9/15/17

IM 70.3 World Championship - race recap (Karel)


With Ironman Chattanooga in just two weeks, I was a little nervous about how Karel would manage his effort at the IM 70.3 WC as he is no stranger to giving a hard effort when he races. But I could tell from his attitude, especially after what happened to me on Saturday, that he was not going to take any risks and he was going to give a good effort, without leaving it all out there. Never has Karel raced a half Ironman just two weeks before an Ironman but there's a first for everything. 

I set my alarm for 4am and slooooowly, got myself out of bed. Karel went through his normal pre-race routine of coffee (espresso), bathroom, food (for this race it was oatmeal + granola + almond butter + frozen raspberries) and then a short jog outside to help him move everything through his system. Karel also sipped on a scoop of OSMO pre load in water before we left the house.

At 5:15am, we headed down to the race venue. Although I was still bummed about not racing on Saturday, I was excited to use my tapered and fueled body to cheer for Karel. I just love watching Karel race and I was also excited to spectate our athlete Alvaro for his first 70.3 World Championship.

After Karel pumped up his tires and placed his 3 bottles of sport nutrition (2 bottles with Levelen, 1 bottle with INFINIT) and Garmin on his bike, we walked back to the car for Karel to relax. With Karel being in the 3rd wave (Pros, then PC athletes and then Male 40-44), Karel had enough time to not feel rushed but at the same time, the early morning went by quickly before it was time for Karel to head back down to the water.

Prior to walking to the water, Karel did another jog warm-up to get his system going. Around 6:30a, we walked down to Ross's Landing, where we stood around until Karel walked over to the corral for the start of his wave. 


Al getting ready for his first 70.3 WC but playing it smart as he also has IM Chatty approaching. 

Karel was a little worried about not being able to get into the water before the race as his pre-race swim has been a ritual for him to get a good feel of the water and to adjust the wetsuit but I brought a bottle of water for him to pour inside of his wetsuit so that he could avoid the "sucking" feeling of the wetsuit being tight on the chest when he entered the water. Karel received his swim cap after entering the corral and lined up in the sub 30 minute group of men in his AG. 


It was awesome to see the pros go off and then the PC athletes and before we knew it, Karel was in the water (still loving the Ironman tracker app!). With this being a rolling wave start, a small group of athletes dove (or jumped) into the water every 15 seconds. 


After wishing Karel good luck and to have a great race, it was time for my spectating duties to begin! 

It was fun to have so many Trimarnis out on the sidelines to cheer - including Kona, the furry spectator. Campy stayed back at our rental house so that I could put all my energy into Karel. 


I couldn't believe it when my phone chimed to let me know that Karel was out of the water in 30 minutes! I was thinking that Karel would be happy with sub 34 minutes but I knew he would be thrilled with his 30 minute swim. Karel said that the current didn't feel too strong in either direction but he was certainly swimming faster (per his Garmin) on the way back to the swim exit. Karel was surprised that he felt so good in the water and even more shocked that he was passing athletes as soon as he dove into the water. What a great confidence booster, especially since Karel has been working so hard on his swim for many years. 


Since my athlete Meredith was spectating on Saturday, she knew all the hot spots for us to go in order to see the athletes on the course. After we saw Al, we waited a few more minutes for Karel. We caught Karel after he grabbed his blue bike gear bag and ran up the ramp to the changing area and quickly after, we sprinted our way to the bike out area to catch Karel get on his bike. As Karel was running to his bike, he took in 1 Enervitene cheerpack. 


It was impressive to watch Karel do his first ever flying mount on his bike and naturally, he looked like he had been doing it all his life. I guess being a former cyclist has it's benefits - anything on the bike feels/looks natural. 


Cheering squad!
There wasn't a lot of waiting around after Karel got on his bike because I wanted to watch the professional men run up the hill as they started their run. I walked to my car to grab a snack (PBJ sandwich and a yogurt) and then walked to the hill under the blue wooden bridge. 


