Friday, October 14, 2011

Kona 2011 Afterthoughts...

(note: This is not water, these are blisters)
I'm glad I wrote my race report right away. It was all pretty fresh right then and I think to revisit is later, would have just hurt. It still stings a little when I think about it. After every race, I tell my athletes to write down some things that went well, and some things they want to change for next time. This is just a part of the sport. It's best to do it when we are fresh (preferably with pictures too if it helps keep it at the forefront in your mind).

The thing about Ironman is that we don't just prepare for a week or even a month for an Ironman. We prepare for a year. How many races or events require somewhere around a year to seven months to get ready. Not many. That's probably why there aren't a ton of us that do this!

The other thing that is interesting is that triathlon continues to grow. What I've found...people like a challenge. Sometimes they reach this point in their life where things just aren't panning out the way they thought. They are in the middle of their years, sitting at a desk job all day, not feeling young active or anything remotely close to it. Maybe it was their friend that talked them into it. Maybe it was just waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night with the feeling that something has to give. Either way, I think it's a good thing. If they are lucky, the begin their journey right then and there. They start reading online, they figure out how to take the first step. It's not a huge step to a sprint, but it invigorates them, breathes life into them. They feel their first finish line that required not one, but THREE sports to get to it and they fall intensely in love with it.

Sometimes that's all it takes.

For those of us that have done this for awhile, we still remember our first times toeing the line. How scared we were, how crazy it felt to be grabbing this bike and jumping on! Oh and let us not forget, the SWIM for those of us who didn't grow up swimming.

Mistakes are a part of triathlon, and a part of life. If we are not making mistakes, we are not growing, and if we are not growing, then what the heck are we even doing here on this earth. However, it has also been said that repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting to get different results is the definition of insanity. I might be crazy, but insane, well, I like to THINK I am not.

I made a few grave errors in Kona and the thing about Kona is that it has no forgiveness. None. It's so harsh and so brutal that any mistake you make is magnified by 110%. In any other race, you might be able to bring things back around. There, it's a different story. It just burns more, wind whips you more, sun bakes you more, heat dehydrates you more and your mind seems to play with you more (at least for me in comparison to my other races).

Hot races are difficult for me.

There. I said it. Hi, my name is Kim and I am a MASSIVE sweater. If I am not SPOT ON with my nutrition, I might as well pack it up, walk off the course and tell everyone else to have a nice day. I cannot keep having this same talk about dehydration. Personally, I'm sick of it. St. Croix 2008, Clearwater 2009, Buffalo Springs Lake 2010 and now Kona 2011. One race per year I'm just botching it up. It impacts my race so greatly and I need to start really taking a look at what else I can do. Make no mistake, I mentally realize what's going on pre race and post race and my PLAN is sound.. but at the times during the race, when my salt gets low and I'm in the heat of competition, my decision making process is not "on" and that is why I'm making bad choices. If I have to practice switching from Infinite to Ironman perform half way through my long rides.. then I'll just have to do it. I kept thinking - no, Infinite will always taste good, my body will always be fine with it. You know what, sometimes you just have a day where your body wants to do something else. In that case, you better have a plan B and have practiced with it. That was precisely why I didn't switch in Kona, I hadn't practiced and I wasn't risking it. In hindsight, probably should have just switched because the end result wasn't what I wanted either.

Second though, sunscreen. I've always had really good luck with Kinesis sunscreen. For some reason this race, I disregarded that important fact. I just used whatever was available to me from people that morning pre-race and that was a huge mistake. Other sunscreens, even if they say "water and sweat proof" are not Ironman proof. Ironman is a different level and Kona is a WHOLE different level. You've got to take it seriously because one wrong decision could seriously impact your whole day.

I strait up started freaking out on the run. Besides the dehydration and then my back was killing me from my time on the bike, I was just feeling awful. Sapped of energy and just like my body was falling apart. By the time I got sunscreen on in T2 it was way too late. Missing it completely in T1 was a terrible idea. Even the upper half of my back would have saved me. Instead, I just rushed out and completely forgot since Kinesis is usually my back up and has saved me on a number of occasions.

In hindsight things are always clearer. They are more "DUH" what were you thinking? But the thing is, we all make mistakes, but these are two I really should know better. Little things, amplified by this race.

So, let's hold each other accountable shall we! Feel free to leave a comment about your big race boo-boo and I'll remind you before your next race to make a different decision (if you have a blog or we are friends on FB etc.). PLEASE do the same for me.. this sunburn is going to peel for days, probably twice, so that should help me remember for awhile.

Thanks for all your kind comments on my last blog. Wow.. I know some of you so well and you are always supportive, always amazing and caring and I appreciate it so much. Thank you.. I mean that.. thank you.


Kim said...

ouch kim, your poor back! rest up my friend. and be proud of yourself.

my race boo boo is not taking in enough liquids on the bike.... AND never putting on sunscreen!!!!

Beth said...

Socks on the bike. I tried to get away without them and now half my foot is missing! Made for quite a painful marathon! Live and learn right? :-)

Michelle Simmons said...

Yikes that sunburn looks awful. I saw another guy on Monday morning at the beach who was the most burnt I'd ever seen... could NOT believe he was at the beach!?! It looked like he had not put on an ounce of sunscreen all day. I use some awesome stuff from Planet Sun now- it has zinc and stays on all day. Finding that stuff was a god-send b/c I train in that same sun all the time.
My problem after Kona is that I don't really know what went wrong? I was just 'off' all day and don't have a good answer for why that is and that is very frustrating.

Kristin said...

OUCH!!! Hope that heals Quickly!! I am totally with you with the Sweating! Im so sweaty all the time!! :)

Steve said...

Hey Kim Kim Kim, I read your race report, and felt bad. I didn't comment, because I was dealing with other stuff personal to me. I feel you though. You try so hard, and we all do at stuff.

I respect, admire, and think you are pretty great. I'd love to always be there for a comment, and a lot of times I am, but sometimes I have stuff to deal with too. :)

Really glad I have been able to get to know you a bit the last year. :)

You still are awesome in my book. :)

Best of wishes, and luck this year. Oh, and have a fun weekend this weekend. :)

LoRi said...

Superhero Kim! I just got caught up on your past couple of! You are such a trooper making it to the finish line with all of those factors in play. And the stress of the zero "Pfactor" continue to be such a huge inspiration and a class act in my book of super Heros!

LoRi said...

Superhero Kim! I just got caught up on your past couple of! You are such a trooper making it to the finish line with all of those factors in play. And the stress of the zero "Pfactor" continue to be such a huge inspiration and a class act in my book of super Heros!

Teresa said...

Third time in kona you will nail it! And yes, kona is so non-forgiving. At least you keep learning right?! Proud of you for sticking it out. You were doing something many people can only dream about!

Kent said...

My biggest race FAIL was in my first race. I was riding a QR bike borrowed from a friend. I'd only been on it two times before, for a total of about 10 miles. I decided that since I wasn't comfortable with clip pedals, I should switch the Look pedals on the bike with some standard flat pedals off of my commuter bike.
Halfway through the ride, a shoelace wrapped around the chain, locked my foot in place and sent me sailing across the road on my backside. Know your equipment. Don't try new things on raceday. Wow. I had scrapes, rash and bruises for months.
Congratulations on a big season. I only learned of your blog from a friend about a week before your Kona race and have enjoyed it.