For the Bike and Run click here
70.3 miles. Seventy point three miles.
Seems like a long way. Hell, even in a car it's a good drive. Especially in Hawaii.
So how do I feel now that I covered that distance swimming, biking, and running? Did I hate it? Is it ever going to happen again? Did I get that foolishness out of my system?
In order- Good, no, probably, no.
I fully expected to be done with this distance after this race. There were times during training when I would think, "I'll do this, but I think I'll better off sticking to Olympic distances for now." I don't feel that way anymore.
There was not one point out on the course where I thought to myself, "This is stupid. Why have I decided to put myself through this?" I've had that thought during both of the other distances. I think I big reason I didn't this time was because of my attitude going in. All I wanted to do was finish. No PR to set, because as long as I crossed the line I would set one. No way I'm going to place in my age group, so why worry about it? I wasn't sure if my foot was going to act up (it didn't), or if my stomach would (it didn't either). This took an enormous amount of pressure off.
I was worried before the race if my final preparation had been good enough. Instead of a real taper I spent the week before we flew to Big Island packing and moving out of our place. Not exactly great for recovery. I barely swam, barely rode, and hadn't run since the Honolulu Tri, and not for a week before that. I stressed about all those things before we flew out, when I had the time between stressing about moving and thinking about Dirtbag Fetus. But once we got there? What are you going to do? I had to have faith in my training.
That is really what it comes down to- Training. If you asked me what the hardest part of the race was, I would tell you it wasn't part of the race. It was the months leading up to the race, finding time in the predawn to swim, and then biking and running after teaching all day. Getting up early on weekends. Suffer in training so that the race hurts less.
You know one of the words I would use to describe the 70.3 miles that I never would have expected to use?
Swimming is always fun. But mass start swimming can be awful. This, with the big school of us all surging towards the same spot in the water, the crystal viewing, this was fun. My stroke clicked and it was all good.
|I don't know this guy, his picture was on the finisherpix page, and it perfectly shows how a lot of people feel about this race.|
|Just like the rest of us, one foot at a time. But really really quickly.|
The people we were with, Diesel and MamaSaid, the Grey and Second Favorite Wife (except you, Meg), are awesome and if you think having fun before a race doesn't play into how the race goes you're crazy and boring.
|Why am I making that face? Diesel just smacked the crap outta my sunburned shoulder|
|See? Friends! Fun! Ouch!|
|Burn (I'm not flexing!)|
|Other arm's tan. Cool, huh?|
And before we get ahead of ourselves, no I don't see a 140.6 in my near future. I'll probably do one at some point, but right now I don't have the time to train for one nor the inclination to hurt for 14 hours. Training for a full Ironman is a full time job and I don't want to commit to that.
Here is the most striking thing about finishing a 70.3 for me. I never once doubted I could finish. But that means I don't feel...different. Aren't you supposed to feel transformed after something like this? I knew that I could get to the finish line before time ran out. I knew I could put forth a good effort and give a good showing of myself. I knew that back in December. I believe the key to doing something like this is to not question once the choice has been made. Just Keep Moving Forward. Struggle and move forward. Fall and move forward. But do not question the choice once it's made. The Go is something I learned about myself back when I was a high school swimmer. I learned that I couldn't get faster mid-set. I would have to start fast and trust myself. Before I ever left the wall I would Commit To Go. And that was it. I applied the same idea to training for and completing this. I registered and the question was answered. I would Go. I would Go as hard as I could, as smart as I could. More people make a choice and commit to Go, there would be less unhappy people.
Thanks for sticking around for all of this. Who but me would spend thousands of words on one event?
Click on the link for the fifth and final part- Dirtbag vs The Olympian.