While we watched the pros, I was keeping track of Karel on the tracker and I was really impressed with the bike ride that he was having. In most of Karel's races, his back is his limiter as it tends to tighten up as he pushes, which keeps him from riding the race that he is capable of riding. Although he had some back tightness in the last 10 miles of the ride, Karel felt really good on this bike course. He told me later on that he just loved this bike course and it was just perfect for him as it suited his riding style. There were lots of opportunities for Karel to sit up and get out of the saddle and other places to use his skills. In addition to his liquid sport nutrition, Karel had a pack of Skratch chews, 3 HOT SHOTS (in a squeezable flask) and an Enervitene cheerpack. He did not grab any other water or nutrition on the course. Since the first chunk of the bike course is very similar to what we ride on in Greenville, SC, Karel was really happy out on his bike, which made racing a lot of fun for him. The weather was cool in the morning but just perfect for the 56 mile bike ride. Karel never felt too hot or cold.

After Karel got off his bike, his running legs came to him rather quickly and he settled into a rhythm for the first out and back section out of the transition. I was shocked to see Karel in 14th place off the bike and I couldn't wait to share this information with him when I saw him. Although a part of me was worried about telling him that he was close to being in the top 10 of his age group because I didn't want him to dig too deep, I knew that Karel would process the information and be smart with his race effort. Somehow, Karel always knows how to put together a great race. 


We gave Karel a big cheer as we saw him run up the hill and he looked calm and in control. After the race, Karel told me that he just loved the run course and he felt great all day. Since our terrain includes lots of hills where we run, Karel put himself into a familiar environment and just settled into a strong effort, without taking any risks or digging too deep. 


As I saw Karel finish up loop one of two after crossing the bridge I noticed on the tracker that he was moving up in his age group. Although there were some faster guys in the top 5, I was feeling confident that Karel could move into the top 10 - which would be a huge accomplishment, seeing that there were over 400 guys in his age group. 


Karel was running super steady and it was impressive to track him throughout the 13.1 mile run. With every mile as the race went on, it seemed like Karel was getting stronger and faster. Since Karel was saving one extra gear throughout the race, he put it into that extra gear just for the last 3 miles. Because of the wave/rolling start, Karel was not sure where he was in his age group but that really wasn't a focus for him as he was racing. His goal was to put together a solid race to build confidence for IM Chattanooga in two weeks.

For sport nutrition, Karel used Precision Hydration 1500 (in two flasks) and 2 Enervitene cheerpacks (in 1 flask) throughout the race. He wanted to use LEVELEN on the run but because Karel was not able to access his gear bags on race morning, he used the Precision Hydration instead. Karel did not use any coke/red bull on the course as he felt energized all day.  He felt very comfortable out on the course (temperature wise) and only used water to sip on and cool his neck a few times throughout the run. 


With Al being just a few miles behind Karel, we secured a great spot at the finish line to watch Karel (and then Al) run down the magical red carpet and across the finish line. A few guys went by and finally, there was Karel. 


In typically Karel fashion, he was running strong. Later I told Karel that he was less than 30 seconds away from 6th place! He joked "oh man, maybe I should have ran harder."



After we met up with Karel, he looked really good. Not too beat up and walking semi-normally. I told him about his 8th place finish and he couldn't believe it. He was in shock that he was 8th in his AG, especially on a day when he felt in control and so good all day. Karel felt like not having any pressure on himself to perform well and not digging too deep really helped him pace the race and put together one of his best half Ironman performances. 


For the last part of Karel's race, I completely forgot about my face and the accident which kept me from racing on Saturday. I was just so happy for Karel that he had such a great day of racing. Although Karel was really sad for me that I could not race on this course, we are a team and when one of us succeeds, we both feel like winners. Teamwork makes the dream work. 


Karel had a few nice words with Jesse Thomas after the race and then we got a picture together. 


Karel wasn't interested in any food after the race so he drank a Cheribundi recovery drink that I had brought for him and about 30 minutes later, he sipped on a coke to keep his blood sugar up. It wasn't too long after Karel finished that Al crossed the finish line.



