Our day started yesterday at 3:30am. We awoke to freezing cold temperatures, thunder, lightning and rain. This was not my idea of a fun! I hate riding when I am cold and wet….and I especially hate swimming when the waves in the ocean are swallowing me up! But I took it all in stride. I ate my Ironamn breakfast of rice and peanut butter scoops and started preparing all of my stuff for the day.
Michael and I got to the race venue at 4:45am (6am start), only to find out (to my relief), that the race had been postponed for 30 minutes. They wanted to make sure that the lightning had stopped before people started getting in the water….GOOD THING!!
Ironman Australia’s start was like no other start I had ever been to. We listened to the Australian anthem and there was some sort of plane show that was really cool before the cannon shot off.
Before the start, I place myself with Angela Miln. She has been the race series half-ironman winner this past season in Australia. She is an incredible athlete and a really nice girl. We really seemed to bond over the past few days when we were doing press conference stuff and different appearance stuff. I knew that she was the one to beat and that she would be incredibly tough on race day.
After the cannon went off, I tried to swim as fast and furious as I possibly could, but there was just nothing there. It was almost like I was out there during a easy day of training. I just couldn’t get my arms to move. Usually when I race, I am so fired up and my blood is pumping so hard that I am able to swim really hard for at least 3/4 of the swim before I blow. But it felt like I was blown from the very start of it all. I figured that it was ok though. I just kept working as hard as my body would allow and I hoped that I would come around on the bike.
Unfortunatley, my bike was even more miserable than my swim…my little legs had no power. It seemed as though every pedal stroke was sheer pain. The wind was blowing hard, and I tried to embrace it and get angry so that I could ride harder, but it was to no avail. Girl after girl passed me and there was nothing I could do. There was just nothing in my legs. My new friend from germany, Imka, tried to help me along and I tried to ride with her for a bit, but my legs wouldn’t let me. I just kept up with my nutrition and kept plugging away. I thought to myself that a few girls would crumble on the run and that I could possibly make up some time there.
I came into transition, and unlike any other time in there, I took my time. I filled my bottle with water, used the toilet, put sunscreen on and tried to gather myself for the run ahead. I had a feeling that if my run was going to go the way that my swim and bike did, then I might be out there a long time. Not finshing was not a option, no matter how badly I felt. And I knew that if I had any chance of running quick, I had better take care of myself now.
I started the run eager to go fast, but again, it just wasn’t there. Every mile was increasingly slower. During a race, your goals change all of the time. My goal to run with quick feet and to try to run strong quicky changed to “just make it to the next aid station”. I was able to do that and I was happy that I was able to do it.
I learned a lot about myself during the race. Number 1, is that I am not a quitter. I am a very determined person. And even though the race wasn’t going my way, I kept pluging away. Number 2 is that I will never take finishing for granted ever again. Finishing a ironman, no matter how fast or slow, is still an accomplishment in itself. A lot of people forget this and just drop out because they aren’t in it any more. Well, I was one of the race favorites and I wasn’t in it from the swim. I wish I had know this last year when I had a tough go at Hawaii last year. I had the same exact thing happen to me the entire day. I was flat and felt terrible the whole day. I was completely devastated. A lot of people said “well, at least you finished”. And for me, at that time, that phrase pissed me off. I had always finished a race before that. It wasn’t until I raced and DNF’d Wisconsin that I knew that not finishing sometimes happens.
And finally Number 3, I am the kind of athlete that either is totally ON or totally OFF. Sometimes, I see girls race that have a 10 minutes spread of their marathon/bike times even when they have a bad race. Well, I have a 40 minute spread!
Despite a slow effort, I still accomplished 2 of my goals: Number 1, to finish. Number 2, to have fun! I had a great time out there. The Aussies are Awesome! Their were so many spectators out there supporting the race. I even had a marriage proposal!:) Plus I met a lot of cool girls at this race. I just love my new friend Imka and Angela Milne is incredibly inspriational. I hope to stay in contact with them next year!
Anyway, thanks to all of my sponsors, American Interbanc, Splish, Inside Out Sports, Javelin, Boulder Running Company, and Powerbar for all of your support this year.
I will keep on updating my blog detailing all of my training and stuff for the rest of the year.
In the meantime, Michael and I are looking forward to sheep shearing today and the rest of our vacation in Australia!
WE will be back in Boulder December 8th!!
Thanks for reading!