I came into Ironman Florida with a little bit more attention than I had before, or so I felt. I got a few mentions in Ironman pre-race articles, and got to be a part of the pro panel before the race.
Leading to the race, I was swimming great in the pool (for me). Last time I was swimming this fast, I swam 51 minutes at Arizona ’06, and was not too far from the front of the race. With that in mind, I had high hopes for this swim. But that wasn’t to be, the water was really rough, and 200 meters into the swim, I found myself in desperation mode. I was trying to sprint myself onto the back of the quickly dissapearing front group. As they swam into the waves and out of sight, I had no choice but to settled in.
I had many opportunities to hop on with other swimmers. Like when Blake, and Justin came up on me late in the 1st loop. I tried to hop on with them. But they just pulled away, I sat right on the feet, but lost them so easily. Into the second loop I was hurting…people just kept swimming by, and I could do nothing to hop on their feet. By the end of the 2nd loop, my focus was on a solo race. I thought, “Okay today, I’ll ride my own pace, and not worry about staying in any bike groups, b/c I’ll be alone” “Save it for the run” I rememberd Max Longree, and how far back he was on the swim at Louisville last year. He went by me late in the bike ride, looking strong b/c he paced the bike so well, and just demolished everyone on the run to take the win…I was hoping for this.
Once on the bike, I was optimistic and enjoying the ride. I thought I was riding fast. I thought I had ridden through all the women, but about mile 40 I finally passed the lead women, it was a bit of a blow to the ego, to pass her so late in the ride. Then an age group athlete road up on me, and it really was getting to me now. “this guy has a job, a family, kids…and he has already made up ten minutes on me!!” I don’t know why, but it really got to me out there, like never befoer. A group rode up on me, including two women, and I could not go with them, unless I wanted to cheat and sit on the wheel, like half the group was doing anyways…but I didn’t want to do that.
Once I got to the bike out and back section, it happened, I saw the lead the the first 15-20 guys had on me…it went straight to my head, and I was done for. I lost all power, motivation, and heart at that moment. I felt so embarrased to be where I was, and at that point was riding to turn in my chip…and save it for Powerman Florida in a month’s time. I’ll get myself up for that race, and end of season assess where I am at. I know I have something more in me, I may just need a break and a re-organization of my life.