It was so much fun to share the race with Meredith, Natalie, Peggy, Leyla, Leigh Ann, my mom, Stephanie and Laura, along with others that I saw on and off the course. Thank you Stephanie G for some of these pics! 


Race Results
Swim: 30:34
T1: 3:28
Bike: 2:30.29
T2: 2:23
Run: 1:26.35
Total time: 4:33:28
8th AG (40-44)

The IM 70.3 World Championship was an incredible experience. Even though I didn't get to race, it was still one for the memory books. Since we returned home, I have had blood work, BP testing with my sport doc and an EKG with a cardiologist. Everything came back good and I am otherwise healthy, minus the scary blacking out episode that occurred on race day. The docs contributed it to getting up to fast with low blood pressure. Hopefully just a one time accident. I also received the OK to resume back normal training and permission to race again this season!

Since the race, Karel's recovery has been going well as he gears up for his last race of his season. As to be expected, he has waves of feeling good and then being tired but his recovery started just a few hours after the race when he had on his training plan to do a 90 minute EZ spin to help flush his legs.

Now that the 70.3 World Championship event is behind us, we have to get ready for another trip to Tennessee. On September 24th (two days after Karel turns 41!), it's time for Ironman Chattanooga! 

------------------------------------------


A BIG thank you to our 
2017 Trimarni sponsors and affiliates:

-Run In - for helping us with all of our running needs
-New Wave Swim Buoy - for keeping us safe and seen in the open water
-Mg12 - for helping our muscles stay relaxed
-Clif Bar - for quality ingredients in quality sport nutrition
-Cheribundi - for providing a safe, natural and delicious way to reduce inflammation
-Veronica's Health Crunch - for the most delicious hand made crunch - ever!
-Infinit - for customizable sport nutrition
-Levelen - for helping us optimize our hydration needs through sweat testing
-Hot Shot - for keeping Karel cramp-free!
-Solestar - for maximum stability, better power transmission
-Boco Gear - for helping us race in style
-Canari - for the most comfortable, functional and stylish gear
-Xterra - for the fastest wetsuit ever (so fast, Karel is now beating me in the swim!)
-Alto cycling - for enginnering the fastest race wheels
-Swamp Rabbit Inn and Lodge - for keeping our campers happy with perfect lodging options
-Salem Anesthesia - for your Trimarni support





9/13/17

IM 70.3 World Championship - race recap (Marni)

On Friday morning, I woke up feeling excited that I only had one more sleep until race day. While I loved the idea of having women and men race on separate days, it was a little strange to think that I would not be racing with Karel, on the same day. But at the same time, I was super excited to give my best effort on race day (Saturday) and then get back out there on Sunday to cheer for Karel.

The morning started with us driving a few miles downtown so that we could get in a bike and swim workout. As we were driving to the race venue, I felt a little short of breath but I simply contributed it to nerves and my menstrual cycle (day 3). In other words, everything that I felt on Friday felt very normal to me. Once we got on our bikes, I felt much better and the excitement replaced the nerves/anxiety and I was itching to race. After our 70 minute spin on the race course, we followed it up with an open water swim. We heard the water temp had dropped and there was a good chance it would be wetsuit legal but we only brought our speedsuits/swimskins to the practice swim (wetsuits back at the rental house). Thankfully, the water felt great without a wetsuit. Karel and I swam together, one loop of the pre-race swim course (about 15-20 minutes - I didn't wear a watch). The current was not as strong as our practice swim on Wednesday and I felt very good in the water. Once we exited the water, it was time to head back to the car and then back to our rental house to eat. 



I had a delicious breakfast of potatoes, eggs and lots of fruit with yogurt. Karel headed down to the race venue without me so that he could help out his friend Roman from Czech (the one who received a rolldown slot for Kona in Karel's age group) who was getting his new Ventum. Karel needed to translate for him and help him out so as Karel was at the race venue, I relaxed with Campy and repacked my gear bags. I was a little frustrated that we could not access our gear bags on race morning, which meant that I had to fill up my hydration belt flasks on Friday to leave overnight but I didn't let it stress me out. There's no point wasting energy on things out of my control. 

