Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Make A Different Mistake, Sheesh!

This was the thought running through my head during the second loop of the marathon and at the finish (well, maybe not the "sheesh" part). My last three ironmans have gone like this: great swim, decent bike, horrible run. There are a handful of people who have watched and supported my ironman quest for the past 12 years, and I feel like I owe them an apology. I'm embarrassed that I keep making the same mistake over and over; and I wish I would just make a different mistake-maybe a decent swim, horrible bike, and great run? I feel like we have the exact same conversation after every ironman, and I question how much longer they can (or should) continue to support me in this ironman thing. But, I came up with some reasons to continue.

I've only done 6 ironmans, not much, and in the span of 12 years so it's not like I carried the fitness from one to another. I only started racing the distance again this past March after a 4-year hiatus. The best advice I've gotten thus far is that it takes 1.5-2 years of consistent ironman training and racing to nail down a PR. I'm currently at month number eight, thus my PR should come some time next summer/fall. I'm positive that I'm on track. Physically and emotionally, I'm ready to go again, and I'm currently trying to find a way to squeeze in Ironman Cozumel. And I know what went wrong on Saturday. I focused on nutrition every 20 minutes on the bike and this worked really well. However, the last 45 minutes, I lost all my fluids because the bottles did not fit on my cages, and this in turn caused me to stop eating food. I arrived to T2 with about 800 unconsumed calories still in my jersey pocket, calories that were meant for the run. This is why I slowly faded on the run and crashed hard at mile 7. I learned that there is no hard and steadfast rule as to when to start taking coke. Coke should be taken when you feel absolutely depleted, and not just at mile 18. I was absolutely depleted at mile 11 and should have started on coke rather than waiting. My third loop split was solid and equally as fast as my first loop, and this tells me I can run a marathon under 3:30 as long as I stay on top of the nutrition. Nutrition is a lot easier to fix than lack of will/desire or lack of talent.

And speaking of talent, I keep some fast company, and many of these athletes had instant success at the ironman distance. I think watching these athletes gave me an unrealistic sense of how long it would take to nail down an ironman PR. I now know this ironman quest is solely about me and my own pace. I'm not about to quit anytime soon so sit back, be patient, and enjoy the journey. Guerneville was a great trip and I think it would make a great location for a training camp. I'll leave you with some images from the trip.


Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

I love the little lessons I learn in each race. You'll have to explain the whole coke thing to me when we connect. Love that pool - is that the place you stayed in Guerneville?

Libby said...

that would be sweet to hop in cozumel!
a little story I've been meaning to tell you:
a good friend of mine who is a very talented triathlete has always dreamed of kona. that's his life's aspiration. and he has always just barely missed. 13 times. but he loves it and he keeps training and racing knowing that someday he WILL get there. I've learned so much from him and the first thing he taught me when I embarked on my first ironman journey was that the number one rule of ironman is that something will go wrong. no matter what. expect it, prepare for it mentally and physically and learn to handle it emotionally because there is no such thing as the perfect ironman. I think this is a lesson I've carried with me in all my racing. its not what happens to us, but how we react to it and overcome. and that's the power of ironman :)
so everyone ironman is an opportunity to learn, but we will also never stop learning :)
can't wait to see you back at it for cozumel!

Charisa said...

Ohhhhh those pics look fun. Maybe we should figure out how to do training camp :) My job is getting in the way...

Jill Costantino said...

Your PR will come - hang in there! Great photos - you are inspiring!

Teresa said...

Kiet, you are so tuff! And it is all about learning and that is what you are doing. I was SO naive my first ironman and then took some hard falls in the next two. And as Libby said, I always plan on three things going wrong. You WILL get this!!! I am hoping to get better and better and as soon as I can start working out am going to pick out my races and hopefully they will be with you!!!
Cozumel is on the radar!!!!

Hang tough!!! tn!!