PART BEAR. PART MAN. ALL AMERICAN
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…