So, if you looked up my splits on Ironmanlive, you’re probably wondering what in-flight movie they were showing while I was in T2. 13 MINUTES????? Luke Bell ran almost 3 miles in that amount of time. Except by the time I was in T2 he had already finished. Natasha Badmann won the women’s race while I was there.
The main problem was my mind and my unwillingness to race anymore. (More on that later) The only legitimate excuse is that I was concerned about my hydration, the plumbing having not worked at any time while on the bike notwithstanding having consumed over a gallon of water and/or Gatorade. So, I paused at a portalet. After verifying that all the “fancy parts” still worked properly, at least in their non-recreational sense, I hit the run course.
Why can’t I feel my toes? And why do my feet feel like bricks hitting the pavement? At the time I had no idea what was going on, but thanks to TriBoomer, I have since figured out that the vibration from the pebbly surface of the bike course left my feet as numb as if I had been walking in the snow for the past three hours. For the first three miles of the run, I had no feeling in my toes and every footstrike was painful in the balls of my feet.
I still shuffled through the first three miles, walking only once for a drink between aid stations, congratulating myself for making it up a hill.
GUH! That was not a hill. These monstrosities climbing in and out of the canyon are hills. (Note to self: survey the run course next time). Being mentally unprepared there was little alternative but to walk the hills.
Aside from that, I essentially managed to run between aid stations, one of the rare exceptions being a side stitch that I managed by walking. Of course, that is the very instant that Robo-Christy saw me and gave me the “Go Greyhound” woohoos. Story of my life. I’m always at my wimpiest when a pretty girl happens to be watching.
Even when I was running, however, I was not focused and did not hit my rhythm or make any kind of pace. I walked a lot in the last three miles. But neither the pace nor the ultimate walking were caused by physical problems. Not really. Sure, I had the beginnings of a calf cramp, and sure, my feet hurt. Sure, I was tired. But I did not give my best.
My willingness to push the envelope and tolerate the pain of serious effort abandoned me when I lost focus on the bike. The loss of focus meant I did not reach T2 in time for a 6 hour finish after a 2 hour half-marathon. The loss of that target made me unwilling to hurt. I was mentally unprepared to focus for the entire distance. My little dog brain was tired.
One of the quotes on the sidebar of my blog states that “Men hit only what they aim at.” There are two thoughts in this quote. One is “aim high.” The other one is simply, “aim.” I did not aim at six hours and then fail. I failed to aim. I did not set a goal time or train with that goal in mind. I probably would have been foolish to do so on such a course for my first half-iron. I had no idea the mental stamina required for the 70.3 distance. I likewise did not aim at just finishing and having a good time. My competitive, testosterone poisoned self did not allow that attitude in a race. Afraid of failing to make a finishing time, and afraid of feeling like a failure for lack of a finishing goal, I ultimately failed to aim for or to hit any target at all.
. . . except I did hit that very important personal target of becoming a triathlete and finishing a half-iron. Since the race ended, I have come to be very satisfied with that. It is the product of a lot of hard work and a lot of tolerance by my family.
I am a triathlete. I’m in, forever. I will never go back to what I was before, and I will be back to the half-iron distance. I know how I will change my training. I know how I will change me. I will be back. And next time, I will be . . . .
Just wait and see.