Last Thursday, I drove to Arizona for the last North American IM race of the season. After Hawaii, I had been contemplating doing another IM to end the season, and with Arizona only 5 hours drive from San Diego, it was too hard to turn down.
The pro field for Arizona was one of the biggest of the year, outside of Hawaii. Almost 90 pros were on the start line for the 1 loop swim in Tempe Town Lake. Well, I’ve been saying it all year, and I really mean it now – it’s time for me to take some boxing lessons! Two seconds after the gun went off, I got nailed in the head (resulting in a black eye), and 2 seconds later, I got nailed again and my goggles disappeared. It was a good thing I had lasix surgery a year ago or I’d probably still be in there yelling ‘marco-polo’, trying to find my way out.;-) Anyway, after round 1 of the boxing match, I settled into a rhythm, had a couple of good swimmers on my breathing side to sight off of, and came out of the water in 3rd place for the pro women.
The bike course was 3 x 60km loops – a gradual uphill into a headwind for the first 30km, then a faster 30km back into town. It was actually pretty cold race morning and didn’t warm up until about 10am. I had planned to eat/drink my usual amount of calories per hour, but because it was colder than I expected, I wasn’t drinking as much, and switched to eating every 15min instead of 20. But typical of the desert, by 10am, it was warming up pretty quickly, and I was very happy not to be melting under an aero helmet. About 30km from the finish, my front wheel started to feel a bit soft, but luckily not bad enough to stop (later when I got my bike out of transition, it was definitely flat – very happy it didn’t go all the way down while I was riding!). I came off the bike in 5th place, feeling like I had one of my better IM bike rides, but knowing I still have some work to do for next year.
So, coming off the bike, I had some decisions to make. Prior to Hawaii, I had been having some pain on the inside of my calf, and about 2 weeks before Arizona, it got worse and I wasn’t able to run. I kept thinking that with the rest, it would get better and a 2 week run taper wasn’t so bad. During the swim-bike run transition, my calf wasn’t feeling the best (I had some shoes at the swim exit, but they ended up in lost and found?!). However, I still felt that if I didn’t at least attempt to start the marathon, I wouldn’t know for sure if my calf could handle it. Well, a few minutes of running and I had my answer. I went to the med tent to get some ice, and the doctor confirmed that I have a tear in my calf muscle. Not great news, but if there’s ever a ‘good’ time to have an injury, it’s the off-season.
So, although not happy to DNF, I had a good hard swim/bike workout, and like after all races, I’m excited to start planning for my next one.:) Next up, a trip back to Canada on Thursday…time to dig out the winter clothes.;-)