Here we are…almost a week post IM Cabo. I’m back in Charlotte, which means COLD temps, stark reality and plenty of time over the past week to digest my thoughts on the race. I’ll start and end with my positive thoughts. 🙂
Most importantly, I am proud of myself. I’m proud that I pushed through months and months of pain and trained my ass off for this race in shitty conditions. I’m proud that I had the guts to start the race knowing the pain I would later be in with my foot (and the race in general as Ironman hurts for everyone!) And most of all, I’m proud that I finished. It was the toughest day of my life, hands down (blows any other Ironman I’ve done out of the water), and I didn’t quit. In fact, despite how tough the course and race were at times, I never had one single thought of quitting. And for that I have to hold my head high.
But…there’s always a “but”.
1. I am better than my performance
2. I know I have a ~3:40 marathon off my bike in me
And I’m dying to unleash it! I am so beyond ready to have a good race, it’s killing me! Being who I am, I am not satisfied with just completing the race. Proud, yes…satisfied, no. A fellow athlete on the course said to me as he set out for his first lap of the run and I was coming around on my third “oh you have nothing to worry about, we have almost 5 hours to finish this race”. On one hand, I respected his willingness to get out there with the goal to finish before the cutoff. I give the 17 hour Ironman a LOT more credit than the 9 hour Ironman in all honestly. 17 hours takes a lot of mental fortitude and takes guts in itself to get out there with the risk you might miss the required time. On the other hand, I had a strong urge to punch him in the face. Didn’t this guy know I don’t race to make the cutoff! I am not wired that way! Like anything in life, I race to do the best I can do, be the best I can be and this race was no different. There is no possible way for me to train day in and day out, for 5-6 months, with one race in mind, not do what you set out to do, and not feel disappointed not achieving your goals. It’s human nature and it’s absolutely Kim – nature.
On the flip side, there was a lot of race chatter after the race as there always is. Here are some comments I heard that have helped with my overall feelings of disappointment since crossing the finish line over 90 minutes hours slower than I hoped (key word, helped):
1. Nearly 40% of participants did not finish
2. “This race was as hard or harder than Kona”
3. I didn’t meet or talk to one single person after than race that finished in their goal time (I’m certain there were some, but no one I spoke to).
4. One girl took 8:30…to complete the bike course alone. She rode +/- 6 hours in her previous 4 IM’s.
5. “The race was more brutal than ___ (5, 7, 13) other Ironman’s I’ve done”
6. “The bike course was the hardest course I’ve ever ridden”
7. “What happened to ‘flat run course’?”
8. “I thought it was supposed to be 70-75 degrees?”
9. “Where did those waves come from?”
Fact is, I had a really, really bad “run” and still finished pretty darn well in my age group and actually, overall. But when it’s all said and done, completing the race is what matters. I still have my Ironman fire and goals, but for now I have memories of 140.6 miles that I carried myself in some of the toughest conditions I’ve been in to date without quitting. I balled my eyes out hanging my medal on my rack today – a similar feeling I had while crossing the finish line. This one took all I had, but I earned it!