After you realize your day just isn’t going to “happen” and your body is starting to rapidly fail, your mind is forced to pick up the pieces and, that’s when shit gets real.
The very very very short story of my Ironman Florida experience is as follows, but of course, there is a bit of back-story.
As 2020 goes, this experience is 100% fitting. Not only has my focus been on 10 or 15 other things, but my race schedule is likely the most random ever.
- IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche
- 100-mile road race
- 150-mile road race
- 100km Ultramarathon
- IRONMAN VR20
- Bear Lake Brawl
- IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel
- 125-mile gravel race, Belgian Waffle Ride (plus a crash)
- Great Floridian Triathlon
- IRONMAN Florida
With the massive shutdowns and overall chaos, I can’t believe I was able to get in so much “fun” in terms of events. Utah WAS fortunate enough to allow various sorts of racing however, as most of the country is experiencing a SPIKE in COVID cases, so are we.
So, the story goes, one IRONMAN 140.6 is canceled after another. I was banking on IRONMAN St. George, then IRONMAN Arizona, and then 6 weeks ago my IRONMAN Race date move from Arizona (Pro race cancellation) to Florida. This accelerated my schedule a bit in terms of “panic” training and since 70.3 Cozumel and the Belgian Waffle Ride were already committed I stuck with it. THEN the PTO announced they would fund the Great Floridian 1/3 distance with prize money, so…I jumped on that wagon.
What happened on race day here in Florida was a possibility since my final 2-week recovery, taper, and the panic training experience wasn’t going super well. I gutted myself at the Great Floridian and fresh off a bike crash the effects were even more striking. We tried to smash some volume post-race but my legs couldn’t hold over 250w sustained but my swim and run were okay, even with an injured rotator cuff. But as we all know, IRONMAN 140.6 is a LOT of biking. That’s where I fell apart to be sure and that’s where my mind was fighting my body and then finally, we all submitted.
Swim: My swim is still fine and I will say I should always be in the top 10 on the swim.
Bike: Our group of 10 all came together and honestly, it was pretty full-on. I knew it was going poorly within minutes though as the usual bursts of 310-320 watts were tearing me a new one. After an hour of wondering how long I would last, my question was answered. I had to make the heart-breaking choice to let my pals Cody and Brent ride away and then I was all alone with my lower back refusing to release. Power was fading, the pain was increasing and after 60 miles I found myself facing the reality I wasn’t going to make that top 10 of the bike I knew I needed. I knew my run legs would likely be okay but my lower back was seizing from the bike crash weeks prior. After mentally tapping out 20 times but then thinking “just go 5 more miles” I did finally make my way into transition despite riding RIGHT past my AirBnB within the final mile.
Run: Honestly, I went out with great pacing and everything was setting in for a 3-hour marathon and I was pumped for that. However, my lower back began to lock up again and spasms down the right side put me into firm hold many times after mile 10. At that point, I knew I didn’t want to walk, stumble over those final miles when I was already in 14th.
Concerning this race, the distance and everyone who finished…of course I wanted to just, finish but having been there before, I know I would feel the same. A finish to “finish” just doesn’t make sense when I can save my body a bit, $300 shoes, and beat myself up a bit less for my next race in 5 weeks. So that’s the day. While my day is very insignificant in the name of all the greatness that happened for my friends and a remarkable FIRST in our sport; the first finisher with Down Syndrome - I’m here just like everyone else who suffered and came up short. Motivated, still driven, and poised to make this shit work out better in the future. IRONMAN 140.6 will magnify any weakness in your program…remember that as you grind out your training program and feel like “I got this”. Do you?