It was a mixed bag last weekend. Wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It has been a great year of training, details taken care of and I was in the right head space heading into it. From purely a results perspective I will admit that it was disappointing to come 4th. From an effort and mental stand point I couldn’t be happier.
I think I re-learned a valuable lesson in sport, you can only focus on the things within your control. At the end of the day the place you end up is slightly out of your control. You never know what the competition is going to bring to the table and you never really know how the race is going to unfold. What you can control is your own mental and emotional state and your physical effort. I did a good job of focusing on those things and in hindsight I will say it was probably the best possible outcome and that on the day I was simply beaten by guys who brought a stronger game to the table.
I had a lack luster swim, definitely not off to a great start but in Ironman this is usually the least of your worries. You have to settle into the bike and get your head around the day which I did very quickly. I’m a big believer that you have to stay within your own effort especially early on or it bites you in the ass at about hour 7. I did this well despite having to mentally get over the fact that the lead female was basically riding the same pace and every time I happened to glance behind me the lead car was only about 200m behind me. Theresa showed on the weekend that her work with Brett Sutton is obviously paying off with incredible dividends and I was in awe of her entire race. I will admit that I had to decide with some mental fortitude that I would stay on pace regardless of whether she went by me or not. I was riding within my effort and was certain I was still on track. It was less a case of my own riding and more a testament to how well Theresa is riding so my hats off to her.
There were some discouraging moments for sure on Sunday. I got off the bike in 23rd or something like that with a massive deficit. A deficit that even I know is too large to make up on most people. I can tell you there were moments that i was looking for reasonable excuses to pull the plug. But Ironman is a game of patience and you have to honor that rule so I gave it a chance and starting running the miles. When my mile splits started coming back the tides turned slightly and I was given my first sign of hope all day. I was running sub 6′s and having to force myself to slow down which is a good sign and better than the other way around…..a massive tail wind helped the cause as well. It’s not hard to do the math and I figured that it was definitely possible to salvage the day and if guys started to blow up then who knows how far up I might go………and as corny as it may sound, when you have a kid you start to realize the importance of all those cliches…..what would I tell Finn in this situation? “That you never give up, that you keep running, that you do your best, that you trust in the plan…..and at the end of the day you need to look back and be able to say that you gave it your best shot”……..it’s cheesy but there is truth in it.
I ran from 23rd to 4th and got dam close to 3rd. It took everything I had to do it and I faded in the back 6 miles big time but I managed to salvage the day and was proud of the effort. It turns out that most of the guys had gone too hard on the bike in my estimation. There were only two run splits under 3 hours which is rare. As for Jordan, well what do you say, I don’t think there are many athletes in the world that would have beaten him on Sunday and even on my best day I think I would still be tipping my hat. It was an impressive performance all round on a tough bike day. People rave about his biking ability but to be honest I’m more impressed with how far his swim/run has come…….it’s a complete package and that’s why he laid down an 8:25 and won by 15 minutes.
And Theresa I will say landed a day of equal brilliance. Two Ironman wins in 5 weeks and a performance on Sunday that I have no doubt would have put her in the lead off the bike in Hawaii. A year ago there is no way she could have done this. She has stepped up big time and it was awesome to witness……at times a little too closely mind you:)
The best part of the weekend was the efforts of the team. Dina back on track with Ironman and in a great head space. Chris, no longer and Ironman virgin did an awesome job. And of course I’m blown away with the Race4MS team who collectively raised over $100,000 and all finished with great times www.race4ms.org
Next up Hawaii and surprisingly I’m motivated……tired physically but motivated….perhaps for some kind of redemption but more a chance to have my best effort on the biggest stage and see what that gets me.