Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ironman: Not For The Faint Of Heart (Or The Unfit)

A week ago, I raced Ironman Lake Placid.  About 80 miles into the bike I knew I was in for a long day.  Whether it was mental durability or physical durability, that I was lacking, I'm not quite sure.  Either way, I eventually went into "one foot in front of the other" mode.  Luckily, in Ironman, you can be rewarded for perseverance alone.  The pro women's field got VERY spread out and I knew, barring any major catastrophe, I was probably going to hold onto the place I was in (4th).  Indeed, I did.  I was very happy to see the finish line.  

I walked away feeling pretty disappointed.  I did swim well (hello 2nd loop with AGers - I didn't even have to move my arms and I just got sucked around the lake!), but my bike was poor and that resulted in a rough run.  But as is usually the case, with some time and reflection, I saw the positives of the day.  And there were many:

1) Lake Placid is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen and one of the most iconic courses on the Ironman circuit.  And I *finally* got to do the race and be a part of it's history.  When I first started into triathlon, Placid was one of the only Ironmans in the US!  Little known fact: Kim Schwabenbauer and I actually signed up for the race in 2006, together.  Then we realized we had no idea what we were doing and riding 112 miles might be a problem.  Neither of us ended up racing that year but she went on to race Placid a few years later (and then a few times after that).  I always meant to do the race but just never got there.  Now it's going to be hard NOT to do the race every year!

See, told you it was beautiful.
2) I'm healthy.  In January my back hurt so badly I cringed at even the thought of having to get up and walk to the refrigerator.  In February it wasn't much better.  In March I still wasn't running.  It's pretty amazing to me that just a few months later I was running 26.2 miles.  I have learned over the span of 25 years of racing, to never take a healthy, able body for granted.  And I will say, even in my darkest moments last Sunday, I was still able to have a bit of perspective and be thankful that I was DOING THIS and that, as rough as it might be, it's lightyears ahead of sitting on the couch.

3) So much support.  On the course and from afar.  I am so thankful for all the people that took time to cheer, encourage and lift me up when I needed it!  I know it's cliche beyond belief, but it's also very, very true - it takes a village and my village is awesome.

So onward to Ironman Wisconsin we go!  Because, why not?  :)  Wisconsin is one of my FAVORITE races.  And I like cheese.  #nobrainer

The run from the water to transition is long.  But it's all downhill and lots of people cheer for you and you kinda feel like a rockstar.
IMLP bike course: not for the faint of heart.
IMLP run course: also not for the faint of heart.  :)
Luckily there was a lot of on course encouragement to KEEP MOVING FORWARD SHUTT!