The pain I went through to finish the race is something that I never want to relive again. It was a hard decision to compete in the race and a big part of me wishes that I could have a do-over moment to approach the situation differently. With a flawless season leading up to my first Ironman (IMFL 2006), I figured if it worked the first time around, I don't need to change anything but instead, do more to be more competitive.
A lesson learned the hard way.
I guess at the age of 24, when you win your age group at your first Ironman by 50 minutes and nearly break 11 hours, life seems perfect.
Over the past 5 years I have had a chronic lingering injury that constantly reminds me of my inability to address my weaknesses and to learn from my mistakes. To make matters worse, despite finishing 2 more Ironman's and several running races and triathlons since then, my body gave me one more wake up call in Feb 2011, just 8 months before I was to head on a plane for Hawaii, for my 5th Ironman, the Ironman World Championships. Three months of absolutely no running, thanks to a body that could not manage training, a dietetic internship and lots of stress.
I am reflecting on all of this because I have learned a lot in my racing career as a triathlete. At the young age of 30, I have put my body through a lot and I want to ensure 50+ more years of crossing finishing line. I love having goals and having my only limiter in a race, be my mind. I hate being in pain and wasting my days on earth when I am injured, thinking to myself "if only I would have....."
This year there was not one "would have".
There were also no: I shouldn't, this is bad/not good, oops or this sucks.
This was the year of training smarter to train harder. I picked my races very carefully so that I could taper and recover properly in order to race strong and keep my body healthy for consistent training. I did not take chances with my training, if it didn't feel right, I didn't do it. And because of all this, I trained super hard but knew that with the right structure and emphasis on recovery, I could handle it.
This was the year to show Karel that I can race stronger, smarter and faster than the athlete who was neive at 24, who thought that training for endurance races meant lots of weekly miles and that triathlons was my life, the only reason why I was put on this earth.
This was the year to show others that quality training works when you dedicate your energy to other areas in your life (daily diet, sleep, sport nutrition, stretching, massage, strength training, recovery methods, positive attitude, mental strength) besides just focusing on the miles.
This was the year to give my body a break from the Ironman distance and to focus on my weaknesses and build off my strengths. Above all, I wanted to prove to myself that I can balance triathlons with life and find success, positivity and life lessons after every training session and after every race.
This was a great year. Thanks Body. It wasn't easy and it required a lot of patience, time and trust but I really enjoyed the journey.
2013 Ironman Lake Placid.
I can't wait until next year.
5K: Spa Me 5K, St. Johns County, FL 19:52 (2012) - Overall female winner
10K: Rotary 10K, Trinity, FL 40.09 (2011), Overall female winner
15K: Gate River Run, Jacksonville, FL 1:05.2 (2010)
Half marathon: Subaru Half, Jacksonville, FL 1:31.51 (2011)
Half marathon: Iron Girl Clearwater 1:33.25 (2012) - Overall winner
Marathon: Miami Marathon, Miami, FL 3:38.28 (2005)*, first marathon
Olympic Distance: Jacksonville Tri Series #3, Fernandina Beach, FL 2:15.21 (2012)
Half Ironman: Rock n' Rollman Macon, GA 5:04.56 (2010)
Half Ironman: Branson 70.3: 5:19.02 (2012)***, Overall amateur female winner, age group course record.
Ironman #1 (IMFL): 11:00.47 (2006) **, 1st age group, first Ironman
Ironman #2 (Ironman World Championships): 12.26.58 (2007)
Ironman #3 (IMKY): 10:54.45 (2009), 7th age group
Ironman #4 (Wisconsin): 10:57.53 (2010)**, 4th age group
Ironman #5 (Ironman World Championships): 11:02.14 (2011)
|Lessons learned: Do not swallow ocean water, keep your mouth closed. Get to the outside of a mass swim start. Prepare your mind for the "what if" moments, don't go out too hard on the bike, IM medals aren't just given away, you earn it.|
11/11 Rotary 10K, Trinity, Florida – 40.09, overall female winner PR
11/11: Subaru Half Marathon – 1:31.51 – 4th 25-29 age group PRRace Report
|Lessons learned: hold back the first 3 miles and don't go out too fast, don't overlook the importance of consistent fuel in a long distance running race, race warm-ups are essential, local races are a lot of fun, Karel is not normal|
2/12: Donna 26.2 Half Marathon – 1:35.22 – 5th 25-29 age group
|Lessons learned: make sure your gel flask is closed at all times, be grateful for every finish and run for those who can't, to avoid making excuses or complaining about race day conditions, race alone, your worst day may be someone's best day|
3/12: Clermont Triathlon – 2:24.56 – 1st 30-34 age group, 8th female overall
4/12: Iron Girl Half Marathon – 1:33.25 – Overall finisher
|Lessons learned: 5Ks hurt, you don't need to "train" after a race, for short distance races be sure to stretch more, speed work pays off with endurance training, do a long warm-up for a running race|
5/12: Coliseum Rock n’ Rollman – 5:08, 5th overall female, 4thElite female
8/12: Jax Tri Series #3: 2:15.21- 1st 30-34 age group, 4th overall female PR
|Lessons learned: Training w/ someone faster than you makes you push harder,running strong off the bike is a great feeling but it still hurts around mile 4, don't be afraid to take risks when racing, Karel is not normal|
9/12: Branson 70.3: 5:19.02- 1st overall amateur female, 1st 30-34 age group, course record