Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Don't ask me how my race was.
Why Am I Not Disappointed? This is the question I kept asking myself after IM Louisville. I had missed my goal time by 20 minutes ? what went wrong and why didn't I care more? Training had been great. I am the most happy when I?m training ? so for 6 months of the year I feel great, and for the other 6 months I look forward to feeling great again later ? this is kind of creepy. I have a weight problem (upwards of 200 lbs on a 5?4? frame at my heaviest) ? which I am only able to keep in check by either incredible diet vigilance or massive amounts of training. Diet vigilance is depressing. I can?t describe how good it feels to someone who was at one time so out of shape they could not pull their child up a hill in a sled ? to be able to do an Ironman. I can?t begin to tell you how if feels to me to ride my bike to Jamestown, or to work, or to Cheyenne. The feeling of screaming downhill with your BFF (thank you Jennifer) right behind you on a warm summer day ? there is nothing like it! Swimming in a lake at sunrise ? running like a horse on a long trot?to me are some of the most intense pleasures in life. So why do an Ironman? Why not just train all the time? Hmmmm?.because its not the same?.even I need the voice in the back of my head that says ? ?get up now and go to masters ? THIS IS IRONMAN, THIS IS NO FOOLING AROUND!?
So we did the training, with fantastic teammates and coaches. We did a road trip. We suffered, teased and shared our most intimate secrets. (Lots of time for this on an 18 mile run).
Race time ? what an experience. This was my third Ironman. Each experience is different. The fist one was absolute elation because I finished, the second one was absolute elation because I got faster, the third was just elation, why??but I?m ahead of myself, one thing about Ironman is that stuff is going to happen, it?s just how you deal with it that matters.
Fly to Kentucky ? this was fantastic, I was not nervous at all this time. No doubts about my physical ability to finish. Enjoyed all the pre-race prep, all the energy, all the hype, in fact I kept running into Scott in the Expo when I was supposed to be ?relaxing?. Loved the pre-race swims and both dinners. Had a great time doing Jennifer?s hair, writing really lame song lyrics in the middle of the night, and being proposed to by men on the street (twice in one day ? not too bad for a prior fat girl in her 40s).
Race morning ? got in line with all our teammates, this was a riot because the race organizers had neglected to have the sprinklers turned off, so in order to stay dry the guys picked up a blue room and moved it to block a sprinkler, the water pressure was quite strong so we though we were under attack every 45 seconds or so. The sun came up, the seconds ticked off, we jumped in the river. My swim went according to plan. I stayed out of traffic, drafted when it was convenient and moved out into the channel a bit for the down current. I came out of the water almost exactly when I predicted I would. Ran to the tent, put on socks, shoes, glasses, and helmet. Ran out and on to the bike, completely missing the sunscreen. About ? mile into the bike my eyes began to itch and I began to sneeze, also my nose was running incessantly. This lasted for about an hour ? I think I was allergic to something in the river. Started to see the F4 men as they caught up to me. This was great. Saw Scott, Jen and Lida twice ? a nice lift both times. Borrowed some sunscreen, ate and drank according to plan. Had a very hard time using my power meter on the hilly course as the watts numbers were all over the place ? in retrospect I rode too conservatively. On the way back into town I got cramps in both my feet, incredibly painful ? I just pushed through it as I knew I was almost done. I know I usually get these on the bike if I stay on one foot too long when coasting down hill ? I must have lost focus and forgot to keep even pressure on my feet when coasting. Bike time was off goal by about 16 minutes.
Into transition ? my feet were still cramped as I hobbled to get my bag, Fiona (Jennifer?s daughter) was there ? how nice to see a familiar face. By the time I changed my feet were back to normal. Strapped on my Garmin ? Low Battery ? not sure how that happened since I had charged it right before putting it into the bag ? oh well. Started on the run, I had decided earlier (after many, many bouts of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in races and on long training runs) that I would not consume anything that didn?t sound good. I drank water, ate oranges, grapes, bananas and a couple of cookies ? I never felt sick. So that was a huge positive thing to learn. I did feel sore though and very tight hamstrings kept my pace to a very slow jog. I think this was because I had spent nearly the whole bike ride in my areobars, and the position was somewhat new to me, having got a new bike as a surprise barely a month before the race. OPR (other people?s relatives) were all around the course and had the kindness to cheer for me ? they can?t imagine what an uplifting feeling that is. Also my other BFF Corinna was on the course ? this is the first time I have raced without her, and she seemed to show up at just the right moments when mental and physical torment were about to take over. My pace was slow but steady, the fastest I could manage. Lida was very encouraging as I got close to the finish. As I came into town the lights and the crowd and Scott and Jen at the finish were all too overwhelming, I was ecstatic. My time was crappy (off by about 12 minutes on the run), I didn?t care?
The next morning at breakfast I was wondering why I wasn?t more disappointed, when Scott said ?I know why? I was thinking of all the positive things he would say about my race, all the things I learned, all the ways I would be better next time?.but instead he said ?You?re not about the race, you?re about the other 364 days of the year?. Of course he nailed it?.so? don?t ask me how my race was. The race is just an excuse to train.
See you next year, and maybe someday Kona ? by lottery or by ageing, I hope to get there.