Ironman Louisville

Ironman Louisville and Future Season Plans

My race at Ironman Louisville did not go exactly as planned.  I chose this race as it was just over a four hour drive from home and the whole family would be able to attend.  A few days leading into the race, it still felt like summer with temperatures in the low 90s, but that was all about to change with fall crashing upon us a couple of days before the race.  

My main goal race morning was to keep my core temperature up as much as possible.  I biked down to the race in light rain and 45 degree temps.  I had my winter coat on, so I was able to stay warm.  I set up transition and made the mile walk down to swim start. I normally run about 1.5 miles before racing an Olympic distance race, but I wanted to be cautious not to expend too much energy.  The race was scheduled to start at 7:25 AM, but it was announced moments before the scheduled start that the race would be delayed until 8:00AM due to the lack of light.  Shortly after, it was announced that most of the swim would be cut and we were going to swim downstream 1500meters to transition.  The organizers felt that the current was too strong to swim upstream and it would be too challenging to get around the buoys.  

I was slightly disappointed that the swim would be cut short as I feel the swim portion is a strength of mine compared to other competitors, but I quickly refocused and studied the new swim course.  The water was 68 degrees, so it felt amazingly warm (compared to the air temperature).  We were to swim with all the buoys on our left.  After passing the first buoy, I realized that I had to swim horizontal to get around the next buoy.  Upon trying to round the buoy, I was slammed into it due to the fast current.  I then realized why the organizers changed the swim!  I exited the swim in front and it felt pretty short (it ended up being only 12 minutes, so it was quite a strong current).

My grave mistake during this race was made during the first transition.  My mentality in racing is to keep moving forward as quickly as possible and that was not the best mentality to have in this race (and not in Ironman racing).  I was struggling to get on some of my warm weather clothes, which I fully intended to put on prior to the race.  My race mind was saying, “Oh, don’t worry about it.  You are wasting time and you will be fine.”  So I raced out of transition not prepared for the elements.  I got on the bike and my legs felt great (muscles were probably numb!).  I knew about mile 10 that I should have put on my warm jacket.  I was getting cold.  It was raining pretty steadily and my arms and hands were beat red.   Around mile 20 I was wondering what this loud noise was and then I realized that it was my teeth chattering so loudly as I had never experienced that before.  My hands were beginning to turn white and I was trying to sprint up the hills, just to warm up my body.  I was very, very cold and I knew that I was in trouble.  I stopped at an aid station at mile 24 and asked for a coat.  A very kind mad gave me his jacket (it was a man’s XL, but I didn’t even care that it was a sail on me while cycling).   The jacket helped a little, but I was still unable to use my hands.  I could not work my electronic shifting and during one of the steep pitches on a hill, I was riding at 30 rpms, stuck in my biggest gear and almost falling over.  I ended up dismounting my bike and running up the hill.  Right before this moment is when I lost my lead and knew that this day was going to be about fighting to finish.  Right at the halfway mark, I hit the hills again and I was desperately trying to shift my bike.  Before I knew it, my hands slid right off my bike and I went down hard on my hip.  Some kind racers helped me up and volunteers told me medical was straight ahead.  At this point, I knew it would not be safe for me to continue.  I did not want to crash again and I didn’t think I would be able to run a marathon on a sore hip.  I was devastated that this was happening and frustrated in my own mistakes of not taking my time in transition.  

Congrats to all the athletes out there who raced and especially to the women’s winner, Jennifer Speildener who raced her first Ironman and punched her ticket to Kona.   It was awesome to see such amazing support from all the race volunteers and race supporters cheering on the athletes.  

After the race, I knew I did not want to end the season on this note. I learned greatly from this race that it’s important not to get caught up in the moment, stick to your race plan and change my transition mentality during Ironman racing.  All my career I have raced short course, where every second counts.  In long course racing, every second counts as well, but there are times that you need to slow down in order to have a successful race later.  Lessons learned!

The past couple of weeks I have been figuring out what I want to do next.  I wanted to give my hip several days to recover before trying any training.  Last week, I wanted to test out some longer training sessions and see how my hip held up during the training and recovery.  My hip is feeling much better now, so I feel that I am able to make a final decision.  I have decided to end the season with Ironman Cozumel on November 18th and will be ready to tackle another race.  

Thank you to everyone for the continued support.  I had a great weekend with the kids at Halloween parties, Six Flags, soccer games and playing at parks.  Now I am ready to tackle another training week and prepare my mind and body.  

Happy Halloween!


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