IM Florida 2012 Race Report
How do I begin a race report that is still so raw at times to talk about. I go from utter disappointment, to realizing that this is a part of the process, the journey and business of being a professional. I guess it's just time to "put on my big girl panties" and just type!
So - after the World Championships and being sick in Kona I obviously wanted to use my body to its greatest potential and go after IM Florida with vengeance. I wanted redemption for what I wasn't able to put together in Kona. Especially with my bike/run combo. I was able to still put together a great bike split in Kona, but my body wasn't able to run due to a chest infection. So - after getting better and rested I headed to Florida determined to do my very best physically on that course that I love so much.
Leading into the race I had several race commitments that took me away from relaxing more than what I would like. In the 2-3 days leading into the race I was required to attend 7 functions. It might not seem like a lot, but it's a hour her, 2 hours there and it does require your energy, attention and adds stress to be here and there on time on top of taking care of your own last minute details for a race. Bottom line - I learned that that was too much and now know where my limit lies. Remember, while I was required to shake hands and chat with the masses, my competitors were chill-axing on their couches with their feet up…it makes a difference.
Race morning I felt great - cool, calm and excited to race. The air temps were higher than any other year I have raced (this was my 5th start in a row). I found that getting into the water it was going to be a choppy swim heading out to the first turn buoy. Rough, it was. This was definitely a tougher swim to deal with over last year. I unfortunately was slower by 3-4 min than last year which frustrated me, but after the swim, you HAVE TO put that performance on the shelf and move on to the next obstacle. I was excited that there were several other Pro female bikes still racked when I got to my bike! Yeah - not the last one out of the water! BONUS!
Getting out on the bike, I was super calm and even though I heard there was a 14-15 min gap bt me and first, I remained calm. I took the first 10 miles to wake up my legs and gain control of my hydration, start salt intake and take a swig of my gel. Computers on, timer on my watch on…check, check, check! By mile 10-15 I started the passing of chicks….always feels good when the prey are hunted down - that feeling NEVER gets old! My instruction was to stay bt 190-215 watts, but, in all honesty I was delivering 220-235 with ease. I tried really hard to not wrap myself around the numbers and go back to what "feels" right as I have done for years…what felt right to me was holding 220s. I'll need to download my Power tap to see the official results - but killing the bike with a PR split of 4:46 - I'm proud of that. And yes, I had an official sitting around me all day so clean riding was in order!
By the midway point of the ride I was excited to get a new coke out of my Special Needs bag as well as take a few chugs out of my can of Red Bull. Every 10-15 min I was taking in sips of my gel flask and every 30 min I would take in 1 salt tab. Around mile 70 I started feeling the effects of the race - neck, arms were getting achy - but legs were pumping like pistons! Had to reinforce cola into my body and gels - but right around mile 80 I knew I needed to get in the calories and was under, but the thought of eating just wasn't and usually isn't desirable. This is something I really need to examine preseason and figure out! Do I need to start incorporating CARBO PRO or something similar into my bottles so calories are going in but I don't' have to worry about eating them. The last 2 races (Kona and Florida) I craved water all day, but drinking the perform (even watered down) wasn't appealing. It tasted too strong and didn't feel like it was "sitting" right - nothing that made me sick, but definitely drinking coke or even Red Bull seems to work better for me later in the bike. By around mile 100 I was feeling the effects of riding hard and trying to gather my head around the marathon. I knew I went into the well during the bike, but nothing too badly, just wasn't as fresh as I'd like to be leading into the run. I followed my usual routine the last 7-5 miles of the bike where I think about the first 3-4 miles of the run and how I'm going to feel and what I'm going to try to run out of T2. I visualize getting off my bike, handing it off, running into T2, grabbing my bag, putting on my shoes, asking for a volunteer to put on my bib while I'm slipping on my shoes, etc. I was mentally in a pretty good place, but knew I was far off of 1st and 2nd place and had a large number of girls nipping at my heels going into T2. I'll admit, I was afraid that I had really rode harder than I probably should have and expended a lot of energy only to get frustrated watching how much drafting was going on as I passed and how much drafting continued after I passed. These girls had ultra fresh legs going intuit the marathon - bottom-line.
