Ironman Whistler Thoughts

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I started this report with a lot of the usual stuff, but it wasn’t flowing easily and I realized that the actual racing wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. Instead, I want to write about what I learned on Sunday and where I am going from here. So if you landed here hoping to hear about the two-loop swim, the gorgeous but brutal bike course, or the “over the river and through the woods” run course, my report might be a disappointment.

We came home from Whistler late Monday and yesterday I was home alone. I was crying off and on and texting, emailing and tweeting friends of mine. Some I have known for a long time and others I only know through the internet, but all of them are girls who compete and many have been in my shoes.

I was trying to process my feelings about the race and what I am going to do now.  My first reaction was to quit – to give up and throw in the towel.  Sunday was as good as I am – I had a great race – and it still did not feel like it was good enough.  I talked to Mark about returning to running, something that comes easier to me and that I am still reasonably decent at, or even returning to the sport of my youth – tennis.  I’ve thought of selling my bike, quitting my team and closing my social media accounts, which are almost entirely full of tri-related friends and news.  I told my friends that I am not doing Ironman next year or perhaps ever again.

Then a day passed.

In that time, I spun out my legs on my road bike in the rain and went for an easy swim in our neighborhood pool. I started to feel like myself again. I put my bike back together and wiped it clean. I watched Trevor Weurtele’s awards ceremony speech – twice – and cried each time. You should watch it yourself, but in it, he talks about how long he has been in this sport and the sacrifices he and his wife have made to be the best triathletes they can be.  Big victories haven’t come easily for him. Sunday was his first Ironman win.

I cried to Mark that I put everything I had into Sunday’s race and I came up far short of where I wanted to be (about 18 minutes short to be exact). He told me that’s how he always feels. He will likely never see an Ironman podium, but he works harder at improving his swim-bike-run than almost anyone I know.

The bottom line is that I love this sport too much to give up now. I know where I need to get stronger and I have some notions of what it will take to get there. It’s not something that’s going to happen in weeks or even months. I now realize that my progress might be measured in terms of years. I’m not a patient person. I want my results yesterday. But this sport is teaching me that patience and hard work are usually rewarded. And maybe, just maybe, the rewards will be that much greater because I had to work so hard.

I’m not sure when or where I will race again, but I can promise that I will be back out there.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me a kind word in the past few weeks. A special thanks to my husband, who probably saw me more times on Sunday than any other spectator saw their athlete. He’s always there to support whatever crazy dream I come up with – unless the dream involves buying another Ironman Foundation slot.

P.S. It occurred to me that some might be stopping by just wanting to know how I did, so I thought I would save you the trouble of clicking over to Ironman.com.  I had a great day. 1:18 swim (2nd best for me); 6:04 bike, which was 10-15 minutes better than we thought I would ride, and a 3:43 run, which was somewhat of a miracle after 6K of climbing on the bike.

Total time: 11:14:57; 10th in AG.

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