After missing IM Chattanooga, I was eager to get to the starting line again. The last couple of weeks before Cozumel, I did not feel quite like myself. One of my training partners noticed and asked me what was up. I responded that I was nervous to race again and intimidated by the starting list of Ironman champions (and the â€™12 gold medalist.) I told him that I felt overwhelmed with an endless amount of self-doubt clouding my mind. He responded that I was a fighter and executed like a ninja. He told me to turn my mental frown around.
In need of a mental overhaul, I took the final weeks of taper to focus on maintaining a positive attitude. I slowly began stripping away my fear. I knew that I was not in control – God already had the race marked out for me. All I could do was give my best effort on the day. With a change of mentality, I was ready to race.
Race day finally arrived, and I felt relatively calm. The swim felt very long and I veered off course once, but thankfully a kayaker pointed me in the right direction. I also had some great company along the way (thanks Jennie.) Despite not being able to see the finish line, (thank you spectators for pointing me in the right direction), I managed to swim my fastest Ironman swim. I could not believe there were a bunch of pro bikes left!! That gave me confidence to start the bike.
My power meter failed to work, so I adapted, and went by feel. During the first loop I witnessed Jennie going down on the bike. I stopped to see if she was okay and she yelled she was fine. But I kept wondering where she was and when I did not see her the rest of the ride, I became nervous something was not right!
The rest of the bike I managed to stay super positive even when I was barely pedaling into the wind. I took in loads of Powergels, PowerBars, and 2 bottles of Ironman Perform per hour (it was hot and humid.) I got off the bike in tenth place. When I got off the bike, I realized that I had great pain in my left arm. I lacked range of motion and discovered later I had strained my bicep.
I turned my attention to the race, instead of my arm. There were about five girls within minutes of each other, and I told myself I just needed to be steady and keep to my nutrition plan. I loved the run course! The 7k loops really broke up the marathon and it was great to have so many spectators. My teammate Christine kept me smiling (best cheerleader ever!) I knew that I would have to fight if I was going to move up in the field and not let the other girls pass me. I told myself I would not settle and strove for the best I had within me that day. I kept on pushing, kept on fighting, and kept on believing while telling myself the moments of pain were worth it. In the end, I ran myself up to 7th place.
I have enjoyed a month of debauchery which included baking about 15 dozen batches of Christmas cookies! My exercise over the last month has consisted of walks with friends, snow-tubing with my nieces, discovering new running trails, and taking fun fitness classes with my friends. It has been a much needed physical break (say goodbye to amenorrhea) and mental break as well. I have enjoyed spending more quality time with my family and friends, as well as eating not so healthy foods. 🙂
I am so grateful for my amazing sponsors who enable me to compete with the best equipment. I am so thankful for my coach, trainers, massage therapist, and PT, for helping me get the best out of myself this year. Lastly, thank you to my parents for their incredible support.