Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Whistler Ironman 70.3 DNF

Welp, I had my first DNF (did not finish).  This was for the Whistler Ironman 70.3 (a half iron to be clear).  I still plan to do a half as soon as I can get my swim to be not so thrashy.  I had planned to do the race with a friend who is a complete athlete star - she's an amazing cyclist, swimmer, and a weekend runner.  And she's a mom and exec at Amazon to boot.  Our families went up together and stayed in Whistler Village.  It was nice being together to get through jitters; my jitters unfortunately spun up more at the starting line and in the water.

The day before the race, Munira and I went to set up our transition stations.  The bike transition was T1 right next to the lake.  The run transition was T2 at the end of the bike loop.  It was nice having gear set up ahead of time as that took a bit of pressure off the morning.

The punchline - lining up at the water I knew I wasn't super ready for the swim.  I'd been doing mile workouts in the pool and lakes the past couple weeks, but my lake swims were minimal.  I lined up with the 45-50min group (I swim a 46min mile) which was in the back 50% of the pack of total athletes.  When our wave came up for go time, I sprinted in behind all the other athletes.  Immediately I was overwhelmed - legs and arms were in the air and I kept getting kicked in the face.  After 100 meters I still wasn't out of the thrash and started choking on water.  I held on to a kayak (fair in the race) to catch my breath, and then kept going.  At 300 meters the same thing happened again.  Same kayak, same breath catching, but fear was rising.  At 500 meters I had somehow gotten myself so worked up I was hyperventilating, coughing, and crying because I didn't want the race to be over, but I was scared.  A boat pulled up and the driver said "well, what do you want to do?"  I looked at my watch - I had only gone 500 meters in 25min.  I wouldn't make it in the 1hr10min cutoff if I kept going.  I started crying more and then breathing less.  In the end, I was pulled out. 

DNF'ing sucks.  I felt like a total failure.  My kids kept asking "what happened mommy," and then hugging me because they felt bad.  Cole completely internalized the sadness, so I tried to overcome it and be a big girl.  My kids also brought full joy at what would have been the finish line.  They hugged me, literally patted my head which I found amusing, and asked for FULL details.  "
What did it feel like?  How come you couldn't breathe?  Who kicked your face?  Why didn't you kick back?"  Chin up - onward.

Now, a couple weeks later, I'm swimming more frequently but not quite so far still.  I WILL do a half iron someday.  I'll do a couple sprints first.