I’m a little delayed on my blog post this week BUT I’m also super timely on my race report, so I call it a win.
Ironman Canada. I’ve had a few days to think over the race in Whistler and overall I am pretty happy. It wasn’t a breakthrough or the perfect race but it was solid, and I can still see improvements over my previous races.
In particular, I’m most happy about the swim. The last two years I’ve developed a weird anxiety about the swim. At one point I thought I actually needed therapy, I had such a fear of missing the group (basically the women I would decide I needed to swim with before the race). The anxiety was so bad I wondered if it was even worth racing at all. Luckily, I think I may finally be over this. What I learned is that I should relax because being a second slower off the start doesn’t make or break the race as long as I don’t panic…this sounds obvious, but I guess I had to prove it to myself.
Ok, so the gun went off and my start was terrible. I have no idea why, but I literally got smushed and popped out the back of the group. I realized quickly that I wasn’t really where I wanted to be and a gap was opening between my group and the group I knew I wanted to be with. Instead of trying to sprint and catch up to the next group, I relaxed and played the long game. I knew if I swam hard but not all out that eventually I would get on to the group and that’s exactly what happened. I latched onto the back of the group about five minutes later and I wasn’t feeling exhausted or like I wasn’t going to make it. Success. I felt good and just swam hard the rest of the way.
Out of the swim and onto the bike.
Something I still need to work on is riding hard at the beginning of the bike. I always have dead legs coming out of the swim and it’s hard to remind myself that feeling is temporary and goes away by two hours into the race. But seriously that’s a long time to wait! I did my best to stay with some of the ladies who passed me early, but eventually I had to let them go and ride my own pace, which sucked a little riding 112 miles solo. Once I relaxed and the dead legs subsided, I felt really good and was able to finish the ride strong. Although I must say, the 20 miles of climbing back into Whistler were the longest of my entire life.
Getting off the bike, I was actually excited for the run because my legs were feeling so good. I gave myself 3 miles to settle into the marathon, where I think everyone feels crappy as you transition from biking to running, but this time I could tell that things just weren’t feeling right. It wasn’t bad exactly, but the run wasn’t as comfortable as it usually feels the first half. Of course, things always get super hard around 16 miles and onward, but I can usually tick off the miles up to that point. When I started using my mental tricks at mile 4, like getting to the next aid station or the next turn-around, I knew it was going to be a long day.
I actually surprised myself as I’m known for either running fast or totally imploding, so to feel like I was struggling, but still have a good result is a big win. And it’s also possible to play three hours of mental tricks to get through a race.
Overall, it was a good day. I’m not particularly thrilled with 7th place as this totally puts me out of the running for a Kona slot this year. But it is what it is. I am positive I can thoroughly enjoy Kona carrying Nate’s bags around and drinking margaritas on the sidelines. For right now, I’ll spend the next few weeks recovering and figuring out what’s up for the rest of the season.