Monday, October 29, 2007


So, well, here it is.

First of all, my heart just wasn't in it.

I've been feeling kind of burned out since Ironman Louisville. I know this because I've been looking for reasons not to do ones as they came up. I found them, most of the time. Even as I toed the start line, I just didn't feel like it.

I had a slow swim and went wayyyyy off of a course that was apparently as much as 300 meters long. That was somewhat discouraging. Also, during the swim, I got smacked, which happens, but when it happened I then choked on some water. Once I choke my asthma kicks in and starts producing lots of flem and I spend the rest of the swim trying to clear it out of my throat and windpipe, and my throat got sore, but that wasn't why I quit.

In t1, I used my inhaler. A lot. This may be why my heart rate wouldn't come back down later on. It was a long, slow bike. For some reason, even though there is a cutoff, they send off the women ages 30 and up last. Throughout the bike I felt my confidence and enjoyment lagging. My stomach felt bloated. I would wait until it felt less bloated and then drink some, but I know I wasn't drinking enough. I finished just in time, as usual. It was almost 1:00 when I reached mile 1 on the run.

At that time it was around 93 air temp, but 99 closer to the ground. My legs felt strong, but, every time I started running, I would heat up fast. There was no relief from it, and I knew that there was no shade to run in.
I started getting goosebumps, which means hyperthermia is on the way. I stopped at the first aid station and put ice in my bottles, and then ice in my bra, and when I stood up, got a sudden head rush that almost knocked me over. I was dehydrated.

I contemplated 12 more miles in the heat, even walking it seemed like a miserable prospect. Then, in a surprisingly unemotional moment, I said to myself, this isn't fun. I'm not enjoying this. This sucks.

I took a deep breath, walked over to a guy with a radio, and handed him my chip.

It was supposed to be a dramatic moment. But, he didn't know what to do with it. "I don't know what to do with this," he said, and handed it back. He asked if I wanted a ride back. Yes. I waited about 20 minutes for that, sitting in the shade, and considered briefly going back out onto the course.

No. I just didn't feel like it. I'd stopped having fun.

They asked if I needed medical attention. No, I said, but if I stay in this race, I will. Plus, I was hating every second of it. All my training for the heat was out the window since it was Autumn in New Mexico. I just wasn't used it.

Could I have finished safely? Probably - by walking 3 hours or more in the desert heat. Did I care enough to do it feeling miserable? No. I have a SOMA medal from last year. I don't have anything to prove. So, I headed back to the hotel for a shower.

So that's it. I got a ride back with fellow Outlaw Hartley, who pulled a muscle on the run. That sucks for him because it was his first half iron. I felt bad for Pirate, too, who had a mechanical failure and stood around forwever waiting for help. I'll let her tell you about that, in her time. Another fellow Outlaw, Seth, had a bad cramp and had to leave. But Sweet Baboo had a great race. I'll let him tell you about that.

So, I don't feel bad about it. It was a pragmatic decision. As many of you had pointed out, it wasn't fun anymore, so what's the point? I wasn't trying to win; I wanted to have fun, and I did, the night before at the dinner where I met Stronger, Momo, Commodore, and said howdy to several other bloggers: Duane (who finished the quarterman!) Bolder, 21st century Mom, and many more. I enjoyed that. I didn't get to meet Nytro, but am MUCHLY impressed by her 3rd place finish among the Athenas.

One thing I did learn, though. If I'm going to do more triathlons, I really, really need to work on my bike. The Royal Gel seat cover that Pirate found was great. This winter, I'll be doing lots of strengthening stuff that I think will help. Lunges, squats, and such.



  1. Sounds like you made the decision that was best for you in the long run. No need to risk injury or worse (especially in that heat).

    I'm sure that you will do great at IMCDA, especially with some more bike work under your belt - even though you despise the bike it can still be your friend :)

  2. So nice to finally meet you! Loads of respect for you being out there and being able to throw in the chip! Next time, we'll do the pre-race dinner and all skip the race!

  3. I admire you for having the guts to turn in the chip. I think there are times that it takes more courage to say "no thanks" than it does to go through the motions -- and 12 miles in nearly 100 degrees is a LOT of motions to go through if your whole heart & body aren't into it. I hope you'll allow yourself to enjoy a little recovery time before gearing up for 2008!

  4. Extremely sensible - congratulations on good decision-making...

    One of the first stories I heard my beloved and now deceased swimming teacher / triathlon guru Doug Stern tell involved him just stopping in the middle of a race. Just stopping right there in the pool - he just wasn't feeling it. The race officials rushed over to ask if he was injured - nope, he told 'em, and they were bewildered. His point was that it's a mistake to think you always have to finish, there are times when it is really better not to...

  5. Good call!

    (Your description of the chip confusion certainly made me smile!)

  6. If it's not even a bit fun then what's the point? As you say, you've got nothing to prove. You are Iron Misty! Have a good rest then kick some arse in a month or two.

  7. Anonymous5:15 PM

    smart girl!

