When I first conceived the idea of racing Ironman Taiwan and Ironman Australia three weeks apart I am not sure I really thought it would happen. It was more a figment of my imagination. Time, money, logistics, work, training for back to back early season ironmans - it all needed to be accounted for and factored into the equation. After returning from our QT2 pro training camp in Florida I wasn't sure the fitness piece of the equation was accounted for. I needed a few solid signs to make me believe I was (2x) race ready. During my final training block things really started to click. With the flick of a switch my heart began to sing and I knew it was time to commit to my first attempt at back to back Ironmans.
The original plan was to fly over to Taiwan, back to San Francisco, and then over to Australia 2 weeks later. However after considering the tole this would take on my body (time changes), and discussing things with my coworkers we decided I would head straight from Taiwan to Australia and work out of our offices there. The puzzle was coming together and with it my mental state turned from self doubt to complete confidence and excitement. Up until now the idea of training and racing over in Australia was only a dream. I was so excited that the packing and planning started two weeks out from my travel day. My spare bedroom turned into piles of cloths, tri gear, and (an insane amount of) food.
After completing my final training block I just needed to get through the work week, by day, and find a way to fit all of those piles into my suitcase and bike bag, by night. The thing is, life has a way of always keeping us on our toes, keeping us guessing, and testing our character. I walked into the office Monday morning knowing I had a mountain of work awaiting me. My body was exhausted, but I couldn't let that get in the way of what my mind had to accomplish before jet setting.
I hadn't settled into my work day too long before a strange buzz began around the office. One by one employees were given the "thank you for your service, let me show you the door" speech. You could hear a pin drop in the office. Those remaining stared blankly at each other. We were suppose to be celebrating the acquisition of two new companies. "What the H.E.L.L is going on?" I wasn't first, so when the text message came through asking me to head up to the executive suites I knew what was coming...I was next. I've never been part of a large lay off before. Accela was very different than the law firms I've worked for in the past. Together we built this product and company from the ground up. My co-workers were true friends of mine. This is simply part of the process and casualties that come with acquisitions. It's all part of the game when working in hyper growth software industry. However this didn't make me feel any better. I was quite simply devastated.
I called my parents, but couldn't even get the words out of my mouth. My high and excitement for the races and travel ahead came crashing down. In the matter of five minutes I went from cloud nine to red lined. I didn't care one ounce about triathlon. I cared about my friends who were out of work. I cared about my career and my next steps. Yes, this career is the one that is first and foremost in my life. It only takes a second to remind me what is truly important in life. Sorry, triathlon I love you with all my hear, all my sole, and every single tiny muscle fiber....but you aren't the be-all-end-all for me. You aren't my whole life. As "Lunch Money Louis" sings "I've got [law school debt] bills, I've gotta pay"..."I got [triathlete hangry] mouths I gotta feed."
|Pack, fly to Taipai, 2 days in Taipai |
before heading south to the race site in Kenting
Pack up. Ship out. One job... Ironman racing was it. Once in Taiwan I was greeted by the a member of the Cobb Cycling family, Winston Tam and fam. I am absolutely positive there couldn't of been a better welcoming after the week I just went through. I hadn't slept much and on the way to the airport threw my back out trying to load my (way) over weight bag into the car. After a few days settling into the time and climate change in Taipai I packed up again and jumped on the train to Kenting (far south end of Taiwan).
The race organization pulled out all the stops to welcome the professional athletes. I greatly enjoyed some much needed days of relaxation at the Howard Beach Hotel (pictured on left). By race day I was ready to rumble. Let the past sit in the past. Time to live in the present. The race itself was quite the experience. I have now learned you have to expect the unexpected when it comes to racing first year races especially when they're in a second/third world country. I'd survived IM Fortaleza for heaven's sake. I would be just fine with whatever came my way here in Taiwan. The course was no joke! Wow, it is the craziest ironman bike course I've ever raced. Narrow roads, plenty of climbs followed by winding descents, and more three legged stray dogs than you an count. Hold on TIGHT! Let's do this...
Once on the bike I fought through the very hilly first half of the course. While the course spiked I did anything but. By all measures (heart race, power, perceived effort) I was flat. Furthermore my aching back wasn't really enjoying all of the climbing. Once into the final 60 miles my legs decided to join the party and I finally was hitting AND holding my target power numbers. The last 60 miles was a three loop section close to transition. I built each loop and entered T2 feeling confident for the run.
I don't always air my "dirty laundry" via blog posts. However this is what makes me real. This is why I can relate to the challenges so many of you face on your way to your Ironman starting line. We all have obstacles in our lives and carry so much on our shoulders. Once the gun went off I know I gave it my all. While it wasn't the race I was searching for, Taiwan truly allowed me to relish in THIS moment. THIS challenge. THIS opportunity! The memories leave me without regret. I have a deep appreciation that God's love drove me to fly across the world with my eyes wide open. I mean where else would you see signs like this:
|Really? Good to know!|
It's all about the journey! This was far from the end of this journey. Stay tuned for chapter 2: Ironman Australia.