The 2015 edition of the California Ironman 70.3 in Oceanside went off this past Saturday. It was my second, second place finish in the two races I've done so far this year, and I was a bit pissed about it, frankly. I like winning. I train my guts out all year with that objective, and when I don't manage it, even if I've given my very best on the day, I get a bit grumpy.

The grumpiness factor was increased by the fact that I caught a cold race-week, and was pissed that being sick prevented me from being my best. BUT, and here is where the title comes in, I did not mention that fact before or after the race (until now) because it's all part of the game. Winning depends on doing all the right things on the day, but also on getting to the start line healthy. The latter part I didn't manage. I only mention it now, because the topic of "excuses" is something I've been wanting to write about for awhile now. No doubt being sick affected my performance, but to claim that the results would have been different is not possible, nor fair. Worse, it disrespects my competitors.  

 

It is hard not to want to explain things. I think that a pretty basic element of the human condition is a need to feel understood. "This is why..."  "To judge me fairly you need more info..." But explanations given to people who don't need to know just end up sounding like excuses. And people NEVER have all the info, so really, it's just best to shut up. I guess that's the crux of it: when it comes right down to it, you have no idea what sort of shit other people are going through, and it's arrogant to assume that your shit is more important or had any greater bearing on the race results than anyone else's.  

After the race I found out that a fellow competitor and a good friend spent the night before the race reeling from news of a horrifying attack on a loved one. My squad-mate Jen was in a serious car accident two weeks ago.  People are dealing with injuries and all sorts of personal hardships. Someone probably had food-poisoning....  Racing is about showing up on the day and giving it all you have. Let the chips fall where they may and try to be your best self by accepting the outcomes with grace. It's a struggle. Sometimes I am better at it than other times.  And if I sound like I am getting on a high horse, let me tell you, it has taken me a long time (and the daily living example of my disgustingly naturally self-confident, humble and gracious husband), to have the confidence in myself to just shut the f up and not get defensive or feel the need to explain why I under-performed, lest the press or other people that don't matter think less of me. The irony of course, is that people tend to think less of you when your insecure self feels the need to make excuses!

Anyway, with that long ramble out of the way, here is how it all went down.  

 

It was a calm, foggy morning, and I felt fairly calm but a bit foggy as well. I was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster the day before the race (to keep things in perspective, let's call it the kiddie ride).  I felt weak in the pool, had a sinus headache, couldn't breathe well, got lapped by Trevor doing a 400... I straight up told Trevor "I shouldn't start this race". He told me to just chill and take the day. Not the end of the world either way. So true. We saw that Linsey Corbin - after flying all the way to South Africa for an Ironman Championship event - was out with a lung infection. I only had to drive 40 min from Poway.  

I went out for my usual pre-race ride, and my legs actually felt pretty good. That decided it for me. I was going to start no matter what and stop thinking about it. No more constantly analysing "just how sick am I?"  That definitely wasn't helping things.  So, on race morning, I wasn't thinking about anything other than the race. That said, I knew that more of a warm up would help, so I was extra annoyed that they wouldn't let the pro women in the water at the same time as the pro men for a decent warm up. 

Photo c/o Slowtwitch

 

As with all races, actually racing is a relief. Once the gun goes, you're in it. I had a decent swim, but I felt pretty gassed running through transition, and for the first part of the ride. Jackson and Naeth went by quickly, and I just couldn't hang. My watts were low, but not that bad, so I figured they were pushing the pace a little hard, and just tried to ride my ride. 

 

 

Fortunately my watts got better throughout, and I was able to pass most of the field and to see Jackson and Naeth up the road by the end of the ride. I was getting '4min back from the front' splits to a name that I couldn't quite catch and I had no idea who'd be out in front that far. Turns out a Ms. Holly Lawrence was lighting it up! Curses! Another fast ITU swimmer to make my life difficult!

 

 

On to the run, it was pretty clear pretty soon, that I didn't have much ooomph, and it was going to be a test of my ability to just keep pushing. Turns out, Angela was in the penalty tent, Heather was up the road by about 30 seconds and we were both gaining on Holly. 

 

 

Try as I might, I couldn't reel Heather in, though I could see her pretty much the entire time (there are long straight stretches :)). She caught Holly a little past half way and I pulled into second place just after the steep hill up from the Strand to Pacific.  From there is was me just trying and failing to close the ~1 min gap to the front, and then the glorious relief of the finish line! You can see the results HERE

 

 

All of the women's run times were slower than last year, which may speak to the strong pace set on the bike. My normalized watts for the ride were 244. Last year my swim, bike, run and overall times were: 

00:26:43 02:25:24 01:17:56 04:13:12

This year they were:

00:26:40 02:21:20 01:23:12 04:16:07

 

My flashy new sleeved tri kit was pretty comfortable, but while it's more aero, and provides good sun protection, the look of it heightens my already impressive "getting mistaken for a dude" factor.  I got more than the usual number of "way to go buddy!" cheers on Saturday.  As a member of the 6'2", pro triathlete itty bitty titty committee, I suppose that is my cross to bear! :D
I guess the mistake also comes because I'm fast, and up there with a lot of men, so there's that...

Thanks always to my awesome sponsors - please scroll down the main page of our website - for supporting me in so many ways. Thanks also to all the awesome tri geeks in the San Diego area for being out in full force cheering, and to the best tri geeks of all my husband Trevor, my parents, coach Paulo and team-mates on the Triathlon Squad. Onwards and upwards!

 

 

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