I have never regretted doing a race, but in every race, there is always one moment (sometimes many) when I question what the hell I’m. Usually, it happens in the second half of a race, but yesterday it happened only 4 minutes in. I felt confident standing at the front of the starting line, but after swimming to the first buoy with the front guys, I suddenly realized I couldn’t catch my breath. I went out way too hard, and the compression on my chest from the wetsuit caused me to start to panic and come within seconds of quitting. All I could think about was getting out of the water and out of the wetsuit. Instead, I closed my eyes, started breast stroking, and taking deep breathes. After what felt like 10 minutes, I was able to regain my composure and start to swim. By the second lap, I was back on pace and felt strong to the finish.
I felt strong on the bike for the first 2.5 loops until I dropped my chain at the top of a short, but steep hill. At first, I was angry, panicked, but again I stopped. I hopped off the bike and was able to get it back on fairly quickly. While fixing my chain I had four guys pass me.
When I started the run I told myself I wouldn’t look at my pace for the first 5 minutes. When I looked and found that I was running much faster than it felt. From there my goal was to run as hard as I could without blowing up and to track down the guys that passed me when I was fixing my chain. It took four miles, but then there was the first, then the second, the third and finally the fourth guy.
Crossing the finish line at any race feels so good. Somehow all the pain somehow immediately drifts away.
I am coming away from this race with three lessons for my upcoming half Ironman 1) Start a little slower in the swim and build up my pace, as well as get a few more wetsuit swims in. 2) Do not use the magnetic eye shield on my aero helmet. I accidentally knocked it off while trying to rub my face. I will wear sunglasses for the race. 3) The body is stronger than your mind tells you. I believe the last year of ultrarunning, pushing beyond what I believe were my limits has increased my ability to push through my mind’s barriers…that voice telling me to get out of the water, slow down, walk, quit.
Well, it’s 29 days until Ironman Indian-Wells 70.3, and I can’t wait!
Thank you @felixcervantes for taking video!