MICHAEL LOVATO | Professional Triathlete




Change of Plans

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Over the past eleven seasons of racing triathlons as a professional, I have encountered the typical ups and downs that we all go through as athletes. I have raced well, and I have race poorly. I have won races, and I have finished dead last. I have felt unstoppable on race day, and I have suffered just to achieve some small semblance of forward progress. I have enjoyed being on the race course, and I have endured days where I wished I never got out of bed. I won’t say I have done it all, but I will say that I have done a lot.

Despite my ample breadth of experience as a pro triathlete, I find myself facing a brand new challenge this week. The challenge today is coming to terms with the fact that I will not be toeing the line at Saturday’s inaugural Ironman St. George. While I officially withdrew from the race ten days ago, it has been hard for me to come right out of the blue and say it: “I won’t be racing St. George.” But today is the day I want to share with those who have been so kindly supporting me that I have changed directions.

To some this may not seem like much of a challenge: On a weekly basis, athletes change race plans and race schedules and race goals. Some athletes change their race plans within the very race. And others see no issue or difficulty in jumping ship from one planned event to another. But for me – after making it more than one decade without backing out of a commitment – I am forced to make a significant change of plans.

Sparing the details for another post, I will sum things up by saying that I suffered a setback in my training, and I have yet to regain 100% strength. One thing that I have told myself year after year is that I will never start an Ironman – or any other triathlon – without being 100% ready to race. I have seen too many athletes enter races with niggles or injuries or small aches and pains. Additionally, I know very well how capable the Ironman distance is of picking apart an athlete, and exposing his every weakness or flaw. I have promised myself that without being 100% healthy to tackle the challenges of the day, I would not put myself out there.

I am very disappointed to be missing this event, as I had been very drawn to the challenging race, the fairness of the course, and the beauty of Southwestern Utah. My fondness for inaugural events, my connection with others of the athletes tacking IMSTG, and my desire to really knock one out of the park will definitely make it hard to miss Saturday’s race. However, I’ll be with you all in spirit.

My best to all of you on race day; make the most of the challenge; and, without a doubt, go out there and get race that thing for those who cannot be there with you!

And I’ll see you all in Coeur d’Alene…

9 Comment(s)

Andree on 4/27/10 said:

Oh, it is a HUGE challenge, and you’re doing it gracefully! Everything happens for a reason-something better yet to come :)

Mer! on 4/27/10 said:

ML!! Sounds like it was an incredibly difficult decision to come to terms with……however….probably going with your gut feeling, where you can’t go wrong with!!! Sending speedy “feeling fast” vibes and channeling that energy into CDA!!!

goSonja on 4/28/10 said:

No doubt an extremely tough decision that you just made. However, you are the master of your ship, no one can sail it for you. I’ll see you and cheer for you in CdA, where it will be nice to see another Trakkers uniform out on the course.

Carole D. on 4/28/10 said:

Ditto all of the above comments–you’re the man, Michael!

Kristin Mayer on 4/29/10 said:

Sorry to hear, but your experience has brought you great wisdom. Perhaps you are on your way to St. Croix to take in some R&R and cheer for your lovely bride? I had to pull the plug on the Boston Marathon this year, not due to injury, but do to life changes that just had me begging for some reprieve. I do know a couple of things: There will be other races and you will look back and be proud you made this decision. Good for you for listening to your body.

Hope to see you in the fall in Kona.

Rich Poley on 4/30/10 said:

Damn good decision! It takes courage, clarity, and knowing yourself well to make it. There can be no doubt that it was the right choice and one more people should make instead of starting a race not all there and suffering damage that takes months to repair. Congratulations. Hope to see you soon.

Chris Ewert on 4/30/10 said:

Sorry to hear, was looking forward to cheering for you from the back of the pack tomorrow.

JP Coleman on 5/3/10 said:

As an age grouper and fan of yours, I was looking forward to seeing you blow past me on the course. I’m glad you’re doing what is best for you. Just wanted to say we missed you out there. Good luck with the upcoming races!

T.J. on 5/13/10 said:

After meeting you and getting the honor to workout with you at the IMSG Training Camp in Feb, I was very saddened to see that you were not going to be at the race on May 1st. I, too, was looking forward to talking with you again at the pre-race festivities and yelling out some encouragement to you as you passed me on the bike loop. But you did the right thing of not racing if you didn’t feel 100%…. worse injuries may have ensued, and a much worse remaining 2010 season would have been waiting for you. Smart call.
Your attitude and wisdom I experienced at the training camp paid dividends as I became an official Ironman on the night of May 1st! I give a lot of credit to you, Paul, and Roch. I really look forward to crossing your path again soon and saying “Hi!”
Keep training smart, and good luck with the rest of 2010!

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