Sunday, October 21, 2012

Proscratination

Ok, Ok, Ok, I will write my race report.  Have I been avoiding doing this?  Well, maybe.....it's just that I've found lots of things to do other than to sit in front of my computer and write a report of a race that had an unexpected and rather disappointing end.  I've had plenty of time to think about what happened, couldawouldashoulda, and overanalyze every single thing that happened that day and the day before and the day before that and maybe even a year ago.

But here's the thing, I AM FINE!  Honestly, I am good!  The first couple of days post-DNF (I figure most of you know this so why wait till the end of the report to say those nasty 3 letters) were difficult.  My family was awesome.  My friends were awesome.  Everyone was awesome and so supportive.  I tried to enjoy those last couple of days in Hawaii as best I could.  But, of course, my head would always go back to the race.  The final 20 miles or so of the bike. To T2.  To the medical tent.  DNF.  I cried.  I mourned the loss of the finisher's medal and t-shirt and lei.  The fact that my legs were only just a teeny tiny little bit sore from a good effort on the bike but really I could go and do a workout no problem on Monday.  But we have returned from paradise/hell and have had a great few days at home.  I have let go of any self-blame.  Shit happens.  I've talked to several people about Kona and Ironman that have really helped settle me down and realize that shit happens.  Especially in Ironman.  Especially in Kona.
Athletes entering the water looking out in the distance.....where are we swimming to?

So here's my 2/3 of a race report:)

Pre-race I was incredibly relaxed.  I tell you....having a few days in Maui with the family is great but I really did have to remind myself that I was doing KONA and IRONMAN several times before leaving for the big island on Wednesday.  As with all things, I figured this was either really good or really bad.  Nerves honestly didn't settle in until Friday night and it wasn't that bad.  Lights were out in our hotel room at 8:30.  I'm sure I was asleep by 9.  I slept soundly and felt pretty good when I woke up at 4.

My pre-race nutrition was a bit different though - I completely forgot about packing Mix1 before leaving home and there is no place on the island to get it.  So I substituted a protein drink with about the same amount of calories and protein as what I usually take and figured I was good to go.  I had my usual pre-race freak-out and cry and then my family dropped me off at body marking.  Everything went smoothly.  I was nervous but not overly so.  I knew this would be a difficult day and I was ready.
Go time!
See that boat on the horizon?  Yep, that's where we were heading in the swim!

Swim:
The pros started their days (the sound of that first cannon is always startling - 30 minutes to go!) and it was time to start funneling into the water.  PIC and I made our ways out into the water and found a boat to hang on.  Oddly enough, I swam up and found Grant (KE super-stud athlete) hanging there - he was shivering and I figured he was really nervous.  But after a few minutes of hanging there I was shivering too - we needed to move.  The boat kicked us off about 10 minutes before cannon time so we moved into our starting positions (way left of the pier) and started treading water.  Then we started warming up.  I had lost sight of PIC as we swam off the boat so we didn't do our usual pre-race hug and good race wishes - I didn't like that.  It was great hanging out with Grant before the cannon especially since he said he wouldn't swim over me at the start:)
That's the boat we were hanging on to!
The minutes were ticking down and we were just guessing at the start time waiting for the boom.  All of a sudden, I see white water and hear Mike Reilly yelling GO GO GO GO!  Hmmm, am I so far left that I couldn't hear the cannon?  Weird. (found out later that the cannon went off about 10 seconds after the start) We were finally on our way.  I sprinted with the people I was with for 1-2 minutes.  Breathing every stroke and just trying to gain ground and space and hopefully find the right feet to be on.  I took in just a bit of ocean water but I was good to go.  After that couple of minutes I settled into a pace and breathing pattern.  And, my arms and shoulders felt good and loose - all systems go!!  But I was very aware of what was going on around me and making sure I wasn't settling into an "easy" pace - I wanted the pace that wasn't too hard or too easy but just right:).  I ended up in a disjointed group of 5 or so people.  A couple of women and a few men.  I swam to the left of Man In Red (MIR) and right on the feet/hip of another guy.

Well, MIR and I became fast friends up to the boat and the turn buoy.  Every time I'd breath to the right he was looking right at me.  I'd try to gain ground (errr water) but he would stay with me.  He would try to gain ground but I would stay right with him.  We hit each other a couple of times but no worries, we were still good swim buddies.  After the turn at the boat I lost sight of him momentarily - probably because I was trying to swim straight to the next buoy like last year but this year they angled us to the left.  MIR somewhat impatiently guided me correctly.  At the next turn, I lost sight of him again.  And a minute or two later I saw him ahead.  So I did my best to close the gap and noticed that I didn't have to put forth that great of an effort to catch MIR.  At that point, there was probably around 1.5k to go and I decided to do just that.  Go.  I passed MIR, I passed MIB (man in black) soundly.  They didn't hang on.  Except now I was between 2 packs of swimmers and all by my lonesome in the middle.  Not where I wanted to be so then I tried to catch the next pack.  It took me a little bit but I reeled them in as well.  The pier was in sight and time to line up to the right so that I didn't get smashed into the pier like last year.

Perceived time since I didn't see the clock coming out of the water: 58min
Actual time: 1:01 (darn) Swim was slow this year for everyone but I'm bummed I didn't get under the 1 hour mark.  3rd out of the water in my age group.

T1
Getting out of the water and onto the stairs I really felt like I had smashed that swim - but in a good way that didn't smash me.  I smiled as I entered the showers and ran to get my bag.  As always, the volunteers in T1 were great - I think they were in more of a hurry than I was!  I had 3 volunteers - 2 helping with my bag and getting my socks on and one putting on sunscreen.  I had her lather that on, no sunburns this year!

A blurry picture coming out of T1
I realize this is getting long so I'll save the bike and ensuing disaster "learning experience" to the next post!!!

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