                           

My friend and athlete Natalie picked me up so that we could both go down to the bike/gear bag check-in together. Of course, Campy went along for the ride, along with Natalie's 8-month puppy Kona. It felt great having Campy with us as he keeps me calm and relaxed.

When we arrived, we met up with Karel and he was put on dog-watching duty as Natalie and I checked in our gear bags and bike. It was a cool experience to be rolling my bike into a 70.3 World Championship transition area and I was getting more and more excited to race.


After setting up our stuff, I waited for Karel to be finished with helping Roman at Ventum, which worked out great as my mom (and my athlete/friend Meredith) was soon to arrive to the race venue. We headed back to our rental house around 4pm and then it was time to relax for the rest of the evening.

Seeing that my appetite had been great all race week, it was not hard for me to eat my pre-race meal of tempeh and basmati rice - nice and simple. An hour or so later, I was feeling a little hungry so I snacked on saltine crackers, with a little peanut butter. I spent most of the evening in bed, relaxing and visualizing myself on the race course. Around 8pm, I was ready to fall asleep and surprisingly, I went to bed very quickly and slept great on the night before the race.

My plan for the morning was for my mom and I to get picked up by Natalie so that Karel could sleep in and do his own thing as he needed to get ready for his race on Sunday. I asked Karel to be on the run course to cheer me on but other than that, I didn't need to see him at the race.

When my alarm went off at 4am, I got up very quick out of bed because I didn't want to wake-up Karel. Campy was not thrilled with my early wake-up so he just stayed in bed with Karel.

After I got out of bed, I grabbed my iPad and phone and went right to the closet where I had my race outfit in a bag. Within less than a minute of getting out of bed, I bent over to get my clothes and then headed to the bathroom, which was attached to our bedroom.

I felt a little dizzy when I got up but I didn't think too much of it as my mind was in race mode and I was so focused on my pre-race routine before Natalie arrived at 5:15am.

When I went into the bathroom, I shut the door to the bedroom so that I wouldn't wake up Karel and sat on the toilet to go t  the bathroom. I started to feel the same dizziness from a minute earlier as I was emptying my bladder. After I washed my hands, I rinsed off my face, hoping that the cold water would wake me up.

After washing my face, I don't remember what happened next as it was around 4:10am when I woke up, realizing that I was on the kitchen floor, just outside of the bathroom, flat down on the ground.

As I woke up from my blackout, still laying flat down on the ground, I wasn't fully with it so my immediate reaction was "I am very tired but very comfortable on the floor so I will just stay here for a few minutes and sleep." I actually remember reaching for my phone and setting the alarm to wake me up at 4:15am. I didn't have the race on my mind as I was so sleepy. After setting my alarm, I felt the taste of blood in my mouth and touched the inside of my lip and didn't understand why I had blood inside of my mouth.  I didn't put together the pieces that I was not in bed and was on the kitchen floor with a bloody lip but because I was so tired, I convinced myself that I needed a little more sleep and I was totally cool with sleeping on the floor (apparently, at the time it felt as comfy as a mattress).

Around 4:14am, before my alarm went off, I felt like I had enough energy to stand up. I slowly got up and walked to the bathroom to check out my face. Since the light was on in the bathroom, I immediately saw my face and well, it did not look good. The inside of my lip was sliced open, I had bruises on the left side of my face and the top of my nose was cut. I was starting to slowly comprehend what had happened but because this had never happened before, I was still so confused about the situation.

I opened the door to the bedroom and woke-up Karel by telling him "Ummm, Karel, I think we have a problem. I fainted and hit my face on the floor." I felt so bad for waking up Karel but he was so scared about what had just happened to me and felt so upset that he didn't get up with me to help me out when I blacked out.

