Anatomy of a Meltdown
As a professional Ironman triathlete, Kona is the holy grail. If you perform well in the lava field, your season is a success if you fail then what?
Having given myself 40 days to consider my performance, I haven’t come any closer to the answers. I started the world championships in Kona with an aim of finishing on the podium, but I ultimately struggled and managed only a distant 13th place on the back of my slowest ever marathon.
Like Plato in the cave, I can’t see what led to my failure but I can determine what didn’t go wrong.
I wasn’t injured. Thanks to Brett Sutton and the entire TriSutto team especially Robbie Haywood and Susie Langley. I started the race in the shape of my life.
I wasn’t unprepared. The TriSutto team was acclimated in Jeju. I should have been completely ready to race.
I wasn’t sick. I didn’t get food poisoning or a bug or get sick really the entire season. I can’t blame some unnamed illness anytime during the entire season for my defeat.
I didn’t have any equipment failures. There were no mechanical issues in the swim, bike, or run that resulted in my demise.
I didn’t have anyone interfere with my race. I wasn’t penalized and didn’t see any other athletes who unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged by the race conditions.
I didn’t make any huge mistakes during the race. I always swallow seawater and get sick on the bike in Kona but that didn’t impact my race. I knew to expect it. My pro fluid bottles were frozen and I wasn’t able to get anything from them. But again that didn’t impact my race, as there were plenty of aid stations on the run course. I just had to take aid like every other age group athlete or like I would at any other event.
I didn’t have any GI issues during the race. I didn’t puke or have to use the porta-potty.
Seeing what didn’t happen leaves me with one one outcome. I went for a podium finish and wasn’t good enough on race day. Whether I simply had a bad day or whether I am not good enough is the real question.
With my swim and bike performances, I only needed to run a 3:15 to finish in the top three. If I was given that information before the race, I would have said done and backed myself for a podium every time.
I don’t regret that I went for the podium and flamed out on the day. My only regret is that all the hard work and support of my entire team didn’t get rewarded. This is a selfish pursuit and our team from family and friends to sponsors and coaches is what makes it all possible. When you don’t succeed, the team doesn’t always get the credit they deserve for all their work day in and day out. All you can do is say thank you and stay the course believing in both yourself and your entire team.
Onwards and upwards!