Onto the marathon I felt strong and looked solid. I was out of T2 very quickly (around a 2 min T2 time) - and off I went trying to maintain a smart first 3 miles. I have a tuff time settling into a smart time right out of the gate as I'm excited to be running, I'm going past so many awesome fans and I look down at my watch and sure enough - it says, 6:15. TOO FAST! So, I try to slow down and next mile says 6:20-6:25…again…too fast. Mile 3, 6:35….ok…now that's a little better, but you're gonna pay in this heat (it was a good 82-85 degrees with no shade on the course, so, being conservative early on would be smart…well - right around mile 3-4 I hear these tiny little foot steps coming and WHOOSH - Rinny FLYS past me as if I'm standing still…she's cruising past me on a 6:00 pace and I was going 6:20 at the time and it felt like I was standing still…it sucked. It brought me down a notch - I'm not going to lie, that deflated me a bit and it's something I need to work on mentally. I'm so accustomed to passing, passing, passing chicks all day long. Very few actually pass me. So, how do I still stay mentally tough and confident if/when this happens? I've faced being re-passed on the bike before and I'm been smart and confident enough to not get caught up in that game and stay true to my ride and my race…I always think to myself - I'll get her on the run…no problem. But, on the run if I'm passed…how do I stay cool, calm and not allow the negative thoughts to enter? I tried to say to myself, "Just run YOUR race - let Rinny do her thing - you can't control her, only yourself and it's very early in the race."
By mile 6.5 of the run I was feeling like I had a good rhythm, but no where near "my running capabilities" - I couldn't pinpoint what was wrong with me on the run yesterday. It was very frustrating and the only thing I can honestly tell you that I think it was was my fear of the girls behind me creeping up on me and coming with their fresh legs. By the turn around I knew I would be able to see there turn over and it brought me back to that ugly place I was in at IM Canada 2010.. Same freaking thing happened. I wasn't feeling good, they looked amazing and I mentally fell apart. I continued on and by mile 11 I was getting very hungry - putting in cola and some pretzels were pretty much the only calories I was craving. By mile 14 I got some Red Bull from my special needs bag and that tasted great! However, I think my energy debt was settled in and I was starting to really slow down. I kept feeling more and more lethargic as the race progressed and I was getting dizzy. By around mile 17 I remember going thru an aid station and feeling cold/chilled. By mile 20, I just wanted to fall asleep. I put my hands on my knees and said to a volunteer, "Can I just sit down for a bit?" Down I went and I started shivering and again, all I wanted to do was lay down and fall asleep. Next thing I knew I was being asked a million questions and was getting my vitals taken. Blood sugar level plummeted to 64 and according to the medics if you go under 100 you're getting in a danger zone. Into medic tent I went for an IV - I quickly got wrapped in blankets and was getting fed pretzels and chicken broth. Again, all I wanted to do was sleep - but those damn medics just keep asking you questions! (I realize they do that for a reason, but, man I felt like saying, "Shhhh - leave me alone!"
Needless to say I got my vitals under control and my body started coming around and then the disappointment started settling in. All I could think about was that I disappointed so many people in the last 3 weeks. It's a tough pill to swallow and I know that that is not something I can control or shouldn't even consider, let's be honest, we're "Type A" personalities and are our own worst enemy.
In all honesty, I'm tired. More emotionally and mentally than physically. Physically I love training, I love the cycles that triathlon takes my body thru. I'm accustomed to waking up, training, eating, training, napping, training, etc. But, the mental and emotional toll the last 5-6 weeks I've had to go thru has been tough. Let's face it, it's been a long season, especially with trying to gear up for IM NZ and Melbourne. But, in the last 5-6 weeks I started doubting my abilities a little when it came to landing in Kona and facing the competition. I wasn't afraid of going hard on the bike and run, but my swim is my weakest link by far and I HAVE to do something serious about it. That is my NUMBER 1 goal going into 2013. If I can drop some serious time from the swim - I'll be unstoppable and something very difficult to beat.
So, I think after disappointment you naturally go into "fix it" mode. I've evaluated what went right, what went wrong and what I need to sustain and improve upon. This is something I'm so used to doing from my Army days that it is engrained in me. I gotta look at the positive, gotta look at what went right and sustain it. Then I look at what went wrong and how to improve on those mishaps. Finally, I sandwich it all with the reminder that this is still only a sport and not everything in my life. That I've spent 3 months away from Kasey this year and I better learn from it all so that it's not all for nothing. Learn from you failures to succeed in the future. So, here are the things I really need to work on going into 2013:
2.) Mental stability on the run
3.) Believe and challenge myself to stay on feet during the swim and believe in my abilities on the beach right from the start.
4.) Decide what my plan is for 2013. I have a good idea of how I want to approach it. I believe my idea is smart and simple!
Ok - so, there's the honest to God truth on what's been going on in the head of dear 'ol Jess after this race. Hope you enjoyed and can help me out on this journey!