I am a little late writing about my experience at Vineman 70.3, so let me start there. We headed up to Windsor on the Friday before the race.I was feeling a bit anxious but as soon as I was in the car with Gabe and two of my teammates, my attitude quickly changed. That evening, our house (myself, Gabe, and 4 of my teammates and spouses) hosted a team dinner. This was so much fun and a great reminder of why I joined the team 3 years ago. We talked, we ate, we had fun.
Saturday, however, was much harder. That morning we headed to the Ironman Village to check-in, shop, and those that were racing, dropped off their T2 gear. I checked in just as if I were racing, not only because I wasn’t able to get my registration money refunded, but also to get the magic green athlete bracelet that would allow me to enter athlete only areas.
After checking in and leaving the area with tears in my eyes, we headed to the athlete briefing. I sat through this meeting, mainly because we had driven the housemates there so we had to wait for them to finish. This was a BAD idea. While sitting in the bleachers, listening to all the details of the race, it really hit me how badly I wanted to race. I held back the tears and put on a happy face for my teammates. I didn’t want to be a downer while they were preparing to race the next day. From there we drove over to Johnson’s beach and met a few teammates that rode there and checked in their bikes. I put my feet in the river and envisioned the race. Shallow, warm waters would have made for a fast swim. Man oh man, the thoughts that swirled around in my head. Again, the tears swelled but I managed to hold them back. It wasn’t until later that evening, when I was able to break away from everyone, that I let the tears fall. I was suppose to be excited and nervous. I was suppose to be organizing and preparing. I was suppose to be chatting about the course and my goals. Instead, I was in tears and heart broken. I can’t remember another time in my life when I was absolutely unable to reach a goal, no matter how hard I tried or worked. This was out of my control and I didn’t know how to deal with that. I let the tears fall. I needed to process the feelings so I could move on and support my teammates the following day.
With a very early wake up call Sunday morning, Gabe and I headed down to Johnson’s beach. Here, we would write race numbers on athlete after athlete as they entered T1. Being as this was my first Ironman event that I have ever been a part of, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
I can honestly say, I had a great time. I was able to see my teammates as they prepared to hit the water, as well as help others athletes in the process. I was thankful I was able to be so close and involved in the race. It was also here that I dropped my timing chip and OFFICIALLY was a DNF. Thankfully, I had had a good cry the night before and made this a easier on the heart strings.
After the last swim wave took off, we headed back to Windsor and watched teammate after teammate come off the bike and head out on their run. It was nice to be there and cheer them on as they headed out for the last 13.1 miles of their race. The finish line was just on the other side of the school, so eventually we headed that direction. As I stood there, for hours, I watched athlete after athlete cross the finish line. I was no longer sad. I was honored to be there to support my teammates and best friends. It wasn’t my time and I had accepted that once and for all.
The days following were still hard, but I pushed through them. I may not have been able to race a 70.3 in 2016, but that goal is still there. I will reach it. I just have to put in more time and more work. There is a lesson to be learned in there somewhere!
So, here we are. I am officially 5 months post break/surgery.
I am done with physical therapy and out on my own. The scars are fading and the muscles are getting stronger. I have started the couch to 5k program to help ease myself back into running. I won’t lie or sugar coat it…running hurts. The ankle isn’t a big fan, but I am committed to taking it slow and easy. Some days are better than others and I have learned that I have to take a day or 2 in between to let it recover. Again, a lesson in patience. Some days I am motivated and feel great about my progress. Others I am frustrated and find myself doubting my recovery. Every day I remind myself that the doctors told me I wouldn’t be running again until 6-9 months post surgery. I am ahead of the game.
As far as racing goes…..I am still unsure. I don’t want to race again until I am able to run 100%. If you know me, you understand why. I am competitive. It runs through my blood. When I race, I give it all I’ve got. I do not want to go out and race if I am not able to do that. I have my eyes set on Morro Bay Triathlon in November. I feel like that will give me enough time to work on my run and get it together. I also want to race one more time this year. I have only raced once and the itch is getting stronger and stronger. As far as 70.3 races are concerned….I’m holding onto hope that 2017 is the year. If I build slowly and take care of my body, I should be able to reach it. I thought about Oceanside in March, but that is still too early. I tried to get priority registration for Vineman 2017, but it didn’t happen. I will try one more time when general registration opens and if it doesn’t happen then, I will have to believe that it isn’t the race for me. My last and final choice is Santa Cruz in September. My only concern about this race is that it finishes on soft sand. With my ankle and the level of fatigue, this scares me a bit. But, I have a lot of time between now and then to figure it out.
So, there you have it. The past, the present and the unknown future. School starts for my 3 littles on Monday and hopefully I will be back in the routine of all 3 disciplines. I am ready. Speed bump after speed bump may slow me down, but it will not completely stop me. 2017 will be different, maybe even great.