August 22, 2015
Maple Grove, MN
I was passing an aid station 1 mile into the run when it hit me. Swimming season was over. Cycling season was over. And, in a couple of more miles, triathlon season would be over as well.
It seemed kind of anticlimactic…
In 2012, I capped my first triathlon season by earning my first Ironman branded medal (Ironman Steelhead 70.3).
In 2013, after two more 70.3, I successfully complete the insanely hilly Ironman Muskoka 70.3, giving me the confidence to register for Ironman Wisconsin one week later (yes, the climactic ending to that season was sitting in front of a computer screen frantically hitting the refresh button).
In 2014, I ended the year by crossing the line in Madison and hearing Mike Riley announce that I was an Ironman.
This year, I ran 4 sprints and finished the year doing a local sprint.
Is it anticlimactic? Maybe.
Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so…
I completed five 70.3’s and one full IM in the past three years. The training was intense and the races rewarding but brutal. After Ironman Wisconsin, I was burnt out. I had also grown a lot as a person and an athlete. Looking back, there was a clear trajectory to those three seasons. I feel that I have achieved what I needed from the longer events. I resolved some inner demons and insecurities. I accept that I am a triathlete and that I am part of a community of other athletes. But I no longer feel that everything needs to be Epic. I don’t feel that I have to keep doing things bigger and wilder. I have achieved my goal. I also feel that I have closed the chapter and turned the page. I no longer feel the desire to run more Ironman events.
I am learning to just enjoy the sport again.
The training is more fun and flexible. I can ride or run when I wish. I can skip a workout if I want. I can still be prepared and compete. I can enjoy the interaction with other athletes and push myself to my limit, but without all the stress.
I am at peace.
The race itself was good. Water temps dropped overnight to 71.4 F. It was cool enough to convince me to put on the sleeveless wetsuit. The winds were fierce and that did make for a significant current. Fortunately, there were no waves to speak of. It was a time trial start and we went off two by two every three seconds or so. Not much else to say. There was some contact, but minimal. I found my stroke and just plodded along until I hit the beach.
Swim Split – 18:14 (2:15/100 meters)
The bike was short (11 miles) with some rollers. The winds were crazy with some strong gusts. I can’t think of the last time that I had to work so hard to control my bike. We had a nice stretch of tailwinds, but the headwinds slowed me to a crawl and the cross winds threatened to knock me off of my bike if I was not careful. My bike skills are getting stronger. I am far from elite and bike handling still sucks (I get passed on every turn), but I can mount an attack on most hills (thank you Wisconsin!) and my voice gets hoarse from yelling “on your left” every few seconds (of course, many that I was passing were doing the Olympic course and were pacing themselves more conservatively).
Bike Split – 35:45 (18.47 mph)
The run is a 5k around the lake (mostly in residential neighborhoods). I tried to push myself and to reel in as many as I could. But I was getting passed as often as I was passing others. I am finding that my triathlon strategy tends to be attack on the bike and hold on as long as I can on the run.
Run Split – 26:36 (8:34/mile)
Final – 1:28:08
My transition remains my Achilles heel. It slows me down and I give back much of what I fought for. I will need to work on this next year.
But, for now, triathlon season is over. I will rack the bike (although I may get a chance for one or two more rides before the weather ends cycling season for good) and the wetsuit will be stored.
The final running push is upon me. No events in September, but October will bring a 1 mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, and THREE full marathons before I can hit the off season. Triathlon may have ended pretty low key, but the running season promises to go out with a bang…