Reach The Beach 2015 was my fourth year in a row running the event. I was part of an amazing group from Camp Calumet. We had four teams and we raise money every year to send kids to camp. As of tonight we have raised over $65,000. This fun event is about the kids.
All of the runners and drivers have ties to camp. We were either on staff, a camper, or currently on staff. Most of us reside in the New England area but we do have a few people fly in from NC, FL, or other places around the country. We’re a very close group and unless you were part of a camp (it doesn’t have to be Calumet) you just might not get it. I mean that with respect. Camp people are special. To my Ironman friends it’s a similar group.
Coming into RTB I didn’t run since my Labor Day race. I was still nursing this injury. I knew it wasn’t healed and I was limping a bit. I knew the race would be a struggle but thought with enough time off that I may be able to push through.
I was in Van 2 again this year. Again I had amazing teammates. This was by far the strongest team I have ever been on. My teammates were Kim, Megan, Knute, Mike, & Jack. Our driver was Croce. I told Kim going into RTB that Croce will make you laugh so much. He did not disappoint. These runners make it look easy. I couldn’t ask for better group of people.
I was running the same legs as last year (8, 20, & 32). When it was my turn to run about 1:30 Kim showed up earlier than expected and I was honestly a bit frazzled and not quite ready for her. My watch wasn’t turned on either. So I ran the first 30 minutes without my pace. But I knew my heart rate was through the roof because of the heat. This was the hottest RTB I have ever ran. Once I started running I could tell my right leg (butt muscle) was in bad shape. I was limping. It took me about 3 miles to loosen up my leg. As my van mates told me after they could see me struggling at times while other times I was running okay. I honestly had no idea of my pace. Normally when I am healthy I can dial it in and know how fast I am going. But as I mentioned it took 30 minutes for the satellites to pick up where I was. So I decided to reset my watch. The last 3.15 miles I did in 24:43 for an average of 7:50. I went back and figured out that for my leg of 7.3 miles I did it in 55 minutes for an average of 7:32. I must have been going quicker than I thought those first 30 minutes.
My second leg was at 2:20 in the morning. It was a wild card transition. I had talked to Kim beforehand and our plan was for her to hand it off to me in the beginning of the wild card. Based on my watch I ran 6.84 miles in 1 hour flat. for an average of 8:50. Even though my time was slow for me my leg actually wasn’t terrible. The temps were ideal at this time and I thought I was consistent. My plan was to run the first few miles of the hills slow as I loosened up and then go faster. My last .84 was uphill (slight one) and I was averaging 8:29. Meaning I was getting stronger.
Entering the third leg I didn’t do the same thing as I did for the first two legs. For the first two legs I would Ice my leg and take some advil. I would learn that this was a big mistake. When I started my run I knew right away my leg wasn’t turning over. I was going at a decent clip but after a 1/2 mile I couldn’t turn over my leg at all. After about 1.75 miles I texted Knute telling him ‘I’m suffering’ He asked me if I wanted him to come back for me and I said ‘Yes’. My day was over! Megan jumped out of the van and she, Knute, & Mike split the next few legs. I was scheduled to run 6.7 miles but only managed 2 miles. My leg was numb and there was nothing I could do. I admit I was a bit deflated. I want to thank all of my van mates for picking up the slack. It means a lot. Looking back at it I probably should have swapped with Kim for the third leg and then she could have split that leg with Megan and Knute. Or I could have just iced it and had more advil. :).
I had a few people ask me afterward what would have happened if this was Ironman? Let’s be clear At RTB I have teammates who were more than capable of running faster than me. Megan can easily hold 8 minute miles and even though the pace doesn’t matter for a charity race but me running/ walking 12 minute miles for a third leg makes zero sense. I would have completed Ironman. I probably would have had to walk the rest of the way but I would have finished. For me to quit Ironman it would mean that I passed out.
Last year I had Ironman Chattanooga a few weeks after RTB. What would have happened if I had IMCHOO this year (it’s the 27th of September)? I would have shown up and finished Ironman. I’m stubborn in that I refused to not complete Ironman. I honestly would have asked for a shot (cortisone) to help me complete it.
This really is my favorite event of the year. It’s something that I look forward to doing and putting on my race Calendar. It’s already on my 2016 race schedule. It’s such a team event. Everyone from our group of 48 runners, 8 drivers, & countless volunteers from Calumet makes this event top notch.
As most of you saw on my Facebook post I am now shutting down all racing for the rest of the year. My injury is going to require about 6-8 weeks to recover. I don’t expect to race again until sometime in 2016 when I am fully healed and ready to tackle 3 full Ironman race events along with 2 70.3 distances.
This off-season I think will be a lot different. I have decided for the most part to keep my training a secret as I work to improve on my weaknesses. I am in PT two days a week and working to keep my fitness.
The goals I set in 2015 were not achieved. (Break 12 hours at Ironman, break 4 hours on the marathon course at Ironman, run a 3:15 open marathon, and run a sub 2:00 1/2 marathon at a 70.3) Even though I am disappointed that I didn’t reach these goals they still remain in place for 2016.
Dealing with an injury is going to make me a better and stronger triathlete. The fire that I had in my belly post IMLP is honestly burning more now than ever. As my friend and mentor Todd said the question isn’t ‘Why is this happening?’ the question is ‘What am I to learn from this?” The WHAT is going to refine who I am and make 2016 the best year yet.
I look forward to a strong healthy 2016 as well as healthy relationships….