I made my way back in bed as I was so exhausted and I couldn't help but think about the race that I had dedicated my entire year to, was about to start in 3 hours. Karel immediately called Natalie to tell her not to pick me up and that I would not be racing. To be honest, even though I was upset why this had to happen on this day, I was so exhausted and my face felt like I was punched in the face, that the thought of racing wasn't very appealing.

I laid in bed until 5am and at that point, Karel wanted me to get something in my belly. I wasn't sure how eating or drinking would work with my busted lip but I gathered some energy and headed to the kitchen to drink a glass of OJ along with a waffle with syrup. Since this was part of my pre-race meal, I started to think that maybe I could still race. I was still so upset about the situation and a big part of me still wanted to race. I texted Natalie not to tell the officials that I wasn't racing yet, even though Karel told her earlier that there was no way that I was racing. After eating/drinking, I still felt so tired and empty and after much discussion with Karel, we decided that racing was not a smart idea. Something was wrong with my body and no race was worth compromising my health even more so that it was already compromised.

I made my way to the couch with my iPad and turned on the live broadcast of the Pro female race. Even though I was not racing, I still wanted to watch the race. I was dealing with a lot of waves of emotions, especially after I told our athletes/team and on my Trimarni page that I would not be racing. There were some tears and my heart ached at the situation that I was put in as I couldn't help but think "Why on this day??"

Karel was so shocked by the situation and he did not want to leave me but by 8:30am or so, I told him to go out on his bike and get in his pre-race warm-up. Although Karel managed to spin his legs, his head was not in the right place and he was so sad for me as he was confident that I would have a great race and that this course was just perfect for me. Karel felt so bad for me as we spent the morning together on the couch, watching the race and tracking Trimarni athletes Natalie and Stephanie, along with some of our other female friends who were racing.

Saturday morning was one of the most scariest and hardest days that I have ever experienced as a triathlete. I have never missed the start of a race before in my 11 years of endurance racing and never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that this would be how I would miss the start of a race. Although part of me was trying to put together the pieces as to why this happened - was it low blood volume related to my menstrual cycle, low blood pressure or something else - I couldn't stop saying to Karel "I should be racing right now." It was a sad and frustrating morning and as the day went on, it became more and more difficult to handle.

Around 2pm, I felt like I was ready to get out of the house as I was feeling almost back to normal (besides feeling like I was punched in the face) so I headed down to the race venue with Karel, my mom and Campy as it was time for Karel to check-in his bike. Karel was not in his normal race mode due to my fall in the morning but there was no way that I would let him miss his race as I needed him to race for the both of us.

As I walked to the transition area, tears started to flow into my eyes as I saw the many female age groupers walking around with their finisher medals. I didn't think I would be so emotional but it was very hard to process the fact that I had just missed out on the race that I had dedicated my entire season to. As I was picking up my bike and unused gear bags, I ran into several of my friends who had raced and had to explain the situation of me not racing over and over again. Although it was tough to hear myself say that I didn't race, somehow, talking about my fall and hearing the reactions from others who were concerned about me, was very therapeutic. Although I was still grieving about not racing, I knew I had made the right decision not to race as I am a huge proponent of health first, performance second. As the day went on, I started to physically feel a lot better (although tired all day). By evening, I was so exhausted, mentally and physically and I was quick to fall asleep.....but not quick to get out of bed on Sunday morning.

I want to thank everyone who texted, emailed and commented to me on social media. It means so much. I am not one who likes to make excuses or talk about my problems but it really helped to share my story and to hear from so many of you who have experienced something similar or expressed your sympathy.

