Updated: Jun 3, 2018
I am elated to have won my first full Ironman race at Ironman Brazil.
2018 started off a bit rocky for me with a DQ and a DNF in my first two races. Hence, I am very proud of myself for turning it around, not letting the past negatively impact me, and staying focused in the moment at IM Brazil.
I went into Brazil with the attitude that I would race as hard as I could, and finish knowing I gave it my all. If I did that, I knew I would be happy with myself regardless of what place I came. This took away a lot of anxiety, and allowed to me perform to my best without worrying about the outcome.
"I went into Brazil with the attitude that I would race as hard as I could, and finish knowing I gave it my all. If I did that, I knew I would be happy with myself regardless of what place I came. This took away a lot of anxiety, and allowed to me perform to my best without worrying about the outcome."
I definitely credit my new coach, Brett Sutton, for refocusing me mentally after being in a bit of a rut after my first two races of the year. I had been training phenomenally, I just needed to get out of my own way and execute on race day. I had to be prepared to go to war and give it my all, no matter what. Below is my race report:
The swim started off great, I was in a pack with 3 other females until about 2.5 km. At this point, I thought my pack was swimming off course and was going to miss the turn buoy. As a result, I left them and swam towards actually the wrong buoy. The sun was in my eyes, and I made a mistake. It ended up costing me about 50 seconds, which was unfortunate. However, I didn't let it get me down, and just kept swimming. I told myself it is a long day and to stay present in the moment.
Once I got onto my bike, I felt more confident and in the zone. Overall, I biked very strongly and evenly paced. I really wanted to make sure I didn't over cook the bike so I would be able to run well. I was really focusing on keeping my cadence under 80 rpm. Lowering my cadence has been a big switch for me. I use to race at 90 rpm, but since switching to Brett we have been working on lowering my cadence, which seems to be definitely paying off.
At half way on the bike leg, we had to ride over some cobble stones and through this patch my rear draft box popped open. I tried to close while riding, but couldn't get it to close. I thus stopped to try to close it, but wasn't having any luck. Mechanical came over to assist me, and they couldn't even close it. Hence, I decided to take the whole draft box off and handed to mechanical. I am not sure how much time this cost me, but at least a minute I would have to think. I tried to spin this incident as a positive and told myself that I would be lighter on the hilly section of the course without my flat kit and draft box, and just kept powering away.
When I came into T2, I was shocked to learn I had a 10 min lead. I definitely had never been in this situation before. Additionally, as I started the run I felt like I was starting a 70.3 run, not an Ironman. I would have to say I actually felt the best I have ever felt starting an Ironman run. As a result, I probably went out a bit too fast (6:23/mile pace). However, I kept a decent pace through the hilly section of the run course, and was able to get back down to 6:40 pace once I was back on the flats. I unfortunately had to stop at 12 miles to use the porto potty. I seem to not be able to pee while cycling or running, and was sick of holding it in! I think my pit stop was only about 30 seconds long. I felt much better after stopping to use the restroom, so it was definitely worth it. However, I started to get really bad blisters and as a result I had a rough patch through 15-18 miles. I could feel blisters swelling on my toes and feet, making every step very painful. One of the blisters eventually popped, which relieved some pain. I was able to keep running around 7 min mile pace for the remainder of the run, and hold on for victory with nearly a 9 min margin finishing in 8:54:58.
It is hard for me to describe with words how much this victory means to me. I knew I was in great shape, I just had to go out there and race to my abilities. It is my first full Ironman win, so that in itself is very special. However, what is more important about this win is the victory within myself and my mind. I feel I have overcome a lot of self doubt; I can now move forward with trust and confidence in myself .