Saturday, 22 August 2015

Ironman Lesson and What's Next

So it's been a week, almost and I am ready to move on and put this Ironman to bed.  It was an amazing experience and I am so proud of myself for finishing it.  I figured the best way to end this week of blog posts was to figure out what I learned on Sunday and a few final thoughts.  Here goes...

Sunday was not idea weather conditions, it was really hot and there was a wind, not a cool refreshing wind but a hot wind that added to the furnace feeling on the highway.  I did not account for how the heat would affect my performance on the bike and I did not start cooling myself earlier enough.  I waited until I was already overheating and I could not recover.  Next race when the temperatures are hot I will start using ice and dousing myself with water sooner.

Next race I will wear my watch and my Garmin, I could have saved myself a lot of worrying if I knew what the time was the whole day.  It seems obvious but I spent the day worried I would miss a cut off and I made most with 20 mins to spare.  All that worrying while you are trying to swim, bike or run takes energy away from doing what you are meant to be doing.

I need to be more focused in my training for my needs.  I trusted my training plan even though I knew it was not giving me what I needed. My biggest worry was making the bike cut-off and it turns out I was right.  I need to focus on my cycling this winter to become faster and stronger and more consistent.  I also want to focus on my swimming, again speeding up and swimming straighter.  I swam 400m more than I needed too and it cost me 10 extra minutes, minutes I could have used on the run at the end of the night.

This was a crazy big goal and one I probably had no business setting, I am not fast in any of the parts of a triathlon.  I needed to set this goal, to prove to myself I  was an athlete.  It might sound silly but when you start from where I started, you constantly push yourself to see how far you can go until you break.  Well I almost broke on Sunday and it was a scary day.  I can't say I enjoyed myself all day, I was chasing cut-offs, worrying about stuff and I was so hot.  I saw a clip on the Ironman coverage from Sunday that explains why we do it, it spoke to me.

With the support of my friends and with midnight looming I managed to run my last 5k as my fastest of the whole marathon.  After 16 hours and 15 mins of swimming, biking and running I found the ability to push my body faster then I thought was possible.  I keep saying 2 mins before is better the 2 mins after and just keep moving, over and over and over.  I was not going to stop until I had it done, I wanted too, a lot but I know the pain of missing the cut off would be far worse then the pain I was in at that moment.  I had planned on wearing a t-shirt given to me by Ray Zahab for the finish, I wore it tied around my waist the whole second loop.  In the end I did not have time to put it on but his most famous quote applied to that last 5k and it is one I will remember forever.

When I signed up last August I had no idea that my day would unfold as it did.  If I did would I have still signed up, sure because I was there to prove something to myself and I did.  I proved that I am tougher then I thought, more determined then I give myself credit for sometimes and that the fear of failure is still so powerful and that I will push myself to the extreme not to feel it.

So now I am training for a marathon in November, Space Coast marathon in Coco Beach.  I am there running with Kate for her first marathon and I think I have my work cut out for me, she is an awesome runner.  I have a few races in September and October that I will treat as training runs, running them with friends for fun is the goal for these races.

People are already asking me if I will do another Ironman and the answer is maybe.  I need to get faster first and over the winter I will focus on my swimming and biking.  I will have a few running races in the Spring and then a few triathlons in the summer, I am still figuring that part out.  We will volunteer at IMMT next year and if I feel like I have improved enough I might consider a do-over for 2017 but I am not sure.  Becoming and Ironman was the hardest thing I have ever done and just like after child birth I need time for the pain to become a foggy memory before I decide to do it again.

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