Given both of our results it’s by far the worst I’ve ever felt after a race. I crossed the line feeling I’d failed myself, failed Aisling and all of the people who’d helped and supported me.
It’s the first time I’ve finished a race feeling like I’m done with Ironman, the first time I’ve ever felt that I wanted to quit. It’s the first time since I started to try to do this again that I believed that I’m just not going to be able to.
The sense of disappointment immediately after I finished was completely overwhelming. I hadn’t allowed myself think of anything other than chasing all day. Almost 10 hours of hopeless pursuit of a dream that had vanished during the worst swim I’d ever done. And if I’m honest a dream that wasn’t realistic at all today as I re-discovered just how unforgiving Ironman is to any lack of fitness. So, when I finished the emotions I’d suppressed all day so as to stay focused on the race were almost impossible to control.
I wrote that immediately after the race but didn’t want the race report to be all doom and gloom. I think it’s more honest to admit how bad I felt afterwards. As I write today it’s three weeks after the race and for the first time in a year I didn’t post my weekly updates regardless of how good or bad things went. I didn’t know what to write or even how to go about figuring out what I felt about the whole thing. I felt very lucky to finish given how Aisling’s day ended up. I was also very cognisant of the fact that this was our honeymoon. The race was a bonus.
I wrote this two days later. I think I was starting to feel less emotional about the whole thing and was starting to look at what needed to be done next season. What changes need to be made to the approach and how we would go about it.
If I had been close I think I would have felt like it was another step towards the goal but to be so much further away than I was in Mallorca makes it look like a ridiculous and futile goal.
To be so emotionally invested in something, in an outcome makes it incredibly difficult to discover that I’m so much further away from it than I’d believed I’d be.
I think the fact that I’ve done this a couple of times before made me believe that all that would be required was a season of hard work to return to that level of fitness. I’m now remembering a lesson I learned in 2013 training for what I wanted to be my fastest Ironman. Just because something might be within my potential doesn’t mean it will just happen if I work hard. It would also take a lot of other external forces to go right at the same time. It’s not just doing hard work and having potential. It’s being able to fulfil both. It’s staying healthy and not having life disrupt training significantly so that it stacks up over the course of a year.
Having underestimated what was involved means going away now and re-evaluating.
At one point on the marathon it seemed like I might run myself up into the top twenty or possibly the top fifteen and I think I could have been happy with that as progress.
We talked a little the following day about the result and already we were starting to see it in a less emotional light. We very briefly discussed what went wrong this year and how we might improve it for next year.
Now that I have some distance from the race and result I’m a little less disappointed with the outcome. I don’t really have a plan for what’s next other than the fact that we’ve made the decision to not rush into another race. It’s clear that I’m not fit enough so I need to go away, take a break and come back ready to put in another long period of training.
We don’t think that it’s something that could be addressed with a short run in to a spring race either so it’s time to go and re-assess and make a new plan.
My next post will be about the lessons learned at Ironman Fortaleza.
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