Race Reports: Ironman Texas and Ironman Coeur d’Alene
“Did I build this ship to wreck?”
Florence + The Machine
My goal this season was to qualify for the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. My long term goal is continuing improvement culminating in a podium spot at Kona.
I failed short term, but I am a significant step forward long term. And no, I am not rationalizing getting my ass kicked. Patience grasshopper.
I worked harder this season to build the best engine possible. I know I achieved that goal. I have never been fitter. I discovered as I chase millimeters that the risk can outweigh the reward. I have to be willing to build the ship to wreck. The risk in my case turned out to be my Achilles heel. Literally. Or some other special tendon in my foot.
Right before Texas, it flared. I was limping like Igor walking around the castle. Even the lifeguard at the pool asked what happened to my leg. I considered bailing on Texas with a DNS. I didn’t. The run was painful and slow. I spend the first lap considering a DNF. I spent the next two laps considering retirement. I finished seventh.
Coach Marilyn Chychota and I decided to do a short bridge and roll Coeur d’Alene. I hoped that I would recover and I could use my engine to grab a slot. The prospect of a cooler race was exciting. It is now obvious I can’t have anything nice. My mere presence guaranteed the race entering the Surface of the Sun Series. I apologize to my fellow competitors for the ridiculous temps that day.
My leg was better but continued to be a limiter. I finished fifth.
How did I improve long term? I had the third fastest bike in my age group at Texas and Coeur d’Alene. I attribute this to Marilyn’s work this winter and my incredible Dimond bike. To reach my goal at Kona, there is no margin of error. I have to bring my best in all three sports. Finally improving my cycling is a huge step. And I proved it on a relatively flat course and a hilly course.
The next step is getting healthy. I race again in September at Redman to qualify for long course worlds. Please tell me how today a race is named Redman? And USAT selected it as the race for long course worlds in 2016???
After Redman I roll another three IM season with Louisville. I need to prove to myself that I can have a great bike and a great run. In the the same race. On the same day.
Thoughts on Couer d’Alene:
Wonderful community. Beautiful race venue. Clean and clear lake with surrounding forests and beautiful blue skies. The swim is slow due to congestion and the ride rolls. The run is fair and challenging.
It was brutally hot. And the race organizers were unprepared and unfortunately, 1 in 5 participants dropped out. If they consulted the race director’s at Texas, Muncie and Louisville they could have reduced the DNF rate by:
- Overstocking aid stations on the bike.
- Adding an aid station on the bike.
- Making T2 on the grass and not asphalt.
- Stocking all aid stations on run with ice. One never had ice!
- Changing the run course to three loops to condense aid stations.
- Marilyn Chychota for elevating my game year after year.
- My team MD Dr. David Fletcher (now a 70.3 Finisher!)
- My wife KT. She reminds me to enjoy this ride. As long as I can. She points out often that it may not last forever.
- Team Dimond for building an incredible bike and a community of support.
- Endurance Corner where I get to “live the dream” with people that understand the dream.
- My host family in Couer d’Alene. The Lien’s were kind enough to share their home and their Canadian lifestyle with me. I learned to add a ue to most words.
- My friends who let me share adult beverages with them post-race. Hard to be disappointed when you can’t stop laughing.
Now I take a significant mid-season break. Soon back to building my ship. Continuing to learn how to wreck it. In the right way!
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