One word: Disappointed. I saw yesterday as an opportunity to have a great performance, at my hometown Ironman, with the best fitness of my life. I had an excellent IM focused training block, specific to this race. I had a great race plan to execute. I was healthy and injury free. 2 weeks prior, I had the best 70.3 of my life. The stars were aligned.
After a choppy but ok swim, my gap to the front was smaller than ever at this distance. I’m the water we had a group of 4 for the first half, and then it broke up and I was solo. The waves were crazy and I felt like I managed them ok, but maybe spent a little more effort than usual doing so. Not much to report here.
I rode my race plan, even letting others up the road to be committed to my own execution. I ate, I drank, and I stayed calm and smooth. Just as I trained. I had some hand/finger cramping start right away, which was totally odd. About 2hr into the ride I had a quad cramp, again very odd as I never cramp. Then about 3 hours into the bike I started peeing. Over the next 90min I peed 4 more times. My fluid intake was not higher than any other day I’ve trained that duration. Then there was a power drop off, which may have been happening regardless. But overall my power ended up being 20w below what I’ve done in training. Despite this, I rode into 7th place and was 6th out of transition. I had a decent ride split for the day, and thought maybe with the lower power I would have a little more in the run legs.
Starting the run I was excited because I heard that 2nd place was 9min ahead. Knowing the past performances of these guys, I was expecting them to run 3hr or more. Me, I’m a runner. I am in the best run shape of my life, having just run 1:13 off the bike in Traverse City. All of my training has indicated that 2:50 was doable as long as I executed through the first 6hr of the race, which I had done. I went out and held myself to the pacing plan my coach and I practiced, only things felt much different than usual. The urination continued, now coming every mile. It was dark in color, but also extremely confusing because I was not drinking that much fluid. In the 6 Ironman races I have done, this has happened 1 other time (IMWI 2017). Never at any other races, never in training. Regardless, I pressed on, holding pace through the first loop, moving my way solidly into 6th and closing on 3 more up the road. I was in a good spot mentally, despite all of this. At the start of lap 2 I tried to increase my pace, as planned, but it just wasn’t happening. However, I continued to run decent, around 6:30 miles give or take. Then, mile 16 happened.
*a lot of this is reported from athletes/friends of mine who witnessed this* I don’t remember a lot of it.
I ran myself into the stadium wall at Camp Randall and let out a groan. Eventually I recovered and entered to stadium to run the loop. On the way out I stumbled, fell onto the curb, and stared off into nowhere. A course official asked me if I needed help, I said no. By this time my friends watching had called Kitty and she was on her way over. I got back up, then quickly went back down. I then started walking and seemed very dazed and out of it. My friends and a police officer started following me down the course. I tried to run, but had no motor control to do so. Eventually I ended up back on the pavement, passed out. I remember a lot of commotion. Voices from people I know but nothing specific. I remember Jenny rolling me on my side when I started as if I would throw up. But mostly I just remember feeling like I was sleeping. Then I felt Kitty touch my face and tell me she was there. That moment is clear. I opened my eyes and said “oh shit” because I realized I was done. The medics came. They asked me my name and age. I was wrong on age but right on name. I started saying some weird stuff about what I was doing. Then the medic told me it would be unethical for them to allow me to continue. They tried to put an IV in, but failed. It felt to me like 2 minutes had passed, but apparently it was a long time. Eventually I was loaded into the ambulance and worked on for an hour before going to the Med tent for more attention. The peeing didn’t stop. I became extremely cold and unable to warm up. My blood pressure was under 100. My blood sugar was 120. They got an IV in me and gave me 3 liters of fluid. I peed 3 times in the med tent. It was brown. They wrapped me in blankets and used a space heater to warm me up. After some time the doctor told me I had life back in my eyes, and eventually I was let out to Kitty. Nobody there really indicated any possibilities of what was happening to me, or whether or not I needed to get more extensive blood work done, or anything. We quickly found a Porto potty so I could pee again, then went home.
Right now I’m devastated. Mostly because I have no idea how it happened. I wasn’t making stupid decisions with pacing/effort or nutrition. I wasn’t underprepared. I don’t know what I would do differently. I’ve had multiple training days with higher TSS and better/faster/more comfortable runs off the bike. I don’t know what to point to.
My body failed me. It’s hard right now, less than 24hr later, to sit here and not think about the hours and hours of training, the sacrifices I’ve made in order to do so, the sacrifices Kitty has made to support me, the countless conversations with her about this race, just to suddenly fail. I think that’s the hardest part for me to process.
Now I start to turn the page from this and move on. I’m talking with my coach about how things unfolded and trying to determine what could have gone wrong. I’m going to contact a medical professional who may be able to help me determine the cause for excessive urination. I’m going to schedule a comprehensive sweat test to determine what my needs are, in case that has anything to do with this. Because there is no sense in racing this distance until I have a grasp on how to avoid this happening again.
I want to thank everyone who came out to support me on course, sent messages, and reached out to see how I was doing after the race. You are all amazing and I am truly thankful to have people in my life like you. It means so much to me to know I’m not alone in this. I love you all. Congrats to all the finishers out there yesterday. And happy birthday, Kitty. I hope you enjoyed the afternoon outside of a med tent. 🙁
Time for a break to move to our new home and get married to the love of my life. September can still be saved.