I believe that one should only be disappointed when they give less than their best. When you look back with regret, and accept that at a certain point, you gave up on yourself, conceded hope, and stopped fighting. Based on this description, albeit a less than desired result, I cannot genuinely say that I’m disappointed with myself; yet, I accept that on the day, the result I was seeking simply wasn’t meant to be. Some may call this ‘fate’; I call it the simple fact that some days you’ve got it, others you don’t. Despite great preparations, you cannot force an inner confidence, calm, and the ultimate sense of preparedness; most of all, you cannot control when the body will ‘show up’ 100%.
I was grateful to be back in Kona competing for the fourth time. I was excited and eager at the prospect of what the day would bring, at the opportunity to push my body and see where it may take me. But truthfully, I had some doubts. I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve been an athlete long enough to realize there are days you toe the line keyed up and anxious to compete, almost feeling like a caged animal; there are others where you just feel a bit too relaxed. Saturday felt like the latter. It was almost as if the adrenaline wasn’t high enough; as if the balance of ‘low pressure/boredom’ and ‘high stress/anxiety’ was a little too far to the left. But, again; I have found that is rather tough to ‘force’ yourself into the correct zone.
The canon sounded and off they went, ‘they’ being the women I should have swum with. I was not aggressive enough; I was too complacent with my ‘space’, settling into a rhythm, and here, I missed an opportunity to latch onto a faster swim pace and start my day off right. It was a huge mistake made by me, and a painful lesson learned. I exited the swim in my slowest Kona swim to date, right at 1-hour. I tried not to think about it, but stay positive, hustling through transition and quickly aboard my Felt IA, out for the 112 mile journey.
I immediately focused on settling in and preparing for a solid bike, something I’ve been working tirelessly the past few months. One by one, women drifted up the road ahead of me. My legs didn’t feel great; they actually felt quite unresponsive. When I said ‘go’, they didn’t want to listen. I don’t think this was for a lack of focus, determination or will; but more so a physical lack of ‘pep’ that I needed. I often say when asked pre-race how I feel, “I feel ready; I just hope my legs are along for the ride.” Today it seemed, they were not.
As tempting as it was to throw in the towel the first 30-40 miles, I tried to suck it up and stay positive that things would turn around. When this temptation calls, I think about my parents and family there to support; I come hobbling back, feeling sorry for myself, what do I say? I think of the hundreds of others out there far longer than I will be (even on an off day’), and I feel greedy. I think of those who physically cannot do what I’m doing; and it just doesn’t become an option to me in this moment to pull the cord. Oddly enough, things did come around; though a little too late. The final 30 miles, I felt like myself; and the Ironman pace and effort I had trained for finally dialed in. I enjoyed coming off the bike feeling stronger than I had when I started, ignoring the position I was in (I wasn’t sure but I knew I was far back), and carry that momentum into the run. I knew I had absolutely nothing to lose but everything to gain at that point, and just went for it. I stayed relaxed, but ran as if I was going for the win, starting out strong and just holding the pace as long as I could.
I felt strong and held that through about mile 12, when the body began to falter a bit. But the motivation stayed high as I was passing people and I let that carry me through the low moments. I knew that I was somewhat still ‘in the race’ although I had no idea where the effort may put me in the end. Finally I came upon the downhill at Palani and eventually the long awaited stretch on Ali’i Drive. I can’t say I was elated at the finish, as I have yet to truly put together the race I know I am capable of in Kona; but I was proud of myself for sticking it out, on a day where it seemed I had to fight a bit harder, especially battling some mental hurdles. I’ve realized that to keep improving we have to recognize our mistakes so we can address them; but at the same time, we’ve got to ease up on ourselves and be proud of a strong effort, no matter where it lands us. I’ve spent far too much time in my life as an athlete beating myself up over poor races; life is too short to dwell on the past. I’ve realized it’s better to accept it, learn from it, and keep your eyes firmly planted on the road and opportunities that lie ahead.
In all, it was a great trip; whenever I get to spend time with my husband and our parents, catch up with great friends and sponsors, spend time in a beautiful place and do what I love, it’s something to be grateful for. I’d be remiss if I did not thank those who have supported me endlessly not only this year but for so many leading up.
Zoot: From clothing to shoes to swimsuits, they are committed to triathlon and to the athlete; I’m honored to have been with such a stand up company now for 6 years.
Memorial Hermann: I’m still honored to have taken the title at their premier event (Ironman Texas), and excited at the opportunity to aim to defend in 2015. Few places you can find all the services they offer in a one stop shop.
Reynolds Cycling: The AERO 46/72 setup performed beautifully in the Kona winds!
PowerBar: How many people can say ‘no stomach issues’ in an Ironman? I’m lucky to be able to! Thanks to amazing, easy to digest products by this company; and we are talking about the likes of 20+ Powergels in the race…impressive!
Road ID: It was great to catch up with these guys in Hawaii, always innovating but sticking true to a simple, important product that saves lives.
Westin Lake Las Vegas: We can’t race without solid training and they provide some of the best training grounds hands down!
Felt: Not only amazing bikes but incredible people at this company with a true passion for bikes; their humility and genuineness never ceases to amaze me.
Recovery Pump: This is an integral part of my training, recovery and race prep; could not do it all without this device.
Rudy Project: After my first year with Rudy, I’m truly impressed with the clarity of the eyewear and especially the comfort of the Wing 57 for racing, even hot conditions.
ISM: Top saddle used in Kona? Speaks for itself! Thank you for the ‘support’.
Profile Design: Top front end hydration and aerobars in Kona? It is clear they’re doing it right!
Campagnolo: The world of electronic shifting is even better with an awesome support team, thank you to the guys here who go above and beyond.
Nulo: Healthy people need healthy pets; our pup Amico is a happier dog when fueled as well as we are, thank you Nulo for doing it right.
Jack & Adams: Not only best bike & triathlon shop ever but more passion and energy for the sport than any other. Derick and I will always be grateful to this place, all of Jack’s hard work and the countless friends we have through y’all.
SRM: The light within my ride at Kona: my power was actually the strongest within the final 1 hour! Thanks to SRM and the ability to train with accurate power to recognize this.
Endurance Shield: An essential when spending hours in the heat and sun; you can layer this on and the skin can still breathe; thank you for taking care of my skin now and for future years.
Durata: Last but far from least, my husband Derick for his knowledge, love, support and ability to shoot it to me straight; we are a good team and there is nobody I’d rather go through this journey with.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves the week after Kona, doing easy swims with my parents, visiting Waipi’o Valley, and really just taking it easy. We topped the trip off with a short stop in Cancun for our neighbors wedding; nothing like an all-inclusive, all you can eat/drink 48 hours to really unwind and tax the liver a bit. It entailed a lot of sleeping, beaching, hydrating, and even a fishing trip. I’ve come back to Austin feeling rested, but still a bit hungry for more… so we’ll see if this season has anything else in store!
Thanks so much for following the journey; I truly felt the support while out there racing. Until next time, in the words of Mother Teresa,
‘Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today. Let us begin.’