A few thoughts on that. And, Bill, Uwharrie race report still to come!
The final decision to sit on the sidelines today and watch as competitors tackle the Ironman Cozumel course has been made. It was a difficult decision for me, an internal debate that went of for days. I weighed the pros and cons, often coming to a decision, then changing my mind a few hours later. There was no external pressure to do the race, and no coach or sponsor to let down. I can't explain what it was driving me to compete despite knowing I was undertrained and injured. Maybe a sense of pride? Maybe it was the financial commitment I had already put into the race? Or maybe it was just wanting the satisfaction of completing a hard event? But when it came down to it, I just couldn't give you a good reason why I wanted to do the race.
The window to train for Ironman Cozumel had been short having done the Uwharrie 100 (or at least most of it) just 6 weeks before and this timeframe was made even shorter by a knee injury that set me back another 3 weeks. By the time I was ready to start training, it was time to start tapering. I didn't appreciate how undertrained I was until we picked up our bikes in town and took them for a loop around the island. The Ironman Cozumel bike course consists of 3 of these loops, but after only one 40 mile loop I was ready to get off my bike. The start of the loop is pretty comfortable with a decent tailwind that pushes you along for the first 9 miles or so. But that tailwind quickly becomes a ferocious headwind as you hit the backstretch of the island. An average pace of 18 mph (not fast, but comfortable for a 112 mile bike) quickly dropped to 14.8 mph as I squished deeper into aero position and battled with the wind to maintain a measly 12-13 mph pace. It was exhausting. And this was only lap one. And, we stopped at a cute beachside bar to drink coconut water out of freshly cut coconuts.
Could I have done another two laps on the bike followed by a marathon and preceded by a 2.4 mile swim? Absolutely. I've done races on less training. Would it be smart? No, probably not. Hence my internal debate- to do or not to do a challenging race that would likely leave me more injured and out of commission for another month. The final decision came down to wanting to do more than just finish another race. I've done enough "challenging" races (IM Arizona, IM World Championships, Beach2Battleship IM, Umstead 100 x 2, Uwharrie 100, Escape from Alcatraz, UROC 100k, Blood, Sweat and Gears Century, etc) to know that I can "dig deep and gut out a race". But I'm hungry for more than that this year. I don't want to just show up to finish, starting an event with high expectations and watching those expectations fizzle out to "please, just let this be over" as the event wears on. Although that has gotten me through plenty of events that I am proud to have finished I want to go into my next event confident that I have what it takes for a podium finish. And with that, let the training begin!
Event plans for 2015: Qualify for the USA Powerlifting National Championships (becoming the first BKA to do so), qualify for the Boston marathon and qualify for the ITU World Paratriathlon Championships