Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ironman Couer D'Alane was Sunday and I Wasn't There ...

This past Sunday I woke up early, grabbed some food, stretched and was on my bike at 7:16 am. After 10 miles on my own I met up with a group of friends I have been riding with on many Sunday mornings. We rode mostly on the Jersey side of the boarder, stopping in Millford for a mid-ride snack. The group ended up breaking up due to a newer rider missing a turn, but the morning was relatively uneventful. I ended up with 65 miles of riding. An enjoyable morning, for sure.

Just not the Sunday I had planned to have on this late June morning.

On Sunday I was supposed to be in Couer d'Alene, ID to race Ironman CDA for the second time. Plans fell through this winter when knee troubles led to surgery in April. Months ago The Queen made it perfectly clear that nothing good would come from attempting to run a marathon after a 7 hour warmup. I agreed and bagged the race.

Jonathan Soden - IMCDA
Shortly after finishing IMCDA in 2008
I followed the race online as I do on occasion. The weather was pretty ideal - high was 67 degrees - and the pro race looked like a good one. Looking at the results, my age group (45-49) was crazy competitive, with the slowest Kona spot being a 10:03 finish time. Clearly there were some fast old men.

You would think that this would be a bummer for me ... and it was. But not as bad as you would think.

See, at the end of the day, IMCDA was just a race. One race.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own stuff that we start to think these things we do for pleasure are more important than they really are. We get caught up in the planning, the training, the racing. Everything has to be perfect. Everything has to do with this one day. We become obsessed, losing sight of the bigger picture.

Because at the end of the day it is just one race.

I would be lying if I told you I didn't give it some thought. Maybe even more than a little. Besides being out $1,000 and finding out that the new Ironman switch policies are not all that WTA would like you to believe, not towing the line on Sunday morning crossed my mind. Would I have rather of been racing on the other side of the country? Absolutely. Would it have been the right thing to do? Hell. No.

Here's the deal: there are more races. Lots of races in fact. Come November I will be in Panama City Beach, Florida with Em racing Ironman Florida. Between now and then I will race a few Olympic distance triathlons, a 70.3 and running race or two. And in the future, you can expect me to be back in CDA to give that course another go. Because there are always other races.

More important than that one race is to make sure you are healthy and focused on doing what has to get done for the long term. From my first doctor's appointment my main focus had been directed at correcting the problem. In fact, after figuring out what the problem was, I directly asked if I should bag the early season Ironman.

Over the years I have been the guy who always showed up to train. There were minor injuries, but never anything too serious. When friends would go down with a something that would put them on the shelf for some time I felt compelled to encourage them to do what they needed to do to resolve the issue quickly and permanently. I would always tell people that everyone has their day, that my day would eventually come.

In 2014, my turn came. Disappointed that I missed a big race I am happy to report that things are going good. I have recovered quickly from surgery and am slowly getting my fitness back. More important than that, I'm healthy, and I have a better understanding of my body and what I need to do to continue racing and training with my buds for many, many years. At the end of the day, health and wellness is what's really important.

Could I have toed the line this past weekend? Yes I could have. Would it have been a smart thing to do? Hell. No. If I were in CDA this past weekend I would have given it my all. In the process I would have surely had a less than optimal day (being that my longest run since coming back is less than 5 miles) and surely did some long-term damage for no good reason.

Because again, it is just one race.

Train hard. Stay focused.

1 comment:

  1. I believe that was a smart move...I guess that makes you a smart ironman ;-)