Burnt to a Crisp – Ironman Texas 70.3 – What it Means to Race “Burned Out” on Racing and on Life

Ok y’all.  So I did it – I did another 70.3.  AND it wasn’t a pretty sight.  In my last post, I talked about how mentally and physically draining Ironman Arizona was- why the heck did I sign up for another one?!  I think I have a problem – I think I enjoy inflicting pain upon myself or I’m just plain dumb.  Probably a combination of both?  Who knows.  What I do know is, I had no business signing up for another half iron distance race with ultimately zero downtime after a huge race.  Especially given how draining Arizona was.  BUT here I am, typing up a race report on Ironman Texas 70.3.

Signing UP – Why drinking wine with fellow triathletes is not the best idea:

Backing up a month and a half – I finish Arizona, swore off triathlons for the rest of my life, and contemplated putting my bike up on Craig’s List.  Then these events happened in rapid succession:

  •  Thanksgiving
  • Closed on a House
  • Mom’s Back Surgery
  • Christmas
  • Year End at work – I’m an accountant and this is when sh*t gets real and continues all the way through the first quarter of the year.
  • Disney World Marathon & Trip
  • Chevron Houston Marathon

Ok, so y’all see that I had NO business signing up for Galveston.  Zero. So let’s flash to before Disney and having dinner with some fellow first timer triathletes and fellow teammates.  They decided to make their triathlon debut by signing up for Galveston 70.3 – I LOVE THIS RACE!  I told them it’s fun, it’s perfect for the distance, you’ll have a blast, blah blah – “more wine?” “oh yes please”.  “Rachel just sign up for it – you have plenty of time to train” “more wine?” “yes please” – “SCREW IT, I’LL DO IT!”.  Before I knew it, I was signed up, credit card approved and ready to rock another 70.3.  The LIES wine tells you. The bed of lies.  Oh well – I’ve done this race many times before.  What’s the worst that could happen?

What’s the phrase?  “Life Happens”

After signing up and heading to Disney World, I get back and hit the ground running at work.  My first week back was a blur that I blinked and it was the weekend again.  That Saturday arrives and I’m off doing a shakeout run and picking up my packet for the Chevron Houston Marathon.  That Saturday ended up being the best day of my life, because before I know it, I’m saying YES! to the guy who stole my heart.  Yes, I got engaged!!  AHHH!  What I have a marathon to run in the morning, screw it!  Let’s drink more wine and hang out more with all our friends and family – *gets to top of a mountain* – “I’M ENGAGED!!”.  Needless to say I ran the half the next day – it was hot and I was already sweating wine when I reached the start line.

NOTHING could pop my bubble now – I was engaged, starting wedding planning, shopping for the new house before we decide to move in – “what? start training? OH for that…I have plenty of time to do that – next week, for sure NEXT week”.  I mean what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Ahh life…can really be a gut punch sometimes.  Go back up to my timeline – remember where it said “closed on a house”?  Exciting right?!  And it was – super exciting!  It was going to be a couple of months before actually moving in, because I still was renting another house and wanted to end that on a good note.  Besides, that left us with a lot of time to throw some fresh paint on the walls and do a little remodeling without us actually being IN the house.

Oh Hello rain and flooding!!  What?  Has it been a year since I saw you last?  Gosh – can’t say I was super excited to see you, but I guess you were.  You know…since you flooded the rental house…and don’t forget about that black mold we found.  Well sh*t.  I guess we have to move out of the rental house in two days.  “training?  what training?  I have to MOVE all my stuff – no time!”.

I know what you’re thinking though, good!  Because we have a house to move into – and you’re absolutely right.  How blessed were we that we had a backup plan, somewhere to go.  Trust me, I know and I was unbelievably thankful of the timing of this.  It was a painful two days of packing, throwing junk out and moving everything in ourselves – but it was well worth it.  We didn’t to do the stuff we wanted to on the front end, but four walls and a roof ain’t bad. “ok ok, NOW I can start training”

“Honey – does that look like water to you?  Yeah right there, coming out of the base boards in our bathroom?”  What’s more dramatic than a face palm now adays?  A face desk or a body slam of some sort?  Think that.  Yup, we had a pipe leak two weeks into us moving into our new house.  That one pipe leak turned into a few and ultimately turned into repiping our ENTIRE house.  We knew buying an older house, we ran that risk of older pipes – but damn…two weeks in??  Water has really become the enemy here.  “oh yeah training – gtfoh – we got new pipes to get installed” Side note: I did do some training here – you can go see my TriDot profile.  It’s there – I SWEAR I logged some workouts. Scout’s honor.

