In high school, if we wanted to announce our soccer team's wins, we also had to announce the losses. This was such an important lesson in humility and recognition and it still sticks with me today. In that vein, it's time for me to talk about IM Louisville.
The good - I felt great going back into this race. It was only five weeks removed from Wisconsin, but I actually felt stronger as I approached race day for IMLOU than I had just five short weeks before at IMWI. Better yet, I had the mental confidence to know this was just another day out there rather than building up to a single "race of the year."
The bad - I had kept an eye on weather all week. At first, it was supposed to be between 50-60 with a high of 60 and cloudy. Great day! Then, the weather changed to drop a couple degrees, then a couple more, and adding in rain for the middle part of the day. As I was hustling to get on the road Thursday, I packed a couple things to keep me ready to ride in 52-54 degree weather with a chance of rain. I was concerned with getting on the road before the remnants of the hurricane came plowing through the Richmond area and would derail my trip west.
The ugly - Race morning came and it was colder than I expected. I had arm warmers and gloves but that was really it. No booties, no extra base layers and and it was 48 and rainy to start the bike. In addition, the swim was altered. The current was moving so quickly, that the pros couldn't really swim upstream. So the upriver part and the equal length down-river segment were removed from the race. That turned a 2.4mi swim into 1500m. I got out of the water and stopped my watch in roughly 13.40. FOR 1500m!!! That's crazy.
Getting on the bike, I settled into a steady rhythm quickly and even held back a little bit. The first hour passed by quickly and I was just a touch under target power levels. This was good. But then, we hit some rollers. That was fine going up, but as soon as we went downhill, the wind just cut right through me. That was it. Two big downhills and I was completely chilled. I tried to get things together, tried to find ways to minimize the wind effect, but it didn't help and I only become colder.
Pretty soon, I started shaking so much that I couldn't hold my bike straight anymore. It was wobbling all over the place, riding in a line was not happening, and I had a tough time seeing anything except for what was right in front of me. That would mean that later on, I would have no ability to see and anticipate things further down the road. Not good. By 32mi, it was clear that I couldn't go on. I climbed off my bike and decided to fight another day.
The better - There has to be a silver lining here somewhere, right? After all, we can learn from every race we do whether a success or just another step along the path to ultimate success. Next time, I will plan for more race day outcomes. I simply knocked off a couple degrees from the forecast and thought I would be ok but didn't consider if it was even colder and raining more. A pro shared a cool tip about cutting a blanket to match the size of a kit and wear it as a base layer. I also learned that I can bounce back on a short turnaround from one big race to the next and be ready to go again. There is something mentally relaxing and calming about going into a race and knowing you're ready rather than just telling yourself you are ready.
Looking ahead, it's time to hang out with the family and enjoy a few more cookies. Next year is already starting to fill up and with a very similar feel to 2018. Boston Marathon to kick things off, IMLOU to wrap up, and looking forward to doing some local races through Kinetic Multisports to fill in the rest of the season.
A big thanks to all the support and help along the way this year. Couldn't be where I am without it. Now it's time to rest up, relax, and recovery!