Where Do I Re-start???

I don't even know where to re-start.  Ironman Florida came and went with it's bittersweet story.  It's taken me a while to even want to think about blogging or training, though the goal is still in the back of my mind. Alright.  Maybe not so much the back, but in my mind nonetheless. 

I've started my race report a number of times, but really, there isn't much to say.  Plagued with injury since the March 2014, in one way or another, kept me from really digging in on my running -- and trust me when I say I wanted to run.  I was feeling, dare I say, *good* when I ran.  I wanted to do more and get stronger, I was seeing progress.  By the time November 1st came, the farthest I had run was 10 miles and I couldn't walk for 3 days after. :(

Plantar Fascitis, a torn tendon and Achilles Tendonitis all kept me down.  I got to the point where I was only swimming and aqua jogging for periods of time.  Leading up to IMFL I was not even cycling, in an effort to let my Achilles heal.  No pun intended.

I wasn't giving up on race day, but I did have to realign my goals.  My plan was just to walk/run.  Even if it was just 30 seconds of running at a time I was managing to keep it under a 15 minute mile.  Not what I wanted, but it was the hand I was dealt and I could still finish.  2 weeks before the race I took 2 cortisone shots to my heel in 2 different locations.  I was hoping for a miracle.

Here's the summary of how IMFL went down...
  • My cycling and swim training was solid. I was completely confident.  Running.  Well, I settled for just getting through it and knew it would make for a long day, but that I would finish.
  • The 3 days leading up to the race I was feeling positive despite the pain I was still having just walking around Ironman Village. Looking back, it was getting worse, but I was not giving it any gas by acknowledging how bad it really was.  I was visibly limping, my walking gate was  awkward, in an effort to avoid the pain.
  • The morning of the race there was a rip tide.  The Swim was canceled.  The moment this happened, my eyes welled with tears.  I sucked it up, got right in my head and was the first athlete out of the change tent to await for the TT bike start. 
  • It was ridiculously cold in PCB, 39 degrees race morning and 15-20 mph winds with gusts up to 25.  I heard reports of worse wind on race day, and I do believe it.  
  • The bike was cold and hard. The hardest bike I have ever experienced.  I had a solid ride though, including an awesome rear flat change at mile 106!!!
  • I did shitty with my nutrition on the bike.
  • 112 miles is a long time to think about things. 
Saw Cranky Coach before bike TT start.  He asked here my head was.   I told him I was already contemplating signing up for IMTX, and he KNOWS I don't race in the hot, humid Texas heat or ride big hills (this girl ain't built for climbing!).   CC got this weird look on his face... somewhat contorted.  I thought he was going to make a sarcastic remark, as I would ordinarily expect, but instead he holding back tears.  He told me I ought to think about not doing the run today.

Coach never had to tell anyone to stop living their dream in the middle of living it.  He hated doing so,

He said he knew if I finished that day that a 138.2 was not going to make me happy and in the back of my mind, for me, I would never be an Ironman. He knew it needed to be the full deal for me, or I would not be satisfied... I would not have considered my goal achieved.  There was risk to even walking the run and he did not want to see me do further damage.  Had the swim not been canceled, he would have supported me "just getting through" the run to finish in under 17 hours becaus then, then I would have the 140.6 miles.  I would have achieved my goal.

So he told me, "...just think bout it."

112 miles is long time to "think about it."

We had quite a while to wait for the TT start.  We were all fighting to keep warm.  I found a wooden column that was soaking up the sun and leaned on it for warmth.  On the bench next to me was an obviously older woman.  She was shivering uncontrollably.  I offered her the column to lean against and I sat down.  She began talking to me.

Turns out it was Sister Madonna. I didn't realize it for the first 10 minutes we were chatting... until she mentioned Kona!

We talked for about a 1/2 hour.  She asked about my personal life my training.  She said she thought it was an accomplishment in it of itself to make it to race day as a Mom who is working full time, taking care of family and then training on top of everything.  I  thought to myself, yeah, it's a challenge, but it's not insurmountable, it just takes a village to do it.  I told her the story about my weight loss and how I was able to have skin removal.  She said I was blessed... of course I knew that :)

I spent a portion of the ride beating my self up, feeling bad and pitiful.  I had family and friends there who all supported me.  I was feeling angry, sorry for myself, unsure and like a failure.

I knew I had to snap out of it.  I saw Sister Madonna on the course a few times and our discussion came to mind again.  So through the ride, I really tried to re-frame everything in a positive way.  When I weighed the pros and cons about not doing the Run, the only reasons I came up with for taking the risk included worrying about what others would think!  That's no reason to take the risk.  Instead, I tried to look at all the things the training brought forth. Finally, at mile 106, when I flatted my rear and had to stop to change it with no sag in sight, I relented.  I looked up at the clouds and said, "I get it.  I get it!"  And right there, I decided to turn in my chip after I completed the bike.

As soon as I crossed the dismount line, I took off the chip and handed it to a volunteer.  The volunteer tried to talk me out of quitting.  I just kept walking.  I cried for a little bit, and got changed.  I came out of transition and what is the first thing my Daughter says to me?

"Mommy, I know you are not quitter."

"You'll be back to finish this when you get better, I know you will"

If she believes it, I most certainly do too.  :)

What came out of training...
  • Additional, new, training buddies!  I had some really, great, fun training rides.  Even the riders who rode 20 mph average, wished they rode slower so they could tolerate hanging with us on our fun, themed, rides. 
  • Learned to balance better.  I sacrificed some training to better balance family/work -- I didn't really have a choice, I was somewhat forced into it because of demands, but I played the hand I was dealt and on race day I really did feel.ready.
  • I completed a full Aquabike - 2.4 mile swim and stupid-challenging 112 mile bike at Redman, as part of my training!
  • I did another 112 mile bike on the IMFL course -- now I know what to expect!
  • I finished the IMFL bike, knowing full well, I could have finished the race in under 17 hours. 
  •  I know what kind of effort it takes to feel ready, but next time I want to feel great!
In the days following the race I really just wanted to get healed, and purchase a foundation slot for 2016, at double the cost.  I felt pretty strongly about it until sometime by the end of January when I was being more reasonable. I put together a plan in my mind, so that I could have the kind of race experience that I not only want, but that I deserved!
  • Get to the Podiatrist (Scheduled)
  • Get back to the gym, lifting at least twice a week.  (Done - Training with my old trainer)
  • Get back on eating clean (I have put on 20 lbs. since November 1st!  Crap!!!)
  • Get back to training.  I haven't done squat since November 1st... hence the 20 lbs. 
  • Establish a good base... again.
  • Find that sweet spot between fun and challenging.. really enjoy my training time and races.  Lots of relays and lots of volunteering this year!!!
  • Sign up to volunteer at Florida in 2016 register for 2017
Not only is my family behind me, but my SAP implementation at work is behind me!  SAP alone, will take remove a huge slice crazy that I had to eat this past year.  

Right now I'm on the upswing from feeling fat(ter) and lazy; slowly lifting myself out of this post Ironman let-down, fog, depression... whatever you want to label it.  Right now I can't go anywhere but up, as nothing else is an option. 

I will do this
I am strong.
I have the heart and the desire. 
I am a triathlete.
I will become and Ironman

Get ready 2017 :)


  1. Reading your daughter's words gave me a HUGE lump in my throat. She's a smart kid & knows her mamma. You WILL do this. If you come to IMTX, I will be there to cheer you on. :)


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