So Ironman #13 is in the books. Didn't turn out like I'd hoped... It wasn't all bad and I'm trying to see the positives while also figuring out how to move forward. Here's how the day went down from my perspective!
The swim at Palmilla Beach is awesome. Super nice ocean venue, water was pretty calm/glassy as expected though we encountered a little chop on the home stretch. It was indeed a running beach start and those are just complete batshitcrazy chaos and I was nervous about it. Watch this video and you'll see why I never found Nalani's feet like I was hoping!! Turned out fine though... I had physical combat only for maybe a minute where it was ugly and then I was totally alone (swimming way wide on the right side) all the way to the first turn buoy where I melded into a decent sized group. Didn't see any other orange caps- all green as far as I could see which meant I was surrounded by men. At times I felt frustrated that I couldn't get around these guys- drafting felt too easy an effort but I tried like 3x to move off to the side and bridge up to another group... but each time I did that all I ended up doing was working harder but wasn't actually going faster. Eventually I conceded and just eased up, cruising mid-pack with this group. I came out of the water and saw 57' which was fine- I thought I was fit enough to swim faster but whatever...
The bike was quite a bit more challenging than any of us knew. To be honest, I freakin' LOVED it. I passed Julie ~15 minutes into the race and just like that I was leading the age group women at Ironman Los Cabos!
I knew I was riding well. I'd started my watch and I knew the course wasn't going to be fast so I didn't stress about how long it was all taking. If it was taking me a long time it was taking everyone else a long time too and I was comfortable with that. I'd definitely say I enjoyed the airport section more than the corridor section, but primarily b/c I was trained to just hold steady Ironman power and the corridor section was way more over/under type efforts on the steeper hills. Even though the climb to the airport was long and slow, it was steady so it suited me better. And the headwind on the way back also suited me. I actually enjoyed the last section of headwind possibly the most of the whole race! I felt like I just got stronger as I went, I knew I'd had a solid ride even if my split looked slow for a normal 112 miles, and my energy/mental state was good so heading into T2 I thought *maybe* I'd actually be able to run?? I had hope anyway. :)
If I'm honest I'd say that deep down I knew I was not fully physically prepared for this marathon. I didn't elaborate on the state of my injury going into this race b/c I don't ever want to put out an excuse before the race even starts... like here's my excuse of why I'm not going to do well... I hate that! In good news both my hip and my foot were fine by the start of race week but for the 6 weeks prior I'd been managing them to the point where I had to cut back quite a bit on running overall (I replaced that training time with swim/bike and it showed!)... I was hoping maybe my overall fitness and a strong/positive mental state (and some sparkle magic!!) would carry me through the marathon but it did not. I got through ~9 miles avg ~9' pace which was my goal. Def didn't feel super but still had hopes I could will myself to keep it up.
So there you go. Many (probably everyone except my coach and me) might say I biked too hard... My take is that I just didn't have the specific muscular endurance I needed to run a decent marathon. I think I could have biked 10' slower and I still would not have had a great marathon on Sunday. My stomach was fine the whole time... I took in gels and coke and gatorade and water and e21 and vespa totally to plan so it was not an energy issue- it was 100% muscular. Unfortunately I am not a natural runner- though I do believe that I can run a ton better but in order to that I have to run often and a lot. When I'm running often and a lot, my run gets better! When my run training is limited, it goes to shit! #rocketscience
Of course I was disappointed at the finish, though some of that feeling was muted when I found out that Patrick killed it all day, finishing in 10 hours flat with an Ironman marathon PR and placing 3rd in his age group with a spot to Kona! Super proud of him and happy about his hard work paying off! Armando pulled off a great performance relative to the training he was able to put in this cycle (10:40)... so he was very pleased. Nalani had the fastest amateur female swim split on the day (again!) and gritted her teeth through the marathon for 6th in her age group after the hills on the bike course nearly did her in... And Lou had a swim PR and a solid bike... still figuring out nutrition on that marathon but after he puked for a few miles he finished strong and motivated- top 25% of his age group. :)
Nearly a week later I'd say my head is in a pretty good spot. Coach has been supportive and said he has a plan for me going forward (he now understands the gravity of the situation when it comes to me and running!!) so I'll be spending a lot of quality time with my trigger point set trying to make sure I avoid the injury issues that plagued me this training cycle so I can train consistently in the coming months. I'm not giving up. One of these times I am going to figure out that damn Ironman marathon that has eluded me thus far! GAH!