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Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket

Brock running through the thai jungle
Race: Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket
Location: Phuket, Thailand
Distance: 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run
Date: December 3, 2012

If you read my Laguna Phuket Triathlon race report, you already know that I DNF-ed this race. DNF means Did Not Finish... which isn't exactly accurate in this case. More like Did Not Middle. By that I mean that I had a great swim and a decent run but I only made it 20km into the ride before my rental bike's back brakes, the torrential downpour and my dampened spirits (pun intended) made me turn back. Needless to say - I was bummed. But more on that later.

Luckily the lovely race marshals agreed to let me hang out in transition until the pros and lead age groupers cleared T2 and then let me do the run. This was doubly cool because not only did I get to continue racing (I was technically disqualified and just racing "for the love") but I was running with people I would have never seen had I actually completed the bike leg of the race. I saw McCormack, Lieto, Vodikova, Granger and Wilde on the course. On the out-and-back portions I was able to catch a smile from Radka and Macca and yell threats at Greenfield. It was pretty cool and a decent way to make the best of a crappy situation.

After the rain stopped the sun came out and threatened to cook us all. The heat and humidity was off the charts as we ran through mud, bogs and puddles. I actually threw my shoes in the garbage after the race was done. There was no saving them. Plus, I had put on approximately 1000kms on them already -- Kids, don't let the running stores tell you that you have to get new shoes every 500k. Just keep wearing them until they break or start hurting you. But I digress...

The Race:

I'm not going to go into great detail about my nutrition plan or race prep because aside from swimming a kickass 37 minute 1.9km rough ocean/lagoon swim, there isn't much to tell. I rode until I was very worried the brakes wouldn't be able to stop me on the imminent hills (I grabbed my bike tool and fiddled with them but quickly lost heart when I remembered that the Race Mechanics, Graeme and the Rental Shop had all taken shots at fixing them during the week). Then, after standing in the rain for a good 45 minutes, I ran as hard as I could, despite the feeling that I was being cooked in a sous-vide.

The Lesson:

The most significant portion of this race for me was the moment when I gave myself permission to quit. I've never done that before. I have crossed the finish line slightly delirious, severely dehydrated, grumpy, hurting, cursing and crying. I even passed out on the NYC Subway after a marathon... but I have never given up.

My friend Karen calls the condition I suffer from ODSR or an Over Developed Sense of Responsibility. In some cases (this one in particular) it would be more accurately described as an Over Developed Sense of Commitment. What ever you call it, it often leads to worry and stress because once I have signed up, verbally agreed to or even got the idea planted in my head of doing something - I freakin' do it! Whether I actually want to or not. Whether it is fun or not. Whether it makes me money or not. Whether is makes any sense or not. But this time, I let myself give up. Partially because there was nothing I could do about the dodgy back brakes... but also, more importantly, because I knew if I continued I would not do well, I would likely hurt myself (or worse) and it would not be any fun.

I was upset and disappointed but I was also relieved. By the time I slowly rode back to transition and found out that I would be allowed to run the last portion of the race, I was actually feeling pretty ok with it all. By the time the race was over, I felt that I had learned a valuable lesson: no one but me cared that I quit. Everyone else was concerned only with whether I was safe, alright and (like I kept saying) "would live to race another day".


It is New Year's Day 2013 as I write this, and I actually bailed on another "commitment" this morning. I had planned to do the Polar Bear Dip in frosty/frozen Lake Ontario this morning. When I woke up and heard the wind howling and saw the -12 forecast, I knew it wouldn't be fun and although the event was a fund raiser for Habitat for Humanity, my presence was not going to make them more money, so the equation was simple: No fun + discomfort + no one counting on me = don't do it. Simple right? Not for some of us... but I think I have turned a corner in that regard. I feel less stressed out already, and that is a great way to start the new year.

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