When to throw in the towel

Sunday, August 24, 2014 by admin

Recently, I finished my 6th Ironman race at Ironman Texas. I had lots of friends racing, even my coach and an athlete that I coach. I personally had a very solid training block for this Ironman. I hit my key workouts. I had some monster swim weeks, 20k in one week, multiple 5hr rides and even some 6.5hr rides, not to mention some big run weeks, 4 -5 hrs of running. I even had an excellent big training day, 4k swim, 100mi ride, 30min run. Overall, I was very confident in my training and my ability to race. After all this, would be my 6th Ironman.

Race day started and I was able to make it there healthy and without injury. The swim was a bit more crowded than usual. I couldn’t get an open lane to swim in and was on top of people the whole time. I also had calf cramps the whole swim. Not an ideal way to start the day. The bike however went very well and I felt good the whole time. My nutrition plan was going well. Then on to the run, I made it thru the first 13 in 2hrs. Right on target, then at mile 16, I nearly lost everything in my stomach. I resigned to walk here a bit to get the stomach settled. At this point, I started thinking about throwing in the towel. A bunch of my friends had already done this once they realized their day wasn’t going as planned. I started thinking of doing the same thing. The reasoning was simple, I have done 5 Ironman races. What is the point of killing myself running the rest of this marathon only to have a sub par time, when I could throw in the towel and recover quicker and race another day? The last part of that question was what kept me from quitting. I knew that this Ironman would be my last Ironman for quite sometime since my work and personal life time committments have increased recently and I simply didn’t have the time to spend training like I used to. Needless to say I kept trucking and I was able to finish well and actually got within seconds of my second fastest Ironman time. Not too shabby for walking a bunch after mile 16.

The longer you race, the more races you get under your belt, the more you will need to look for motivation to keep you pushing thru on race day. Keep this in mind when trying to balance your life, work, and triathlon. Don’t sacrifice you wife, kids, and job just for triathlon. Life is too short for that. Figure out what you have time to train for so that you don’t find yourself in a race thinking about pulling the plug.

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