If someone were to ask me what my proudest moment in my career has been, surprisingly it wouldn't be one of the 5 Ironman titles I've won (don't get me wrong, those are all special for a variety of reasons). It likely would be my 10th place finish at the 2013 Ironman Hawaii. I spent March-September of that year with lower tibia problems that ended with a stress fracture at Vineman 70.3. I got the "all-clear" to run basically 4 weeks before Ironman Hawaii. My longest run before the race? 9 miles. I had no business toeing the line thinking I could race my way into the top-10. Race-day came and the highlight of my race was running myself into 10th place position with a 3:04 marathon. I did something I didn't think was possible coming off of a summer filled with injured adversity.
So, here I am. In a similar position. Facing a bit of adversity and embracing in some "character building". I have to say, the challenge excites me a bit.
Looking back, I made a mistake coming off of Ironman South Africa. I didn't respect how sick I truly was (although I had been warned!). I came home and rushed to get ready for Ironman Texas. By the time I was feeling good enough to train properly I had 3 weeks to nail a training block leading into St. George 70.3 and then taper down for Ironman Texas. It sounded perfect on paper and we had a great plan laid out. Panic training at it's finest :). It took a week or so, my training numbers came along nicely and then my drive to succeed got into the way. I wanted success at Ironman Texas so bad that I pushed the envelope here and pushed the paces there. It wasn't anything crazy - I was feeling good in all of my sessions and recovering well. I toed the line in St. George feeling 100% ready and that's pretty much all she wrote.
Anyone that knows me, knows my passion for training & racing runs deep. I'd give anything to be out there putting the finishing touches on a perfect race preparation. Unfortunately, that's not in my current deck of cards. My focus for now is to get to 100% and not rush into things and make a similar mistake as I did this Spring. I can't say it's fun. I can't say I enjoy watching races go by weekend after weekend.
As athletes, our most powerful tool is our mind. As a result, this has been harder mentally than it has physically. I know my body will heal and it is feeling better each day, but mentally I'd give anything to be out there suffering through a tough workout or putting it all on the line on race day. I treat this sport at a highly professional level, and I can't help but look back and beat myself up over a few bad decisions that I am now paying the price for.
Ultimately, I know my best path to success is to now focus forward and put my energy into working on getting one step better each day. I will continue to focus on the things I am able to do and maintain a positive attitude when it's no fun. My super-star physio, Jay Dicharry, was quick to remind me the other day: "Jobs are hard. Not just sometimes. But a lot of the time. Your job is hard right now."
All we can ask is that we give our best and that's what I plan on doing. I started the season with a clear vision & race plan. My dream of Kona remains the same. I understand it's a bit of an uphill battle right now, but I plan to do everything in my power to get there in the smartest and strongest way possible.
I guess the reason I wanted to write this all out is that sometimes I feel like as professionals we get put on this pedestal as "super heroic" and "perfect." That's not the case at all. This is my journey, one that has been filled with high points, low points and in between's. I've had to be brave, I've had to take risks. Sometimes I have failed and many times I have found success. I wouldn't change any of it for the world. No regrets. Onward we march.
Thanks for reading & supporting!