It's Columbus Day weekend, which is usually a pretty nice weekend in New England, complete with tons and tons of tourists checking out the foliage. This was the first Columbus Day weekend I've actually been home since 2004. Because that was the last time I wasn't in Hawaii. I didn't get to cross the finish line in Kona every year. I qualified in '05, '06' and '07 and raced and finished. I had a bad year in 2008 when I was injured but I went to spectate anyway. Being there as a spectator was actually kind of a nice change... until I saw the finish line and knew I wouldn't get the chance to cross. I decided I'd do what I could to get there again the next year.
So I did. I qualified last year, except 4 weeks out from race day I found myself walking home on one of my last long runs with a stress fracture. I continued to train and actually thought going in that I'd finish no matter what, even if it meant walking 26.2 miles. I made it to T2 and sat around for probably 20 minutes before I decided to just call it a day, and once again was left without finishing. 2010 was supposed to be the comeback once again. Except it wasn't. I had no injury excuses, I just wasn't in it mentally. So I did two Ironman races which were the two worst performances of my career, out of 12 finishes. Not really moving in the right direction there.
I thought about going to spectate again, but well, you know, stuff happened and I stayed home. I will at least say that it was an amazing race to follow online. I was disappointed in the lack of Chrissie Wellington, but also got to see some amazing performances from both men and women out there, as well as friends and teammates. So many going sub-10, lots in their first appearance there, and of course Cait running her way up to 8th overall with the second fastest women's marathon ever recorded there. Not a bad day. Wish I could've been there with you guys.
But, can't do anything about what's happened this year, all I can do is try and take control of what's going on next year. I feel like I'm in the worst shape I've been in for years, but it is certainly not the worst shape I've been in ever. We always have to start somewhere, it's just a lot easier to start from a place where things are easier. You ever dig yourself into what feels like an insurmountable hole? That's what I feel like I'm in now. But watching the race coverage yesterday made me remember how much I love being there and how much I missed not being there. My parents hadn't been out there to watch me since 2007, and had already talked about coming out next year. Obviously only Mom can come now, but I still want to get there.
Sooo... what's the plan? For now, just trying to get in some semblance of shape. I had originally planned on running a marathon in a few weeks, but as you can imagine, a lot of plans changed. A couple of weeks of no running made that not such a great idea, so instead, we are just training to train. After Christmas, I'm going to get in my car and drive across the country to Tucson, where I plan to live and train for 3 months. Well, assuming I can find a place to live. Anybody have any leads? I could use some ideas! And the only two races I'm signed up for as of now are California 70.3 in April and Ironman Cour D'Alene in June. I guess I'll fill in the gaps later, but that's what I'm in for to start, anyway.
So, that's the plan. Trying to find that athlete I keep seeing in pictures from a couple of years ago that is hiding somewhere in here. Getting the dedication back. My father loved watching me race and I don't think he'd be happy to know that I stopped, so I better keep at it.