I signed up for this race again although I swore that I would never do another race with ‘mountain’ in the name. However, the timing of this race is perfect for an October Ironman triathlon. I was thinking about going back to race Ironman Louisville for redemption. However, as the season wore on and my training wasn’t consistent, especially with riding hills, I decided to instead race Ironman Maryland again. Michael Shipley signed up to race Poconos also, so it was a GO.
Pre- race: The day got off to an unexpectedly late start. We made it to the pre-race talk right on time and to transition in the nick of time to rack our bikes. We checked into our Air BnB with his teammate/girlfriend and then went on to meet his family for dinner. I saw some signs of my ‘monthly visitor’ and tried to pray it away.
Race day: I awakened before my alarm and discovered that my monthly visitor was indeed here. Lately the 1st day of my cycle is a day to curl up and remain in the fetal position. I tried to make myself eat, but could barely get anything down. I took some Midol, but it never seemed to kick in. I used the bathroom a few times and we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to the race site, so I could use it again. My tummy hurt, I couldn’t stop crying, and I just generally didn’t feel well. I got nauseous on the car ride to the race. I texted my coach and Lisa for some good race vibes. They both came back with tough talk and motivation, which only made me cry more. I made it to transition and I kept crying. I saw my coach Danny and got a hug and told him that I didn’t feel well, but I was going to take it one sport at a time. My nice transition neighbor told me that it would be okay and to just keep moving forward. I used the bathroom again and started to feel a little better. There was an area to warm up pre-swim, which was good so I could get acclimated to the chilly water. I ran back to get some tinted goggles and before long, it was time to hop in.
Swim: Not long after I got in, my chest started to feel tight. I tried to breathe every 3 strokes, like I normally do when I get into a groove, but that made me feel short of breath. (I also felt a little short of breath this morning, but I chalked that up to being in the mountains). I had a cramp like feeling in my chest and thought, “maybe I just have to burp”. I burped and the feeling didn’t go away. After awhile of swimming while being short of breath and having this cramp/tight like feeling in my chest, I decided that today wasn’t my day to race. My coach made me think of a phase that would get me through the dark moments of the race and to write that on my forearm. I wrote the words, “I WILL” on my forearm. I saw that a few times when I stroked. But my thought were, “I WILL FINISH THIS SWIM…. I WILL LIVE TO RACE ANOTHER DAY… I WILL LISTEN TO MY BODY AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SOMETHING IS JUST NOT RIGHT TODAY…. I WILL NOT PUT MYSELF IN JEOPARDY OF NOT MAKING IT HOME TO MY MAMA AND JUJU… I WILL BE OKAY WITH PULLING MYSELF FROM THIS RACE TODAY… I WILL TAKE CARE OF MYSELF TODAY AND THEN GET BACK TO TRAINING FOR IRONMAN MARYLAND”. I saw the swim exit and made a bee line for it, but missed the last turn. I was told that I had to swim back and make that turn. When I got out, I saw Michael’s girlfriend and told her that I was done and asked where the car was parked. This was my 18th (I think) triathlon and I have never pulled myself from a race. Today just wasn’t my day and I am 1000% okay with that. I saw my coach Danny and told him that I was done. He didn’t put up a fuss or ask any questions. He just said okay. I asked a staff member to take my timing chip, changed out of my wet clothes and I was OUT. Time: too long
Post race: I went to the Med tent and asked them to take my blood pressure. It was high for me, but not too high: 117/77 (I am usually 90’s over 60’s). My belly sounds and feels like there is an exorcist in it, my chest still doesn’t feel right. I took another dose of Midol and the cramps have started to subside. I don’t have one ounce of dissatisfaction with my race performance today. Today, I was smart. Today, I listened to my body and I live to race another day. Now, if my cycle comes down on the day of Ironman Maryland, I am not so sure how the day will play out differently. I just know that feeling short of breath with chest discomfort, and continuing to race was not smart.
After a couple of hours, I started to feel better and I went out to cheer on others. I texted my coach and told her that I was feeling better. She asked me if I could go out and run 13 miles, on the course in the opposite direction of the runners still racing. I felt up to it and took off. After about a 1/2 mile, I realized that I had changed into post race gear, which wasn’t a good idea to run in. I had on long pants and a cotton long sleeved shirt. I figured that if I got too hot, I could always just run in my sports bra, so I kept going. My body felt good, the hills weren’t too challenging and the athletes on the course were making jokes about me running the wrong way. It wasn’t too bad until I got close to the end of the 2nd loop of a 4 loop course. I started to feel light headed and remembered that I never ate after the swim and I didn’t have much for breakfast. They only had gels on the course and I needed food to ward off the lightheaded
feeling from not having enough nutrition in me. So, I called it. I ran 2 of the 4 loops and headed to get a Cliff bar from Daniella’s bag. What a shit of a training day! I’ve had to remind myself that today’s performance was not about ability, as I have raced this distance 4 times, to include this same race last year. Doubt starts to creep in when I don’t accomplish my goals. Today, my body was simply the boss of me. Total: 1.2 mile swim and 6.2 mile run.
Next up: Ironman Maryland. I WILL