The race sucked for me, tis true. I did not ever feel great, and I only felt good for one lap of the swim, and most of one lap of the bike. What's worse is that my feeling like shit and barfing didn't occur because I fucked up training, or pacing, or planning my nutrition. It was because when you have succumbed to a virus, it does not pick up and leave after 24 hours, even if you feel better. Its vestiges still lurk and fester. Your white blood cells have done their best to fight it off, but the fight has left you white cell deficient, weakened, and fragile. If you try to exert yourself in a serious way after having a virus a few days earlier, like say, by racing all day long, your body will do its best to shut you down. It's not ready to race. It is still recovering.
That is what I learned from this experience.
Of course there is a part of my brain that insists I DID do something wrong; that if I had just eaten at the right time, or not gotten cold before the start, or if I had put just 2 scoops of EFS in each bottle instead of 2.5, then I might not have suffered so badly.
But mostly I learned that if you become ill during the week before an Ironman, you are likely in deep du-du come race day. Hence, the wisdom I leave you with is this: if you have an IM coming up within seven days, bathe in hand-sanitizer, do not leave your home, and do not get within five feet of your children or spouse or anything they touch. Got it?
I find it rather amazing that despite my rather shattered dream of breaking 11 hours--of holding my arms in the air in total glee while skipping under the IM arch and singing, I AM THE CHAMPION! Despite that.... I still got what I really and truly wanted: KONA.
For the first few days after the race I viewed this as a gift from a God I don't believe in. But as the week progressed, I began to view it differently.
I now believe in God.
No. Just kidding. I'm still not sure on the God front.
How I feel is this:
My time was not what I wanted it to be. That's true. But it is also not a bad time. Is it Kona worthy? Oh... I don't know. But I do know that had I NOT had the fitness I had going into this race, I would not have been able to execute the way I did when things went wrong. 11:22 is not what I would've hoped for on a healthy day--but now that I have had time to gain a little perspective, I realize it's not a bad time considering I did it on a few sips of Coke and with frequent vomiting breaks. No, I wasn't able to be the speedy marathoner I know I can be, but hey, I'm pretty speedy for an undernourished barfer! And it's the training I did that allowed me to be that pretty speedy undernourished barfer.
I have ten weeks until I race in Kona. I can barely stand how excited I am to go there, and to see it all, and to race again.
I'm also really excited about the rest of my season. In a few weeks I will go to Burlintgton, Vermont to race in AG Nationals. That race is going to be FUN, mostly because I have no expectations and I really just want to go because all of my friends will be there. Then I race Pumpkinman Half, which I have always wanted to race, and which is in my very own favorite Maine.
Bust most of all, I'm excited to race in Kona. I plan to enjoy it. I plan to enjoy the swim in that warm ocean, I plan to enjoy that hot and windy bike, and I plan to enjoy dying in the sweltering heat as I run a sub -four hour marathon. (I do not care if it is 3:59:59--I just want to go UNDER FOUR HOURS GOD DAMN IT!) If I have to crawl on the swim and bike, that's fine with me. Because as I said, I plan to enjoy this race. I'm going to Kona!
I haven't said my thank yous yet.
Here they are:
TriBike Transport--my awesome sponsor
Ernie and Hazel: because they love me even when I am a pain in the ass, needy, stupid, sick, tired, angry, and wrong.
Jordan: because she gets the Kona thing. She gets it.
Jen: for laying the foundation
My mom: for being my practical, loving, generous mom
Ange, all this would not be fun without you
Alina. you know. xo
Kurt. I was able to pull that fucker off because you trained me so well.
Andy. because you have always been there waiting for me outside the medical tent. and for other stuff, too.