Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blessings Arising from the Bad

It's been several days since my DNF, and I'm starting to feel a little more like myself. I won't lie--it has been a tough several days, and I know it will be tough for quite a while. I've only spoken in person to one friend who followed my training. As usual, Kevin was supportive and encouraging. He's going to do great in Wisconsin on Sunday!

I've had several comments on my blog post--thanks for all for the encouragement. It is very much appreciated.

I've also done a lot of thinking, and I BELIEVE I know what really went wrong: I did not BELIEVE I could do the race! I know that sounds very simple, but for me, it's very complicated. I did the training, and physically I knew I was capable. I think the main issue for me was that I was afraid to fail. I can honestly say I have never been so nervous/scared/terrified before any event in my life, until Friday morning. Getting married, having two kids, numerous surgeries, being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, losing loved ones--all stressful life situations. BUT NEVER WAS I AFRAID like I was when I arrived at the packet pick-up and athlete briefing on Friday. This was really going to happen, and I was really going to attempt to complete an ironman triathlon! Was I crazy, nuts, insane, loco, lost my mind, what the heck was I thinking?

As you can imagine, I drove my family crazy. I couldn't eat much on Friday or Saturday. My stomach was in knots, I wanted to go home, what if I don't finish, what will people say? My knee hurt. What if I couldn't run after the bike? How will I feel about myself if I fail? Eight gazillion reasons I gave myself to worry. And worry I did. My husband kept telling me I always get crazy before races. In fact, he believes the crazier I get, the better I do. But I knew this was different. This wasn't just nervousness, this was pure, unadulterated TERROR! When I think about it now, I realize I was making myself crazy for nothing. But at the time, it didn't feel that way.

I truly believe that this is the reason I wasn't able to stick with my nutrition plan. It started Friday afternoon, and by race start it was already too late. Of course, the heat and hills on the bike didn't help, but I really think I was ready (physically) for that part.

Even though I said I wasn't going to, I've done a bit of second guessing my decision to stop. Emotionally, I really wish I could have continued. Realistically, I'm really glad I stopped when I did. It was the right thing for me to do for my body.

When I started the race, I was so terrified that I vowed if I got through this, I would never do an ironman again. When I stopped on the course, I vowed I would never do THIS ironman again. After several days of thinking, I vowed that I WILL do Louisville again. And when I do, I plan to finish. Not in 2009, but possibly 2010. I won't be as scared because I know what to expect. It's hard to fail, but the learning experience is very valuable. (I hate saying those words.)

Now the hardest part will be facing all the people who knew my goal, and have to tell them that I didn't get there. But I will tell them that I didn't QUIT. True, I didn't finish, but I will try again.

Now, I feel good physically. I was tired for a couple days, but I got in the pool yesterday and swam an easy 1000 meters. Today was an even better 1500, and I plan to ride a little bit on the weekend. Running will probably wait another week or so.

I know several people competing in Madison on Sunday. To Kevin, Nick, Molly, Jo Ann, Adrienne and Amanda, may you have the race and day of your lives. Most of you have done this before, so you're veterans. (Although I hear it's still pretty scary, no matter how many you've done!) To all you first timers, don't be like me. Relax, know you've put in all the hard work, and enjoy the entire experience. So many people gave me the same advice, and if I'd taken it, well........

And to my friend Elizabeth, you're going to do great! This weekend will be a great preview of what to expect in Florida!

Enough rambling for now. More thoughts next time.

Until next time--God bless!


Vickie said...

Good thoughts and the key words are "I didn't quit." Keep on keeping on.

SWTrigal said...

Listen-you finished the swim and bike with relatively little nutrition, in that heat..that is amazing. The friends I know who have done Louisville said it was the hardest IM they had ever done (last year). These are experienced IMers!! Sounds like you had psyched yourself out with nerves-that is a tough one..You will do better next time-I promise! Plus I tell myself when things go wrong-it is ONLY a triathlon-not life or death-that helps me..

Ultimate Fucking Crackhead said...

Ah...the analysis part. Whether it's a DNF or a bad race, we all do it. Believe me when I say that it never is what it at first seems.

The point is that you got on that start line after doing all the training. THAT's the point. The fact that it ended up differently than what you wanted, well it is what it is.

Do NOT believe that you didn't want it badly enough...especially with your first IM, your body just doesn't know what it all is, and then you get some extra stuff thrown your way like weather, and it's all a crap shoot.

Every IM I've done is a crap shoot. You should come and do all/part of NothingMan with us next Saturday. I think you'd like it...

WADDLER26.2 said...

Someone told me-"You do the best you can with the conditions,mental and physical". You did that! Many do not even attempt or survive the training - you did!