Disclaimer: As you may know, my blog is raw. Meaning you get the real me. Often times it is not PC…but that wouldn’t make it as interesting or real. You are free to agree or disagree. To like it, love it, or hate it. But I hope at least you draw something meaningful and worthwhile out of it.
This race was the end of the beginning. I’ve been racing in the 18-24 age group since I started the sport at 19. A friend asked me the other day “when the heck are you going to be 25?” I responded “never, I’m Peter Pan” hehe.
But, alas, I would indeed age up next year. The countless times I’ve heard that I shine because of the category I’m in are humoring. I’d venture to say 9/10 times I race I still would’ve podiumed across all age groups.
This World Championship confirmed that, as I came 11th female Amateur and 32nd F overall. In 25-29 I would’ve been 2nd. Actually given my 2min to break 10hrs, I would’ve loved to have been in 25-29…I’ll explain why further down this post.
As with most things, there’s a huge build up- external as well as internal (within ourselves), and suddenly in a blink it’s gone and you’re only as good as your last result.
4 years ago I never would’ve imagined I would just now be turning pro. With a few good results at the start, I figured it would be no time at all before I saw magnificent gains- enough to take that leap on solid ground. Often I’ve found myself in ruts of injury, frustration, accidents, being above the weight I know I would race best at, etc. However, it happens to all of us, and as a strong believer that everything works out for a reason, at the bare minimum to teach us something, I sit here without regrets, without an ounce of pity for myself, and with raging motivation and excitement for what the future holds.
Despite not reaching my ultimate goal this past weekend, I know sub 10, actually sub 9:50 was in me- and that, not the AG win, is exactly why I’m seeking Pro status. To extract that absolute magic race where your absolute potential comes out though, is few and far between. That’s why in retrospect it’s easy to beat yourself up because only hindsight shows us where those tiny but significant obstacles throughout the day (mental or physical) weren’t surpassed.
Having said that, of course I am proud of my accomplishment Saturday. Starting around April I fixed myself to set up a solid race in Hawaii and it came through. As in Vineman, where I had a good Half, I won’t let myself dwell on an instance of success for long.
Those 2min remain to be eliminated and so I’m working on getting into Ironman Cozumel to kick off my first Pro race in my own country. After that, no more Ironman- just numerous Olympics, and 70.3’s next year to try and qualify for Vegas Worlds Sept 2012.
To get my arse kicked badly and be a tiny fish in a sea full of sharks is what I’m most looking forward to. If I get last, if I wander around the middle, or if I podium or happen to win an event, it will all be a huge learning process the first year. But being forced to dig deeper by being in the back is what I yearn for the most. That is what I meant by wishing I was in 25-29 this past weekend. At some point in that marathon, our mind looks for any chance to rationalize and get relief from the pain. I wish I had been in 2nd chasing first. It was around mile 12 having just come off the slight downhill from the top of Palani heading to the Energy Lab that the fatigue was taking toll mentally more than physically and I let the thought of “well at least you have the AG win” creep in. That very moment is when I lost the sub 10- not when my coach was screaming to pick it up the last 4miles. I chose to settle instead of digging for what was still left inside.
I arrived in Kona Sept 17th to stay and train with my friend Brooke for our last key sessions. We had a really good time and some eye opening experiences such as riding the whole course without aid stations and other people. I had never done that and it forced me to analyze the course as it affects me, personally, and break the sections down visualizing exactly how I wanted to feel in each and what I would tell myself if I had a lull during that time.
The day before I left for Hawaii I went to see Dan Selstad- ART magician- for an emergency hamstring/adductor that I strained the week before. Someone please find out why a lot of us spend the whole year injury and sickness free only to have anything that can pop up do so before Kona!
Anyway, I spent a good deal of time icing, getting more ART, and worrying about it acting up during the marathon. These are the things that live in all of our heads before a race and that you only share with others after, and discover that you’re not alone and the universe isn’t conspiring to ruin your race ;) It’s just peaking/paranoia.
Adding to that was a hell of a wasp sting that left me itchy and swollen on my left quad for 4 days the week before the race.
The final blow was getting sick on Tuesday before the race. I woke up with a very sore throat, and thankfully started OD’ing on Vit C, Echinacea, Zinc, Oregano Oil, you name it, so it cleared by Friday. That was actually a blessing because it forced me to stay sequestered in my condo instead of parading around town.
I swam the course twice leading into the race. We were in a small group and nailing 1:02ish cruising. I was certain I would swim less than an hour. My swim was feeling the best it’s ever felt. But, typical Kona, even the swim conditions can vary your time GREATLY.
So I opted to line up further to the right nearly on the sea wall- instead of my usual spot near the Ford sign. It was me amongst a group of big dudes fighting for the very front of the line. Gun goes off and BOOM I am getting smacked in every direction and sunk to the ocean floor. I was hoping my eye was punched black so I’d at least look cool the rest of the day, but no luck.
I still felt like I was swimming well and when I exited the water I swear I head Mike Riley say “we are 55min into the Ironman” and I continued throughout the bike thinking I had just crushed the swim and feeling like a rockstar….little did I know I swam 1:05 HAHA. Classic.
Onto the bike I just rode hard and made sure to stay confident on the sections I knew were the toughest on me mentally- namely Mauna Kea resort to the Vet’s Cemetery. Well, telling myself over and over that this was MY section worked. The whole bike I felt good- never over riding, just solidly and fluidly pedaling along.
I was stoked to come into T2 breaking 5:30 for the bike, and was more than ready to throw on my run shorts… especially because (warning!) it was that lovely time of the month for me. Thus, T2 took a bit longer to get all set to run…..2min longer?? Haha
The run felt sooooooo easy the first 5k. I was cruising 6:55’s and here’s a perfect example of an amateur mistake: thinking “no that’s too fast, roughly a 3hr marathon, doesn’t make sense”. That should not have entered my head. I look back at that and want to slap myself for not having the guts to say “yes! 3ish pace, perfect! hold it till you can’t. there’s no reason at all you are not capable of that”. Maybe I would’ve still netted a 3:22, but maybe telling myself to hold it longer would’ve cut off, oh I dunno, 2min….
Still I kept a good clip until an intense side stitch slowed me down to almost a walk at mile 4. I dug my hand into my rib cage as hard as I could and either that or just time made it go away by mile 6. Palani sucked I was shivering and really feeling weak. However, I was on top of my salt, and taking in gels on a consistent basis- better than any IM. Palani to mile 12 was great, that slight downhill got my turnover going and I was getting a second wind.
Then came another dose of weak sauce: at the light before the Marina looking at the stretch to the Energy Lab I allowed myself to think. I allowed myself to contemplate the “endless stretch of road to the energy lab”. My mind told my body it was a long ass way and so it was ok to slow things down a bit. WTF?! WHY? Didn’t a want sub 10 sooo bad? Didn’t I know I could be well under that? …..No, see I had my AG win even if I just took down a notch. This is why athletes shouldn’t think when they race. It should be from the heart. My heart would never have settled.
Mile 15 like just before making the left to the Lab, I got myself out of the retardedness and picked it up again and fought for more pain. Bring it!
Out of the ELab to mile 23 I was all heart but my legs were just done. I tried to “pick it up” but I couldn’t enough. Once I started down Palani I was hurting. I knew 10hrs had passed but I just ran as fast as I could while trying to soak up my last stretch of the amazing Alii cheers for a couple of years. It was very emotional for me and awesome at the same time.
I crossed DONE.