Sunday morning I was headed back to Las Vegas with my sister and brother in law where we would spend the next 3 days doing some normal things like site seeing, gambling, and relaxing at the pool. After meeting several people following the race and trying to explain to them that I was not happy with my 18th place and especially a 5:34 bike split…I turned to my sister and asked if it was snobish to tell people that I finished 18th and had a great run but was still miserable. As usual my sister gave me the best advice. She said, “Just tell them that you are proud of your finish and you had your best run yet, however you are disappointed in your overall race…” Perfect…That pretty much sums up my day!!!
Headed into the race my good friend and former coach Brian Shea of Personal Best Nutrition asked what I was hoping for last Saturday. My response was pretty simple, “I just want to finish that marathon and not feel like it was the hardest thing i have ever done…I want to run, not walk/jog/walk/jog!!” This has been my biggest obstical since coming back to triathlon. I knew I was pretty fit and the strongest I have ever been so there was no reason why I should not have one of the fastest runs of the day..
The insturctions from Doc were simple, this is another training exercise in prepearation for more races to come later in the year. I am not afraid of saying that my goal in Ironman France is to go over 1 hour faster than I did last year…
I will not deny that prerace I was scared of the forecast, rain/cold/wind…My 3 least favorite things. I knew this was a possibly coming to this rac in May. I understood that we would see either heat or cold and I respected that so I was not mad… As the race approached the forecast got better and better.
The swim was cold but nothing like I thought it would be. It was my error to let the pack go, right from the gun I just laid it up..F- It I will swim by myself, I thought. But as we turned toward the last 2k, the wind picked up and the cold got to me. I swam a good 5mins slower than I know I am capable of doing… An hour and two minutes, “F#ck Forget it, you are animal..Unleash it in the last 3 hours on the bike!!!” This was James’ advice to me in the days before the race and I took it to heart.
The first few minutes were cold but I was so glad to be out of the water and no longer had a head ache or nautia that I warmed up quite a bit. After 30mins I rode by my sister, stopped and gave her my vest. Now… the bike course was tough…It was no joke and we needed a race like this in the U.S. It was 2 loops with over 30miles of climbing but it wasn’t the climbing that was tough, it was the combination of the wind and crap road surface that made it so challenging. I moved up the field nicely during the first 3 hours and even at the start of the second loop I was smiling and felt good. I don’t know how to explain what happened but after about 3 hours on the bike it felt like I hadn’t been on my bike in months. What I consumed in the days leading up to and during the race will be addressed…
Photo Taken By Jay Prahsuhn (Donna's Other Half)
Towards the end of the bike we came towards town and I was starving, I passed Heather and Jimmy and told them I needed food, a hotdog, a donut, anything.. I was convinced my day was over. Coming into transition my goal was to make it to 10k of the run then shut it down. “It’s o.k. you had a solid day of training”, this is what was going thru my head. Onto the run I started on the coke immediately. The first 3 miles were all uphill with the most challenging portion coming from miles 3-4. After the first few miles I found myself feeling pretty good. I passed Donna’s husband Jay around 10k and I said to him that I was having a long day but…..It’s IRONMAN!!!” So I contiuned on.
Towards the end of the first loop I ran past an age group athlete who was running with 2 of his mates, it was clear that this man had a crash and broke something as his shoulder was in a sling. “How can you quit if this guys is running with a brokern collar bone?”
What goes up must come down, last 3miles of the run are downhill and I really started flying. ” I am going to run as hard as I can and salvage this day!!? I thought. I passed Heather and Jimmy at mile 11 and gave them a thumbs up, “I am finally running!!” I told them. Thru the half mark I made the turn and didn’t even think twice…Keep hammering!!! When I finally got to mile 20 I realized that I had a shot of having my fastest marthon in an Ironman to date. You could see the smile on my face…”How am I having such a good run, when 2 hours ago I thought I couldn’t go anymore???” One more hill, up and over I went… With a mile to go I could feel my eyes starting to well up, “I finally proved to myself that I can run off the bike!!” I never gave up, all day… I was so proud of myself. It didn’t go well out there on the bike and I know I should have riddenmuch, much faster but I didn’t have a pity party… I kept fighting and that provedmore to me than anything I have done in training or racing in the last 3 years… If I would have dropped out I would sitting here still wondering if I was ever going to figure out the run Instead I now know I can do it and have my head held high looking forward to the rest of the year!!
Photo taken by Jay Prasuhn
Crossing the finish line I slapped my hands together in frustration but also in anticipation for whats to come. ” I could have kept going”, I thought. These are all good signs!! The animal was never unleashed on the bike but I know it’s there, deep inside, ready to come roaring out!!!
Overall St. George was a great experience and I recommend this race to anyone… At first I thought I would never to this race again but it defines Ironman. It’s not easy, it’s hard as nails, and it takes a hard person to tackle this event. It’s not Ironman Florida or Lousiville, its the real deal and I love it for that. Ironman takes alot of sacrifice to prepare for so it was great to able to go to Las Vegas and relax for a few day!
Big thank you to my homestay, the Flanagans, to my sis and brother in law for making the trip and showing The Wongstar and I Las Vegas. Oh and Thanks to Ran for taking us all to the adult pool at the Mandaly Bay!!!
Sponsors and Supporters: The Bike Boutique, Cervelo, Avia, Louis Garneau, 3T, Blueseventy, Token, ISM Seat, Personal Best Nutrition, Hawk Racing, Sandyhookers Triathlon Club, The JT Foundation, and The Doctors at Advanced Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute