As my friends know, I pulled a DNF. That was the last thing I expected to happen. I had trained so hard for so long. But somehow I knew things were not quite right going to Kona and all the days leading up to the race. I was just not performing like I would expect to do going into an Ironman race.
My running was pitiful. I had turned to race walking several months before because I was convinced I could not run. Therefore I decided I would learn to racewalk. My running was so slow that I could walk almost as fast as I could run. But racewalking is really hard. A lot harder than I knew. The physical act of heel striking in a walk is very hard on one's shin muscles. And as I gradually increased my running/walking time and milage, my shins began to hurt. At first just a little but as I added more time on my feet it became worse and about 3 weeks before Hawaii I was in such pain I could not put any weight on my leg at all.
I entered a 1/2 IM in Dallas in mid- Sept. and could not complete the run. In fact, at that point my leg was so injured it hurt to swim or cycle. After we came home from Dallas, I had an X-ray and MRI to determine if I had a stress fracture, which would have put me out of the race completely. Tests were negative but that didn't stop the pain. I had physical therapy everyday until we left for Kona and didn't run a step. Not good. But I thought if I could get through the bike I would kill myself to finish no matter what the cost.
As it turned out I didn't have to do that. The swim is what did me in. That is still something I don't understand. The swim at Kona is always challenging but I had trained hard and felt confident. Besides I love to swim and I'm not afraid of open water. But it is tougher than a lake or river swim. The first half is fairly comfortable but the second is always a lot harder. I think because we are swimming with the out flow on the first part of the swim and this year there were several BIG swells towards the end. I felt like I was swimming and swimming and not going anywhere.
When I did finish I was very tired, way too tired. I didn't recover for 30 minutes or more. I was in a state of exhaustion going into the bike and that is not a good thing. Needless to say the bike leg started off bad and didn't get any better.Way before half way on the bike I 'threw in the towel' knowing that I was so far behind and I knew I did not have the speed to cover the distance in the time left. My reasoning at that time was "why should I kill myself off for the next few hours and still not make the bike cut-off time"?
I'm still not sure I made the right decision. But I knew for sure I could not have made the bike cut-off. The question I ask myself is, 'should I have stuck it out until they pulled me off the ccourse'? I did that before and that is too depressing. I didn't want to experience that again.
There probably is an explanation for my performance that day but I don't know what it is.
What I do know is this....
I will never give up. I have 'gone back to the drawing board'. I'm going back to basics and learning how to run again. I'm lifting more weight than I ever have. I'm working on speed and power in the water and the bike. I'm running faster than I have in years. I'm having fun and looking forward to 2011 and some new challenges.