Life slows down, work picks up LIGHT speed:

After the pipes incident, life slowed down a little.  I was able to do some wedding planning and fit in training.  I wasn’t super stoked about training at this point, but I knew I needed to do something to keep my stress levels at work to a reasonable level.  Work progressed with a bank audit, inventory appraisal and then a financial statement audit.  I got stressed – and I mean STRESSED.  Training was helping some, but I was finding myself just plain tired.  BURNT to a CRISP you might say of just everything.  My appetite still wasn’t right from Arizona, I was losing weight and not in the fun way.  In the “I should be eating more, but I keep forgetting to eat lunch at work, and OH hey hot fries and coffee, you’re a good breakfast”.  I surprisingly was able to keep a steady training schedule up until about the last three weeks leading up to Galveston.  I was working 65+ hour weeks and it became “should I sleep or should I train”?  Sleep always wins.  ALWAYS.   I did what I could and when race week arrived I just decided to just go have fun and see what happens.  I think I at least earned the backpack you get at athlete check in.

Race Day – The Great Storm that Never Came:

Leading up to race day, I did what any other athlete would do.  Obsessively watch the weather, and noted that a HUGE storm was heading our way.  The weather man said flooding, lightening, high winds – the perfect weather to race in.  My teammates and I kept watching and the day before the race we just told ourselves that it is what it is and we will take it.  Me kinda secretly crossing my fingers to cancel the bike or something.  You’re totally still a half ironman if you just run 13.1 miles.  I know, that’s not funny, ESPECIALLY for first timers – I promise I kept it positive to my teammates!  I wanted them to have the best time, my life happenings and burn out was not their fault on any level, so I shouldn’t bring those vibes to them.

Race day came bright and early at 4am.  Alarm sounds and it’s time to get up and get ready!  Weather predictions stayed the same, but it looked like we might actually get off the bike before the really bad stuff happened.  Or that’s what I was hoping – Galveston is known for bad winds already, then you throw in a thunderstorm and you’ve got yourself a wind party.  NOT the fun kind either…is there a fun kind?  Not sure…mental note to google this after I post this novel, excuse me, I mean blog post.  (I just scrolled up on this thing.  It’s getting long, I’ll wrap this up shortly.  Promise – hang in there with me!) Back to race day – everyone got dressed, packed in the car, and my honey drove us to transition.  Good ol’ transition.  I made it quick – threw on some nutrition, organized my stuff, checked my tires and out I went.  Gosh I really had to pee and that line looked like I might have to pee in my wetsuit.  Don’t worry, I didn’t, I made it.

The swim was kinda ok, but also kinda crappy.  SUPER choppy but at the same time the current was nice coming in.  So basically I drank a lot of water, but then the ocean passed me in like crowd surfing.  Ok so that wasn’t so bad.  I actually think I might have earned a 30 second PR on that.  Score!

The bike SUCKED.  Ok so typically on this course, it’s an out an back.  So one way is tail wind and the other way is head wind.  I knew this going in, but I also checked those weather predictions and saw those beautiful 30+mph gusts.  Oh goody!  Going out is when I FLY!  I always tell myself that Lance Armstrong should really call me so I can tell him how amazing a bike rider I am and I can give him so many tips on being awesome like me, then I get checked coming back in because headwind kicks in to remind me how much of a NOOB I am.  This year wasn’t the same.  Going out, I could maybe feel a tail wind?  But with the constant gusts coming at me I asked Jesus to take the wheel so I wouldn’t fly off the road and clinched my legs so tight for 28 miles and then got beat up by the typical head wind coming back in.  Bullocks!

The run – ugh.  Let’s just say that I screwed up my IT band from holding on for dear life on the bike, soooo I practically walked the entire run.  Oh and that storm?  It never came, it actually went AROUND Galveston.   And to many – especially my teammates – was the best part of the day.  You know, other than them ALL finishing their first triathlon that happened to be a half ironman!  (seriously, so proud of all of them)

Do as I say, not as I do:

Basically no PR for me, but did I expect one?  Hell no.  I was not mentally or physically ready for this race and boy did my performance show it!  Could I blame the “race conditions” as part of the reason my race was shot to hell?  I could.  But I would also be lying to myself, because going into this day I wasn’t ready.  I should have never done this race, I should have taken a well needed rest from endurance to rebuild strength for my body and mind.  That is exactly what I’m doing now.  Taking a break – and taking a long one from triathlons.  I’ll be back, for sure – and with a new last name at that!   So kids, do as I say, not as I do.  Take a break when you need one.  And REALLY take a break – your body needs it…your brain needs it.  There’s always another race and another time.






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