Heather’s 2012 Ironman Championship race report, and a year in review
Well it has been a few days post race, and the depression over my sub-standard performance (I was 14th this year) has started to fade a bit. Trevor and I had an AMAZING photo shoot with Canada’s David McColm at Volcanoes National Park and our sight-seeing trip, with numerous coffee and pastry stops, was good for the soul.
In my quest for a peak performance in Kona I totally glossed over a solid 6th place finish at the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas, and my win at the Timberman 70.3 was just a blip on the radar – some more good training on the way to the big show. This is the way it goes when you are incredibly focused and driven to achieve a big goal, but it’s important to reflect on the positive and give yourself credit for continued improvement. Compared to 2011, with two Ironman wins, multiple 70.3 podiums, and top 10 in both the 70.3 and Ironman World Championships, there were more downs than ups this year. I feel conflicted because I know I am a better athlete than I was last year, but one has to let the race results do the talking and they don’t seem to agree.
To sum up:
-sick in Abu Dhabi, DNF
-unprepared for the heat and humidity at the US pro Champs in Galveston – 8th.
-2nd place New Orleans 70.3 (race turned into a duathlon b/c of water conditions)
-awesome race in Quassy – 12 sec from the win, run down by Mirinda Carfrae for 2nd.
-top fitness for Coeur d’Alene only to have the “crank falling off-DQ’d after 22 miles of running” drama.
-8th at IM Frankfurt 14 days later just to get it done and validate my Kona spot.
-win at Timberman 70.3
-6th at the 70.3 World Championships
-14th at the Ironman World Championships
So that’s that.
Here in Kona, my race was actually going to plan for most of the day, and I was confident that a top 5 was in reach, but it was not to be.
In the swim I lead the chase “group” – I think there were 3 of us – and I lost less time to the leaders than last year so the race was off to a positive start. That said, I need to be in the front group to get on the podium here and I should absolutely be capable of this. In 2010 I swam a 51 min IM swim in St. George, beating Meredith Kessler out of the water. I also used to be in front of Caitlin Snow out of the water, pretty much guaranteed These two ladies now soundly kick my ass. Their improvement highlights my stagnation and this is not acceptable. Trevor and I have both known for quite awhile now that we need an overhaul in the water so that’s our primary mission this winter.
On the bike I executed my plan, rode my watts, and, as per usual, reeled people in on the return trip from Hawi. It always slays me how ridiculously hard people ride at the start of the race here. Like somehow, magically, you can red-line and blow the cap off your watts here in Kona and not pay for it later. Uh no. I was sitting up Palani taking it easy and even people knowledgeable about the sport were yelling at me to ride harder and close gaps that were forming. I knew what I was doing and just smiled. Patience grasshopper.
I was off the bike well in the top 10 and stoked to give it all I had to run to top 5. I believed I was going to do it. When that belief starts to slip away as your legs and stomach (and in turn your will) stop co-operating is one of the hardest things to deal with in racing. You try to take care of little things, cooling, hydrating, porta john stops… “Just get to the next aid station, it will come around”… “You will feel better if you just run faster, dammit!”.. There were some very low lows, but despite being passed by many out in the energy lab, I rallied and picked it up for the last 10k home. I finished. Top 15. Not what I wanted, but what I have to live with and learn from and improve upon.
People that know me know that I am hard on myself, but also that I am fueled by a huge well of underlying happiness, joy in the pursuit of excellence, and appreciation for how lucky I am to be able to do this! Friends and family are the core of my support crew. Coach Paulo is the brains of the operation. Fans, tri-geeks, people that write notes of encouragement on facebook, random people that yell “go tall chick”, “go Canada” all serve to lift me to new heights.
My incredible sponsors make it possible for me to do my best. This is not just lip service. We love the people we work with, and the products and equipment that we use for training and racing are fantastic. Thank you SO MUCH to Saucony, Blue Competition Cycles, First Endurance Nutrition, Rolf Prima Wheels, Aqua Sphere wetsuits and goggles, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and Oils, UltrAspire run belts and bags, Torhans aero bottles, Giro helmets and shoes, CycleOps Power, Bonk Breaker energy bars, and Tifosi optics! Wow! It takes an army!
Mostly I have to thank my wonderful husband Trevor for always being the light of my life and dreaming the dream with me.