Saturday, October 3, 2015

On the Road to Ironman...

I need to do a race report, and I will soon but first I felt that there are a lot of emotions that I wanted to wrap up so that the race report can be more focused on the race.

A little background on me, I was NEVER considered athletic, in fact I was down right scrawny throughout middle and high school. My siblings were both extremely athletic and used to physically remove me from situations if they found I was annoying. It was very powerful to be called an athlete and feel athletic as well to have my brother call and tell me that he was proud of me (then he called me crazy :0)

2012 I turned 30 and my best friend talked me into training for a half marathon and so started my fitness journey.  I HATED the entire process and I knew I would never do another race ever again, but as we all know you should never say never. We did the diva half marathon in October and the minute I crossed that finish line I was hooked on the race endorphin high. I have never in all my other races hurt as much as I hurt after this first half marathon, I was sore for DAYS.

When the opportunity to start my tri journey presented itself I was worried and concerned about swimming as well as the bike but I decided that my 30s were a time to conquer fears. The first tri I signed up for was a half iron distance, 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running perhaps not the recommended first distance but I like to really go for it when I sign up.  Eventually my friend Jo convinced me to sign up for a mini tri so that I could get a feel for transitions and the tri experience.

September 2014 is when the journey to Ironman really started because I signed up for Chattanooga and I was wearing a walking boot unable to swim, bike, run or even walk very well. This is not the ideal situation and I don't recommend unless you are prepared to really throw yourself into training. The nerves really got to me at certain points because I felt I was missing valuable time to be improving my skills but trying to ensure I recovered properly from my stress fracture.

Doing an Ironman your second triathlon season is not something I recommend to the faint of heart. I am not a strong swimmer or biker and although my skills have greatly improved they caused some heartache during training about time cut offs. I got the option to upgrade my bike by winning a raffle in April and instead of going with a time trial (triathlon) bike I elected to go with a carbon road bike and add aero bars.  This decision was smart because adapting to the carbon bike and aero bars was still difficult, the bike is much lighter and tends to be harder to control. I took two spills, including one only a month out from Chattanooga which really shook my confidence and limited my swimming.

Leading up to the race I felt very calm and settled because I knew I had put in the work and the day would be what it was but the training had already given me such a thrill.  There were so many days I didn't want to cycle one more mile, the pool was the last place I wanted to be and towards to end all I wanted to do was sleep but I stuck with it. Just getting to the starting line of an Ironman, uninjured and ready to give it your all is an accomplishment and I was feeling very proud of myself.

Race day is about execution, following the plan and being able to adapt when things don't go to plan.  Fitness only gets you so far which is actually a good thing for me! :)

1 comment: