I can hardly believe it’s been about two weeks since Ironman Texas. Time flies and moments that were months in the making are now wonderful memories. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill) Isn’t that the truth! Success fades and “failure” is never what it seems, and when it’s all said it and done life goes on and other things soon take priority. In Part 1 I talked about my race goals going into the race and what I needed to stay true to myself and my process leading up to the race. In any race or high performance situation it’s so important to keep perspective, and find within yourself what is truly important in the moment of things. Because like the quote, things pass, people forget “success” and “failures”, situations come and go, but in the end you must own up to yourself, it’s all between you and you. In other words,”I also know that only one person on earth knows if you made your best effort; not your coach, not your employer, not your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, brother or sister. The only person who knows is you. You can fool everyone else.” (John Wooden)
So the goal in any moment of the race was to stick to the plan, make my best effort, and trust God. Here we go…
Swim: I was able to get down the ramp only minutes before the cannon went off. I positioned myself middle right and closer to start than typical. Then after the first bouy I swam closer to the inside and sighted a straight line pretty well. The mantra “God make a way for me” and “God is my strength. God is my peace” came to mind. I stuck with it and stayed focused on bouy to bouy. I can honestly tell you that I felt great. I was really loving being out there with 2500 other friends:) Time: 1:11
T1: Wetsuit strippers…Awesomeness! I really didn’t plan on using them but it popped in my head during the swim and I went with it. Glad I did because it was awesomely efficient.
Bike: Chipped away in 30-minute intervals. This helped me stay consistent with my nutrition. 112 miles is a tough distance but when you take “bites” of it and chip away you’ll be amazed by how “fast” it goes by. I stayed to my wattage range and did not allow my emotions or ego to get involved- now was not the time (nor any other time). It’s too long a day to worry about other people business, because I got my own business to tend to. For me, I know better than to start the comparison game. It wastes too much energy. Stayed in my zone and continued to thank God for the opportunity to be out there. Anytime I started sliding downward mentally I said my thanks and looked around me. It was a beautiful day and the weather was perfect, and I was with amazing peeps out there doing our 112 mile thang. That’s awesome! Time: 5:55
T2: Bathroom and then “get out of the dead zone” as Karel would say. LOL
Run: This was the part I was most looking forward to but it ended it up being the hardest mentally of the whole day. I had desired and trained for a much faster marathon but today it was not looking like it was going to happen. So I had a choice, force the pace and then risk burning out or adjust and stay consistent. I respected the fact that my pace would be slower (I also knew that from last year) and adjusted accordingly. However, I kept telling myself (like I did all day) “Stick to the plan. Stick to the plan. Let it happen.” I focused on aid-station-to-aid-station using each station as a walk break. When I mentally started to struggle I would thank God and tell my legs “turn over turn over keep going you trained for this.” I knew my body had it in me but damn it my mind was getting harder and harder to hold it together. Thankfully I saw Wattie Ink Teammates and Moxie Multisport peeps all over the course who reminded me that we are all in this together and it was about having fun. However, I could not let myself let up. Many times that complacent little voice would say “You know people will be proud just because you finish. If you just walked it out you would still finish and that’s what matters.” That voice was right but what it did not remember was that I trained for this. I trained hard. Fought hard day in and day out for 6 months. Now was not the time to let that little voice take control. I knew the difference between that voice that “wants to settle” and the one that knows how to fight because she’s trained. I also thought about my coaches and how they shaped me know what my body was capable of today. So you would not believe in the last two miles of the race Trimarni teammate Brittney’s husband jumped out at me and said “Marni wanted me to tell you that you are in 5th place!” I said “thanks” but my thought was “awe shit! I wish I didn’t know that because now I can’t let up!” I really believe it was Divine Intervention, because how in the heck does something like that happen? I’m racing in Texas, my coaches are in Florida, and a teammate’s husband whom I have never met catches me at just the right time to tell me?! What was that?! I knew what it was. That was the hardest part ever. I did not want to let up, but I knew all too well what the last two miles of this course entailed. I knew every twist, turn, incline, decline, aid station, and landmark that I would have to pass to make it to the finish for 5th place. I put my head down and went! I kept telling myself “legs legs legs go go go” my goal was to stay objective, do not let emotions take over just go and stick to the pace. Keep going no matter what. This was the hardest part of the whole race. Because you are so close to home. I kept going and soon hit the last straight away and knew that in a matter of minutes I could see this large arrow curving to the right with the word “FINISH”. I was there. Thans God I was there! I hit it, turned right and it was time to take this home. Going down the finishing chute was surreal and at that moment all I could do is thank God for the strength, safety, and ability to make it to the moment. I also saw my husband there waiting for me! I did it! “Gloria Petruzzelli you are an Ironman!” Pretty amazing feeling! Time: 3:55
When it was all said and done I’m really proud of myself for sticking to the plan. I gave my best effort and never once did I settle out there nor did I let my ego take control. I stayed true to myself. Marni always says, “respect the distance” and she’s right. You must respect how long of a day and journey it is. I really learned by this experience that you can not let the low moments take over or define you or your race. That is the same with life. To not let bad memories, low moments, or situations in life define us or take control over the greatness and love that is within us. Find a way to let love of what you do, who you are, and what you live for, overcome the fear of what could happen, what did happen, or what is happening. Shine on and thank you for taking this journey with me.
I also want to take a moment to thank God for always having a plan and keeping me and my husband safe on our life adventures. I also want to thank my husband Ken for being my teammate, life partner, and biggest supporter. (click here to read his Ironman Texas race report)
- I have to thank our amazing coaches Marni and Karel of TriMarni Coaching and Nutrition for believing in us, pushing us, and giving us a plan that helped us both PR! We are so blessed and grateful for your friendship!
- Ulysses and Maritza (and Austin and Mackie) for welcoming us into your home and dealing with our crazy schedule and racing! We had a blast post race…Love you guys!
- Wattie Ink and our awesome teammates! The Wattie Ink Elite Team’s sponsors- PowerBar, Speedfil, ISM, TriBike Transport, Blue Seventy for the Helix, Herbalife24, Spidertech, GoPro
- Davis Wheelworks the best bike shop around! Especially Joe Santos and Tim “Sherpa” Mualchin. They spent hours getting our bikes and our fits dialed in.
- All of the volunteers at Ironman Texas. You people were incredible and so inspiring! Could not have done it without all your amazing support!