2015 has been a very strange year for me as the racing was limited due to injuries. With patella tendinitis sidelining me for April and May, blister flare-ups forcing 10 days of non-run training, and plantar fasciitis leaving me out of running since September 7th, I have to remind myself of the positives that have come out of the limited racing.
….But then I screwed my head on straight and reminded myself that I am beyond blessed to have been given the opportunity to compete in the Ironman World Championships and share my learning and experiences with others.
This year, I am more physically prepared on the bike and more mentally prepared overall. Sure, I’ve shed some tears over not being able to run since Labor Day (September 7th), but I keep reminding myself that this is just a forced taper… my body is ready to run after all of this rest, and I have never had so many butterflies in my stomach anticipating how amazing it will feel to run again.
In 2013, I was an Ironman virgin having qualified for Kona at a 70.3 and just really took in every moment. From swimming the longest swim of my life to biking on one of the best Kona weather days to running through the dreaded Energy Lab, I took in every moment and had a ridiculous smile on my face the entire time (okay, maybe not in the swim).
In 2014, I came in with more confidence, having had a very successful IM Cabo earlier in the year, and knowing what to expect for Kona Round 2. Or so I thought. The winds in 2014 were what everyone had tried to prepare me for in 2013, and possibly more. I reached that very dark place on the bike but salvaged my day during the descent from Hawi (passing almost 30 girls in the last 40 miles) and crushed the run in response to my anger/frustration with letting my mind get the best of me on the bike.
In 2015, my plan is to be the rookie and live the each experience as I did in 2013. Last year, I'm not 100% sure I believed in myself, and the mental game is critical in an Ironman race. This year, I am my biggest cheerleader and will be shaking those pom-poms for myself in my head and going through each discipline with a smile on my face.
T1: Every practice swim that I’ve done this week, I walked out of the water with pain in my heel. Truly my only goal here is just to run/walk normally so I don’t cause my body any harm favoring one side over the other.
T1 Goal: 3:30
T2: This is always the best since you get to just throw (gently) your bike to a volunteer, which is extremely welcomed after battling with the heat, humidity and winds for the last 5+ hours. After running all over the pier to get to the changing tent, I’ll calmly put on my shoes, put my Chocolate PowerGels and my Gausa tool in my uniform pocket, fasten on my bib, and beeline out of transition to start my favorite part of the day. T2 Goal: under 4minutes
<<---Shout out to everyone who suggested different methods of taming Plantar Fasciitis. Fingers are crossed that all of these tools have worked some magic!
- Never give in. I must do my best to maximize the day by focusing on the things that I CAN control. If my plantar flares up, I’ll focus on how awesome my arms feel (and how tan they’re getting, since that’s clearly part of the goal when signing up to do a HOT Ironman).
- Onipa'a: The theme of this year’s Ironman World Championships is Onipa’a which means to remain steadfast, resilient and resolute. This race represents the toughest race in the world, but it’s not just about going to battle with others, but rather about battling with yourself as well.
- Focus on YOU. While everyone competing on Saturday obviously wants to be the best… we all have to remember we are competing AGAINST the best of the best. Just being here is amazing. I need to be more focused on myself and keeping my head on straight. If I can do that, everything else will just come together.
- EGO p/b Sammy’s Bikes: providing us with everything from kits to bikes to social media contests, EGO p/b Sammy’s Bikes has been the best team to be on. The appreciation of and support for us is just insane and we couldn’t be in better hands.
- Saucony: putting on my lime green Fastwtich’s on race day always pumps me up and gets me to the finish line faster than any other female amateur. Thanks for providing the most comfortable shoes for my feet!
- PowerBar: Nutrition is one of the key elements in a successful Ironman, and PowerBar keeps me powered throughout the 10+ hour day.
Especially this year… with the constant frustration and disappointment from injury, I know I at times was not pleasant to be around and appreciate all of the positivity (even if I didn’t want to hear it at the timeJ).
I am fit and fresh and ready to use everyone's positive vibes as I make my way around the island tomorrow. Thanks for all of the support, belief and prayers... and see you at the finish line!
I am too positive to be doubtful,
too optimistic to be fearful,
and too determined
to be defeated.
(Thanks Briana--this will be in my head ALL day tomorrow!)