Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ironman 2009 - Looking Back

I am now back at my kitchen table having a coffee and adapting to life post Ironman.
I have no shortage of things to do, but it is always a tough transition from spending all my time in the pool, on the bike or running to sitting at a desk and catching up on all of the things that I need to get done for the start of Human Powered Racing.

Other than a hang over that lasted a couple of days after a night out in Kona on Sunday, I feel pretty good. Too good! Normally it takes me about a week to handle stairs without being sore, but I was out for a ride on Tuesday and felt reasonably OK. The difference in time might only be 20 - 25 minutes, but what it takes to gain that extra time really takes it's toll. I am now trying to figure out why I couldn't get my body to go to that place, or conversely, was it my mind that wasn't letting me dig that deep.

I went into this race knowing that I would need the stars to align properly for me to have a great swim and unfortunately they didn't. Bottom line, I need to swim A LOT week after week and this year I let myself get too busy. Although I had some great workouts throughout the year, the consistency in my swimming wasn't there. I paid with for it with another poor swim in Kona. My 58 minute swim was my undoing. I knew that to improve on what I have done over the past couple of years and twenty something place finishes I would need to get out in the 52 - 55 minute range (depending on the conditions). I didn't and I think that this may have played a big part in my inability to hurt myself last Saturday. I know that I had a fair bit of negative self talk happening and I was out there looking for reasons to drop out, I had none (other than the fact that I wasn't where I wanted to be in the race).

I felt decent on the bike, but with low morale I had a hard time digging deep. I felt off, but again, I think it was more a case of my mind leading my body and not the other way around. I know I was fit and ready going into this one. I was the healthiest I have been going into an Ironman in a long time (this is definitely a positive). Maybe I had a bit more in me had I been in the race, but I can only speculate now.

I started the run conservatively and was clicking off 6:30 miles, but the gaps to the athletes in front of me was huge. I ran pretty much the entire first 9 miles and only caught 3 or 4 guys. Normally, I catch 10 - 15 on this stretch. This wasn't helping morale either. I ran up Palani and saw the HPR gang and then Rachel. I was hoping Rachel would give me the OK to stop, but I knew that was wishful thinking. I still had 16 miles to go and I was looking at the grass on the median of the highway and thinking about taking a nap. It was bloody HOT, I was feeling drained and I still couldn't see many athletes up the road. At this point I was walking some aid stations to get as much ice down my suit as possible. It was at this point that I started to see a number of athletes up the road who were also melting. This gave me some motivation, but I was still not hitting the pace that I was capable of. 6:40's had turned into 7:10's and 7:15's. The sub three hour marathon (and sub 9 hour IM) was falling by the way side and in retrospect I am disappointed in myself for not finding that little be "extra".

Although I am disappointed in my day, I am still proud to have finished and I owe a lot of thanks to all of those that have supported and believed in me over the year(s). And to those that made the trek to Kona to watch, THANK YOU! You guys being there is one of the big reasons I sucked it up and finished.

I will be back!

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