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Ironman St. George: Going The Distance

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Ironman St. George: Going The Distance

Before the gun went off on Saturday morning, never in my wildest dreams did I think the outcome of the day would be turn out as it did…Ironman hurts and this one was no exception to the rule.  This time around, the swim hurt, the bike hurt, and then to come into the bike to run transition to find out how far behind the leaders I was hurt doubly hard!  As I sat and changed into my run shoes, I thought, Sh#t, game over!”.  I will spare you the details of the ups and downs I had during the swim and bike because  frankly, who really cares to read the details of how someone got their arse kicked as I did??  I contemplated dropping out but I knew I would be in deep sh#t with The Doc if I did not do the run! Then I thought about the athletes I coach and the message it would send to them if I quit!  So I began the run and started to think about the upcoming Ironman France and the fact that even if I ran slowly I would come out fitter from doing the run rather than calling it a day and feeling sorry for myself because it didn’t go to plan.  I also took into consideration that it was well into the 90s by the time I started to run and that would be how hot it will be in Nice so even more reason to carry on, for the training!

I jogged/walked the first 5kms while taking in fluids.  At 10kms I was playing tricks with my mind in order to keep going when suddenly Declan , a good friend of Team TBB and also our housemate for the weekend came jogging past me, encouraging me on.  I watched him run away up a hill and thought, “If I can hook up with Declan I might start to come right”.   I took in some coke and started to chase.  It took a few minutes but I caught up and told him I would try my best to keep pace and help him as he was attempting to gain his coveted “Kona Slot”.  So we carried on together and a few kms later I started to feel a bit better, my hips and back hurt quite a bit but I was able to handle the pace.  As we made the turn out onto the second loop there was no turning back now so I pushed Declan along, he was super tough out there as the last 10 miles were very hard on him.  Coming into the last few kms we passed one of my athletes Jill who was finishing her first loop of the run.  She was in good spirits and seemed to be going great!   I was very happy for her as she has had her fare share of dramas in the weeks leading up to the race.  She was holding onto 3rd place in her age group and was also in position to gain a slot to Kona.

Coming into the finish I was pleased for Declan as he nailed it with a 4th place in the age group!  I walked away feeling a bit sore but not overly tired!  I guess the run worked the bike out of me?  I don’t know why I felt so terrible out there while riding, it had been 6 months since my last race and it did cross my mind that I might feel a bit stale but I was confident it wouldn’t affect me!  This was my 7th completed Ironman and with each one I continue to learn and gain strength.  I have a similar feeling of disappointment as I did last year when I did this race and struggled then tool!  I know I am heaps stronger than I was 12 months ago and I think my improved swim and bike splits comparative to last year prove that but now is not the time to dwell as the season has begun and it is time to look towards the next one as its just 8 weeks away!  Huge huge congrats to Jill and Declan for both qualifying for the Hawaii Ironman!!!  As for me, its a few short weeks home here at the Jersey Shore, then off to Switzerland for much of the summer…