I completed my fifth Ironman race on September 20, 2014. I finished the 140.6 miles in 14 hours and 2 minutes. Overall, the day was nearly perfect – the weather was mild and my parents plus a couple good friends were there to support me. The course played to my strengths – and I crushed the flat bike course in 6 hours and 21 minutes – almost 30 minutes faster than my best time for 112 miles.
Unfortunately, somewhere between the end of the bike and start of the run, I lost my focus and slogged through the 3 loop, 26.2 mile run. I crossed the finish line feeling ill. In fact, just after my finishing photo was snapped, I began vomiting.
The illness continued for 2 days post-race and my dismal run performance left me questioning why I was doing all this training and racing. Had I reached my the limits of my physical capacity? Did I have to resign myself to being a horrible runner? Was it time to hang up the Ironman medals and call it done? Was Ironman Maryland my 5th and final Ironman?
Before I reveal those answers, here are few more highlights from race day.
Loved: The timed swim start and a good temperature.
Hated: The Delaware Choptank river lived up to its name. The swim was choppy and long. My swim time was so much slower than usual, it did entice me to read through the race chatter on Slow Twitch to find out if the course was long or it was all current related. In the end, tough to say…but at least many felt the same and I placed well with the slow time.
Learned: Times can be relative based on conditions and the overall field of competitors.
Time: 1:19:59 Placement: 13/59 age group, 80/394 women, 390/1380 overall
Loved: Flat, flat, flat course! So fun and fast. Perfect for my strengths as a cyclist and all my training rides in California on the Silverado trail paid off! My fastest time yet at 6:21.
Hated: Wind. On the second loop, a slight headwind picked up and made the final, always grueling 20 miles, that much tougher.
Learned: Training on terrain similar to the course really pays off.
Time: 6:21:19 Placement: 26/59 age group, 204/394 gender, nothing remarkable overall. ;
Loved: Nothing much this time around…except maybe seeing all my Ironman staff buddies. After years on the triathlon scene as a participant, volunteer, race staff member, and entrepreneur, I’ve got a strange little group of acquaintances who are actually running each race.
Hated: The endless out and back loops. The cobblestone section of the street. Myself for not taking my bottle of scratch from transition. Missing seeing my support crew on the first loop.
Learned: Some days you just don’t have anything there to push. No matter the games I played (run the the aid station then walk or run 5, walk 1), I couldn’t get into the groove and run. It’s OK. What’s most important is you still figure out a way to get it done – and I did.
Time: Let’s not talk about it, ok?
Was Ironman Maryland my 5th and Final?
After 2+ years off of long distance racing, lots of time focused on running (thanks to the Heartbreak Hill Running Club in Boston), and an upcoming milestone birthday….IM Maryland will not be my last race.
I signed up for Ironman Lake Placid 2018! Time to go back to where it all began: Where I fell in love with long distance racing, challenged myself in ways I never expected, and built a community that now stretches from DC to Boston to San Francisco and back.
No need to resign myself to being done. I’d rather end my Ironman career with purpose and a party. Look for more posts starting in 2018.