  8. I would not have made that run had I signed up for the 1/2. Well maybe if it were my first 1/2 but certainly not if I had an IM to my credit as well as other 1/2s. I have to agree that there's just no point.

    It was really great meeting you at dinner and having a chance to chat.

  9. i'm in awe that you started - i was a basket case for four months after imcda. what am i saying, i still am lately - notice i didn't even try to compete.

    take some time, rest and you will be back stronger than ever. you made the absolute right decision - you know your body and it sounds to me like you know when to trust that voice that tells you when something just isn't a good idea.

    and i am so very glad we got to meet in person.

    although i'm not sure my son's algebra teacher is - she thought he was being smart when he asked about the jet stream effect.... ;-)

  10. Yay you for even trying. I can't believe what you're even up to these days. I'm still moping about, contemplating training and showing IM Lou photos to anyone that looks my way on the couch.

    Knowing when to quit is as important as anything else, especially if it's not fun anymore. You did great.

    And I'm glad the gel seat is helping.

  11. Like others have said I think you made the right decision. Only you know your body and how it feels. You are and always will be an IRONWOMAN.

  12. Props to you for knowing your limits. When its not fun anymore it's time to pick up your toys and go home.
    99 degrees?? Zowie! That's flippin hot!

  13. You are an amazing woman to get as far as you did. Sounds like awful conditions in the desert. And it definitely took courage to stop rather than risk your health and push through another 12 miles of running.

    I want to do my first half ironman next year. We'll be in touch :)

  14. Never underestimate your need for recovery. Maybe doing even less competitions and having more training and rest periods in between will help. There's no sense in racing if it's becoming a chore. Less is definitely more here. Pick only a couple of events a year that you really, really, really wanna do to help keep the enthusiasm.

  15. you went further on sunday than most of us could and you made better decisions than many would.

  16. I'm not anywhere close to where you atheletes are, but being stubborn is something I am when it comes to racing.

    Recently though on a bike ride I was 6 miles from finishing and my ankle was killing me and even though I wanted to keep going I listened to my body and stopped and had the sag wagon come get me.

    It was hard and I didn't like it, but I was realistic.

    You did an awesome thing by knowing you had to stop and by not pushing it. You have made me rethink how I race. Thank you.

    Take care. You ROCK!!

  17. Hey, by stopping you didn't pound yourself into the ground.

    So you don't need to recover (much).

    So you can do MORE TRAINING!!

    Good call - clever.

  18. hey, health first!!!! Heat stroke is a serious thing...not a pulled muscle or cramp - you made a good, hard decision. you'll be back at 'em soon enough...

  19. I agree: If you're not having fun, there's not point in doing it. Of course, we all are a little masochistic...

    And you have to intuitively listen to your body, which you did.

  20. I agree with everyone reason to risk injury when you're not even enjoying yourself out there. And you know, since IM KY, you have nothing to prove. :)

  21. Far from an expert, but from everything I've read about heat exhaustion/heat stroke, it sounds like you were smart! Also, do you ski or snowshoe or anything? With winter coming maybe it would be fun to do something non-tri-related in the off-season if you're feeling burnt out. At least on weekends, maybe, if you have to drive north to find snow.

  22. dude, i am 100% positive that i saw you at mile 1 taking your chip over to the dude in the cart. i was just starting my second-lap and was a leetle delirious, but when i ran by you (i realized it was you later), i heard you say: "it's only going to get hotter." i knew you were in trouble (not knowing it was you), and i remember thinking that it's good you know yourself that way because there were a lot of casualties out there on the course. it was smart for you to back off. racing is supposed to be fun. when it ceases to be fun, it's best we call off the dogs. also, i saw sweet baboo out there on my first lap... he looked strong. i yelled out to him, and he waved, but i doubt he had any idea who i was. i was the one in the yellow shirt with grease all over me.

    anyway, hope you're feeling better about the whole thing. if i had been in your position, i probably would have done the same thing. it's just a race... not worth your health!

    take care!

  23. Hey - you had a great dinner with a great group of friends. What more can an IronMan/Woman ask for on a wicked hot, disgustingly brutal race weekend? I'm so glad to hear you are doing fine.

  24. You said it yourself... not too long ago


    You toed the line and did all that you could have done.

    And I am so very proud of you for listening to yourself - and your body.

    Because of you I hve really thought long and hard when I am doing something. When it stops being fun... I stop.

    I really am grateful that I found your blog a while ago... because you are one of the peeps here that have had an impact on me and my training and aspirations.

    So here is to you and your knowing when to literally throw in the chip.


  25. I think u made the correct decision. Theres no reason to risk injury or burnout.
    Tri is supposed to be fun. Its important to not get lost in racing because
    training for tri is HARD work. If your not having fun you won't train You left
    knowing u had a great time meeting fellow bloggers & will be ready to jump on
    the horse again. Good decision.

  26. You could never do another triathlon again...and we would still admire you and hang on every word you write. You are just an awesome person. Somedays you grab life by the horns and some days you just get horned. We have all been there.
    Glad you did not get injured and still sounds like you enjoyed meeting everyone.
    Being that hot out is dangerous


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