Thank you Jay Prasuhn for the race day photos
Ironman Boulder was four weeks ago and I’ve had several attempts to write about the race but without much success! I was delighted to win. Breaking the tape first was an intense and emotional feeling: through the whole of the race I was thinking of my family. Okay my family and my watts and when I should eat and drink. But, you know what I mean. When I saw the video of me crossing the finish line I see myself walking straight through the line, straight past the photographers, no acknowledgement to the crowds no nothing. My first thought watching this was “How rude of me.”. I am British after all! Although I don’t remember saying it a friend told me I was saying, “Where’s my baby?”. It felt so good to see Brett and Archie and getting to them was all I was thinking about when I broke the tape.
A question I have been asked quite a bit since the race is did I expect to win. I never expected to win but I am pretty good at knowing when I have at least a chance at the win. Before Ironman Boulder I guess I thought I had a chance at winning. The next question has been are you going to Kona now. I guess I knew pretty soon after Boulder that the Kona carrot was dangling tantalisingly close to my nose.** In order to give myself the best shot at qualifying we realized I would need to do another Ironman. So that is what I have decided to do. On 30 July I will be racing Ironman Whistler with the hope that that will move me up the rankings enough to guarantee my spot in the first round of qualification.
So, since Brett and I decided to go for it I have needed to take a big inhale and big exhale. Sometimes when you are in something, immersed in the day to day routine, getting on with what you know needs to be done you literally have no time to thing “This is pretty intense.”. I think once the dust had settled after Boulder, my parents had returned home and I was looking ahead at preparing for Ironman Whistler I needed a few moments (I.e two weeks) to get my head in the game for the challenge ahead.
In any ironman build up you have the days that come easy and the days that are a grind. Brett tells me I have a habit of making it sound a bit like “Oh and then I decided to jump in and do an ironman” as if I’m talking about going for a jog around the block. Ha! That doesn’t do justice to what actually goes into getting to the start line prepared. On the whole getting back to training and racing has clicked for us. Clicking is not the same as easy. But, the clicking has happened because I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who support me.
Anyway I think Brett has a point. An example that getting back to training and racing hasn’t always been a walk in the park is a rather torrid training day I had about three weeks before Ironman Boulder. I just really struggled that day for no obvious reason. I woke up on that Saturday morning and the prospect of a 6 hour ride with intervals felt almost impossible. I was tired. Really tired. Archie had been teething that week and for three nights he had been up every two hours. My parents were staying with us and all I really wanted to do was stay at home, comfort Archie, and hang out. Then there was the “mum guilt”. Why was I planning to disappear for 6+ hours on a day when Archie wasn’t feeling his best and Brett was every bit as tired as me. Guilty because I knew Brett was training a lot less than he would ideally like so I could train. I probably felt guilty for the way I walked down stairs that day!! Anyway, this isn’t a pity party – I hope that’s not my style! Now looking back on that day provides me with massive motivation and it did on race day. It was the perfect demonstration to me that yes it’s me out there racing but it is a team effort to get there and I have a bl**dy brilliant team.
So, that Saturday I must have asked Brett whether I should just sack the ride and stay at home (I probably cried – its my default once I reach a certain point of tiredness!). Brett made me a cup of Yorkshire Tea and gave me a supportive but firm talking to along the lines of “We are all fine here so go out and train and train without compromises.’. I got ready and rolled out the door to meet my friend Dede. Mentally I still felt half…scrap that, quarter in. Experience told me I had to get this session done in order to give myself a chance in Ironman Boulder. The mum in me just wanted to turn around and stay with Archie. Within an hour I was crying over who knows what. Dede then proceeded to spend then next two hours making me laugh, stoking my confidence and generally distracting me so that by the time we turned around I did my prescribed session. I got home feeling absolutely shattered and was greeted with the table made up for lunch. Brett handed me Archie (he knew I would be dying for a cuddle) and passed me my sandwich. I ate lunch and then Brett and my parents instructed me to shower and nap whilst they looked after Archie. It all sounds pretty mundane, right? But, now looking back on that day it is retrospectively kind of wonderful. It showed me that I am surrounded by people who are willing to give me their energy when they see that I am in need and push me to keep on trucking . I don’t like complaining. I like getting on and doing. Just like so many people out there but Brett’s comment showed me that presenting it as easy isn’t real!!
So, now I’m just over three weeks out from heading up to Whistler for Ironman Canada. We’re excited to be able to head to this neck of the woods – we’ve heard it’s beautiful. The course looks mountainous. A good honest day of swim, bike and run awaits me!
Big thanks to my brilliant support team! Shout out to my sponsors Cervelo, Endura, ENVE, ON Running, The Island House, ROKA, Oakley, ISM; and Ceramic Speed and Clif for your support. My coaches Julie Dibens and Matt Bottrill . Mat Steinmetz and Jason Losey who got me dialed in on my P5X for race day. And, my peeps of course 🙂
**An aside on the path to qualifying for Kona
Qualifying for Kona is based on points. My win in Boulder, a 4th place at the North American 70.3 champs and a 6th at Oceanside 70.3 is not enough to qualify me for Kona. Each year on 1 September the KPR (Kona Points Ranking) is reset to zero. Now in September I was busy having a baby. I made the decision I wasn’t going to rush getting back on the start line which is why my first race wasn’t until April. That meant many of the women I am competing with for my spot already had 7 months of racing under their belts. If I were a man with these results I would probably just need to race a 70.3 to make the first cut. Why? because there are 50 qualifying spots for men and only 35 for women. I am not a man. Man, it stings to have to put down in writing the inequality that continues in our sport.