Reflections on the 2009 season

The past two racing seasons have been challenging ones, both physically and mentally. I felt due for a great season after 2008’s disappointing one. While I did have some great races and overcame some great hurdles, I feel a little disappointed about not having completed my second Ironman race.

The season started out really fun with some short-distance races. They were hard and so much faster than the pace I was used to training at. But they were really fun. I enjoyed them a lot and feel like it might be interesting to focus on short-distance sometime. As Ironman Coeur d’Alene came closer, I felt more and more ready. I don’t think I’ve ever been in that good of shape. I achieved my goal weight and I was feeling confident and comfortable on long rides and long runs (I pretty much always feel comfortable in long swims).

When I didn’t finish Coeur d’Alene due to who-knows-what (the doctors still don’t know what caused my seizure and numbness) I was extremely disappointed. While I know that it was not in my control and for some reason my body shut down, I know that it was not because I didn’t train enough. Maybe it was the cold day or maybe my mind/body didn’t want me to finish. However, the longer-term effects were pretty harsh.

After IM CDA, I jumped right into another one. I wanted to complete an Ironman. I had heard about the Desert Half Iron in Oliver and knew that it was pretty much a sure-thing to qualify for Ironman Canada. I didn’t know why that was until I was actually in the race. I have never experienced a more physically and mentally challenging course. It boasts the most difficult half Ironman in Canada. I believe it. Getting through that race was my biggest accomplishment of the season, and maybe of my life.

Once I had qualified for IMC, I felt so grateful. I knew I could do that race, I just needed to keep training. That’s when the wheels started to fall off. Training. After the Desert half I was exhausted. I got out of the habit of training and I lost my momentum. I didn’t want to go on 4+ hour bike rides, or 2+ hour runs, or even 1+ hour swims. Instead I spent many hours relaxing with friends, playing with my dogs, and drinking beer. Each day I meant to train and each day I decided not to.

In August, I did the Waskesiu triathlon and had so much fun. I broke 4-hours, which I have only done a couple of times before. I thought it was a personal best for that race, but it wasn’t. That race went better than any other race in the past few years. I felt so comfortable throughout the whole thing, even though I was working hard. I finished at a sprint and had absolutely no pain throughout the run (that’s always a feat for me). It was great. I felt strong. I felt that inspite of not training I could maybe do Ironman. But Ironman was 3-4x the distance of that race.

Well, you have already read about my decision not to do Ironman Canada. Since then I have continued to have mixed feelings about not doing the race. I’m disappointed, but relieved. I have decided that next year I am going to focus on shorter races (half Ironman distance and shorter) and do some volunteering for some local races. I am going to take some time off from Ironman. I am going to keep it in mind, but I’m not going to pressure myself. If it seems like a good idea in a couple of years, then I’ll do it. Otherwise, I’m just going to chill out about it.

This winter I am going to be doing some coaching and training and getting the rest of my life in order. I’ll keep you posted on my training!

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