seemed to work. I hopped back on my bike, but by this time I had lost at least a couple minutes and that group was gone. I knew I was going to have to work hard to catch back up to them. I rode for about 10min when the shifting gave out again. I was devastated. I unplugged everything, swapped out batteries….. nothing was working. I was in tears, thinking my day was done. Tech support showed up a couple minutes later and after trying a few things, determined that my blip box was “contaminated” from the rainstorm the night before. The only option I had was to try to disconnect the front derailleur and hope that the rear would work. We got the front into the big chain ring, took the battery out and unplugged the cables. This seemed to work, and I rode off. I had pretty much covered myself for every situation except this one….. of course! Thankfully there was barely any wind at the Hawi end, and at this point I was able to see where I was sitting. I was surprised to see how much time I had lost and knew that I had a very slim chance of catching any of those girls without totally blowing up. Nonetheless, I came here for a reason… to race, have fun, and put my best effort out there. I knew that top ten was not a reality now. This was painful to swallow, but I didn’t come all this way to quit. Just had to shift my thinking. This was now a race to gain experience from…. Not a podium. I managed to catch a couple girls in the last part of the bike but it wouldn’t be enough unless I could run a 3 hour marathon.
When I started the run, I didn’t feel fantastic, but I didn’t feel horrible. I thought I might be able to pull off a half decent run. It was hot, and I was doing everything I could to stay cool. Things were going alright until the energy lab when the heat and my bike efforts caught up to me. My stomach had gotten sloshy and once I threw up, I actually felt better. Unfortunately reality was that I was going to have to finish the marathon on empty. I was so thirsty that I just continued to drink, hold it in as long as possible and then throw up. I realize that it would have probably been smart to quit, but I couldn’t. I had been in the same situation a couple years ago and made it through the race, so I wanted to tough this one out if I could. I ran as much as I could and walked through aid station to get ice and calm my heart rate down. It worked enough to get me to the finish line. I finished in 9:27 which was good enough for 25th place. I was happy I made it through but overall disappointed in how the day finished. It is the one downside of this sport. It just takes one thing during the race, whether it’s a bad decision or something that’s beyond your control, to ruin the day.
I have learned a lot in this sport. Many people look at triathlon, Ironman in particular, as a selfish sport and sometimes this is true depending on the person. What many people don’t see is the teamwork that it takes to get that one person to the start line. I wouldn’t be able to do this sport without the help of my family, friends, sponsors and coach. Whether it’s helping with childcare, supporting me for long rides, cooking meals and helping with housework, the emotional support when I’m having a bad day, providing me with my gear, or the countless coaching hours invested in me to help me achieve my dreams. These are the people in my life that make my dreams a reality. Because of that, it was those people that I thought about during the race, and how much work they had done to get me there. It was a hard day, but these guys helped motivate me to finish what I started. There will always be another race, and hopefully always another Kona. Next time I will be stronger and smarter, and hopefully no mechanicals:)
For now, its recovery time as IMAZ is coming up in less than 4 weeks!!
Thank you once again to my family, friends, coach and sponsors: Felt Bicycles, F2C nutrition, Skechers Performance Canada, Swagman Racks, EnergyLab, Velofix, BlueSeventy, Pioneer, Wattie Ink, Podium Imports, The Bike Barn, Nuvista Chiropractic and Wellness, Zizu Optics, and JonnyOcoaching.