Now that I feel completely back to normal (ego is healed and my face is healing), I have already started my process of trying to figure out what happened by getting blood work done on Monday, seeing my sport doc on Tues and today, I will see a cardiologist. I am hoping that there is nothing underlying going on and it's either blood pressure related (freak accident) or related to my fluctuating hormones/menstrual cycle (ex. blood volume/blood pressure). If you know me, I am very passionate about the sport of triathlon. This sport means so much to me and I really don't want my season to end like this. So far, everything is coming back normal so if the cardiologist doesn't find anything serious/alarming, I should have the OK by my doc that I can get another race on my calendar to finish out my season. I'll be sure to keep you updated on my health but in the mean time, I have Karel's race report to write and it's a good one!!


9/12/17

5 tips to help you move on from a bad race



Sometimes you will be able to address something specific that negatively affected your race performance and other times, you may have done everything right in training, yet on race day, the results were what you hoped for. When things do not go your way on race day, you are presented with a unique opportunity to learn about yourself as an athlete.

Here are few tips to help you learn from a race that did not go as you had planned.

  1. Reflect: If you constantly dwell on what should have/could have happened, you will never accept what you need to change or be able to move on. If you went into your race healthy, injury free and fit, you may see your race as a failure if you did not meet your predicted race outcome or feel a certain way on race day. For other athletes, who may have experience a setback, inconsistent training or a challenge in the training journey, you may find yourself unappreciative for your current abilities, considering all that you have been through in the past. Regardless if you started or finished your race, reflect on your season as a whole instead of focusing on just one race. Once you reflect with an open mind, discuss your thoughts, concerns and areas of improvement with your coach. Talking is healing and therapeutic. It's ok to grieve and to be upset. Don't let a bad race fill you with self-­doubt. Assess and then use your last performance as motivation for your next training block as you believe in your ability to succeed and learn that racing is much more than a finishing time - and sometimes the success doesn't come from finishing but simply getting to the start line.
  2. Don't rush recovery -­ It's very typical for athletes to feel the need to jump right back into training (or register for another race) in an effort to re­do what didn't go well in the previous race. There may be some good in this if a health issue (that is now resolved) set you back or you are unable to finish a race due to a mechanical/gear issue or bad weather cancels your race and you want to use your accumulated fitness. But always put your health first and if you do not get the results that you wanted, be respectful to your body after the race for you need to recover from the physical and emotional stress on your body. What you do after a race determines how well you will perform in your next race. A DNS, DNF or bad race teaches you to celebrate the good races. During your recovery, work on your confidence and self belief to ensure that you come back to training with excitement and appreciation for what your body can do.
  3. Don't take it out on your body ­- It's very easy to get mad at your body if it doesn't perform like you wanted or if it lets you down before or during a race. Accept that not every race will be a "great race". As an athlete, it's not a guarantee that you will always get to the finish, let alone the start line. Racing is a puzzle with many pieces contributing to your race day performance. What you do before the race can be just as important as what you do on race day. Not always do the pieces of the puzzle need to be tightly in place for you to perform well but be sure all the pieces of the puzzle are in front of you, so that you don't hope for a good result but instead, set yourself up for success. And if something happens before or during the race, discuss with a professional who can help you figure out what went wrong.
  4. Keep your eyes on your short and long term goals ­- Sometimes you have to change the plan but never change the goals. When a race doesn't go as planned, let your post race feelings bring intense motivation and commitment to mastering your training, mental strength, skills and nutrition/fueling for your next race. Consider your season as a whole and don't just look at your season as "one race". With a global approach to your season, make every race count but don't count on performing amazingly well at every race. Set small, meaningful goals to reach along the way to help you acknowledge that your training is working for you. Don't just focus on the metrics or race outcome but consider little things, that perhaps you once were unable to do (or never thought to do) before or on race day.  The body is an amazing thing and it puts up with a lot to help you do incredible things with it.
  5. Manage expectations ­ - No matter the race priority or what happens on race day, your race doesn't define you as an athlete. When you can manage your expectations, you can easily navigate through the obstacles that arise on race day. No race can be planned for as your body has to perform under the circumstances that it is given. A good or bad race can often be decided by the weather, competition and course, your health and not necessarily by your current level of fitness or how hard you trained to prepare. To help you enjoy your developmental journey, avoid comparing yourself to other athletes or a past version of yourself. Make no assumptions for race day and understand that racing is more about the process than the outcome. Your finishing time does not define you as an athlete. Throughout your athletic career/hobby, there will be many ups and downs in training and on race day. Some races will go amazingly well and some races will be hard to forget. Just because you don't meet a time or place goal, didn't start or didn't finish, don't assume that your race was a failure. In other words, instead of seeing a race as either "good" or "bad", consider a new definition that helps you learn from race to race and to find success in every race experience. A disappointing race can leave you with a mix of uncomfortable feelings but you have it within you to effectively move forward with confidence that no matter what happens on race day, you can make the most of every situation and learn something from every experience. 

