Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Moooooooo Booooooo

My visit to Madison was spectacular...well, except for one glowing disappointment- the race! As in the reason for traveling there and the reason for almost everything I've done over the last 3 months.However, before I get to that I have to say that Katya and I were blessed to stay with homestay extraordinaire Joann.  Seriously, she WAY over did herself!!!
She took Katya and I to a little Oasis to get our nails race ready, made sure we were properly fed every night, ensured I had any and every kind of coffee (AND splenda!) I wanted, drove us to drop off all of our gear on Sat, returned to the house when she learned I forgot to put something in my transition bag, ran to the hardware store to get the right screws for my beaker concept Blaze hydration system, AND got ice for both of us to do ice baths after the race! A.M.A.Z.I.N.G thanks to Joann for adopting 2 more daughters for the week. This makes 4 for her, no wonder she's so loving.
I know a lot of people are wondering what happened, where it went wrong and why/when I called it quits. Thank you for all the awesome messages of love and support! I'm lucky to feel your support when things go well, but to feel it when things don't go according to plan is simply heart warming.
Swim: I felt very relaxed and ready for the day to get under way. I put a lot of expectations on myself, but was ready to get to it...first challenge-the swim. The cannon went off and 5 strokes later, BAM! AUGH! I took a substantial blow to the stomach. I felt like my insides were jolted and I couldn't breath. I (literally) had the wind knocked out of me. I tried to move, but couldn't. A few minutes later I was able to swim a bit of backstroke. I could kinda breath, but not enough to submerge my head underwater for a 2second. Never had this happen before, first for everything. Once my breath returned it was time to get to work. I was catching those ahead, and flying by them. At the end of the first lap I caught people that typically swim around 1:05. More work to do! I was swimming well, but had to fight for every inch of water until the swim exit.
 Bike: Here we go. The plan: hammer! Take risks! and believe! I took off from T1 determined to make up for lost ground. I was a girl on a mission. The first 60 miles I was laying it down and everything was going well. My power was right where I dreamed it would be. The rolling hills were unrelenting. I absorbed the pain they deleverd and battled on. 65miles in I hadn't caught anyone and now was getting caught by those behind me. Jessica came by and I didn't hang with her at all. Then Lauren caught me and we worked together for a bit. I felt great again, but she took off on one of the downhill segments. Just then an age group guy pulled between us and stopped peddling- as if to say "look at me, look at me, I passed a pro, my day is now complete." I immediately passed him and was given a yellow card for not dropping out of his draft before repassing. Lauren was now a bit down the road and I never caught back up. Later I got a second penalty for going over the imaginary (there wasn't a line in the road) center line because a car decided to totally block the road. I was the second pro to swerve around the car but the the only one to get a penalty for it. Oh well, just wasn't my day and luck was not on my side. Looking back, this all came into play in terms of the mental component of the day. 
Ultimately my ride went spectacularly well for 3.5 hours, thereafter (as coach said) I was not a happy camper and it showed in my performance.  After 4 hours my legs just said NO MORE! I tried to stop looking at my power, but my heart rate wasn't much better. I tried to focus on nutrition and keeping my fight alive, but I just felt dead. I rolled into transition and fell dismounting my bike. Luck, come on...start now...because it's finally time to RUN!

Run: I started my run feeling pretty down. Even at IMCDA I was happy to be on the run course. After a few miles I felt like small pieces of glass were being shoved into the bottom of my foot. I ran into 6th, but knew I might call it a day pretty soon after. All I wanted was to see my friend and hear that it was ok for it to "not be my day" and the smart decision would be to call it quits. I saw Joann, around mile 8. Like clockwork she let me know where I was and how far ahead 5th place was. I ran another mile and then knew it was time. Time to do something I've never done before. Time to walk off the course, towards the lake, and turn in my timing chip to the officials. 
Honestly, the day just never went my way. I never felt the way I'd hoped to. I never felt like I could pull things together and make a race out of it. My dear friend Jenny started crying and did EVERYTHING to urge me on.  I had to make the call, and believe it was the right one. I was discouraged, frustrated, sad, beaten down, deflated, etc. When things went wrong, I fought and battled on. Ultimately, things weren't clicking and although an ironman is 140.6 miles, and anything can happen- it wasn't my day. Over 16miles to go and I didn't feel I could get things together and pull out a day that I'd be happy or even content with.

I got a ride back to the finish in time to see Jessica and Meredith's spectacular finishes. The day belonged to them, and they tore that course up! Both were kind enough to ask what happened and if I was ok. Tears flowed almost immediately, I just wanted to celebrate for them but was still amidst a bit of a pitty party. While taking in THEIR moment both girls offered up stories of when they experienced the feeling I had. They were beyond gracious, and just made me slap myself to realize this was part of professional racing.We can put everything into a race, but that doesn't mean it will turn out according to plan. We have to deal with what comes our way, push deep, but also be smart. 
Thankfully, Chris is an amazing coach (and friend) both when things go well and when the stars don't align. He reminded me that endurance athletics don't come together (for 99% of us) over night. We have to keep on keeping on! Pitty party lasted a few days, but enough of that. Don't you WILL fuel my fire within. Chris and I- yeah, we're not going out like that. 

It is easy to stand behind someone when everything is going well, but one's true colors show when things aren't going so well. A HUGE thanks to my sponsors and friends who have picked me up and demanded that I carry on. AIMP Coaching, words can't describe! TYR, I will make it back to the podium and my smile will be even brighter because of your support. Quarq for allowing me to continually track my progress, analyze my training and race results, and develop a strategy for moving forward. Newton for giving me the confidence that my legs can fly on the run even on a less than stealer day.  GU and Mix1 for fueling me day after day. Beaker Concepts, and Speedfil for making sure hydration is never an issue. Garmin, 100% makes the best bike and running computer systems out there. AND endless hugs to my Boulder family- the Martin's have offered the daily support I need to keep believing in (and laughing at) myself. I LOVE you guys and am getting a bit sad that it's about time to head back to the beach :-(

My fight continues- STAY TUNED!


Christi said...

You will come back and conquer the next race. That is a fact!

GoBigGreen said...

Hey C, I am sorry i missed you. I was at Madison and I know how relentless that course is. I hope you will come back to kill it next year. Good luck with the rest of your season!