9/10/17

Ironman 70.3 World Championship - quick recap


Life can be interesting.

There are many times in life when we can plan, prepare and perform. Times like these make life easy and fun. And then there are times when life throws you a curve ball and you can't help but think "this sucks."

As a lifelong athlete, I have experienced a lot of success in sport but I have also learned many important life skills and lessons. The hardest lessons are often the most valuable ones, as it's never easy to overcome obstacles and to manage a setback.

This weekend was filled with highs and lows. As much as I wish I could be writing two race reports from the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, I can only write Karel's race recap and not my own.

As you may have heard on social media, on Saturday morning (race day for me), a few minutes after my 4am alarm went off, I blacked out and ended up on the kitchen floor. My face took a good beating and since this has never happened before, it was very scary. I was alone when I got out of bed so when I woke up from my accident, it was hard to tell Karel that something was wrong as I knew he would be very worried and scared. Karel was quick to tell me that I was not going to race. I agreed with him but to be honest, the decision included some tears. I've dedicated my entire season to this race and since we arrived on Tuesday, every day made me more and more excited to race on this tough course with so many fit and strong female athletes. I felt in great shape, my mind was mentally committed and to be honest, I was just telling Karel how healthy and strong I feel going into this race. And then comes that curveball, out of the blue.  

I've always believed that a setback paves that way to a comeback. Unfair situations help us grow into the person that we are destined to become. Without a setback, we wouldn't learn about our health, our strengths, our weaknesses, etc. But more importantly, when an opportunity is stolen from you, that emptiness that you feel, typically filled with sadness and heartache, eventually becomes full again with a good or better feeling.

Like with most things in life, time heals. Although a part of me will continue to grieve for the loss of not participating in my first IM 70.3 World Championship, I am thankful for all of the kind words and support from Trimarni followers, my Trimarni athletes/teammates, my family and most importantly, Karel.

                        

Although physically I was feeling back to normal a few hours after I fainted, I was still devastated that I was not able to race. Picking up my bike and my gear bags on Saturday afternoon was tough - tougher than I imagined it would be. But, I could not have been more thankful that I had Karel's race to watch on Sunday. I just love watching Karel race and being out there with Trimarni athletes Natalie and Stephanie (who raced on Sat) and also watching Trimarni athlete Al on the course, along with my spectating buddies Meredith, Peggy, my mom, Leigh Ann, Leyla and Laura, and running into some familiar faces, was exactly what I needed. I needed to surround myself with others, smile, laught and watch the sport that I am so passionate about. I was happy to be out on the course - even if it was just on the sidelines.

As for Karel's race - what a race it was! Karel raced very smart and although he did not take it easy, he did not dig deep or take any risks as he has Ironman Chattanooga in 2 weeks, which is a very important race for him. Well, this strategy of racing smart and pacing well paid off as Karel put together an unbelievable performance, placing him 8th in his age group (40-44) out of 403 athletes (and less than 30 seconds away from 6th place!). Karel looked comfortable, in control and confident all day, on a course that suited his strengths.

I'll be writing more about the race weekend but for now, here are Karel's race stats: 

                                      
Swim: 30:34
T1: 3:28
Bike: 2:30.29
T2: 2:23
Run: 1:26.35

Total time: 4:33:28
8th AG (40-44)